As we don't need the upper bunk for sleeping, we used it as a big storage shelf. There is actually much more room than we need even excluding the back corner which we cannot reach without standing on the bed, which is pretty awkward.
The bottom bunk is a full-size bed, but with a notch taken out of it. This makes it difficult to replace with a more comfortable mattress, and it means that no standard sheets will fit , though a minor inconvenience because we normally use sleeping bags.
The biggest problem is that the head-space in the bottom bunk is very limited for an adult. It's easy to bang one's elbow or head on the upper bunk when turning over. There is no room to sit up and read, either. In addition, unlike the front sleeping area, there is no place to use as a nightstand (except for reaching up to place things on the upper bunk, which is not very practical).
At first, we thought that the shirt wardrobe was a nice feature, providing additional storage in the unit. However, we found that we could barely reach the bottom shelf and could only reach the top shelf when standing on the bed, rendering it pretty useless. It ended up as just one more thing to bang one's head on.
A less obvious problem with this configuration relates to access to the bathroom, which is tight. Since the bathroom door opens up right against the bunk, there is no place to step out of the way when someone needs to get past.
- convert the top bunk to a narrower shelf, raising it up higher as well
- convert the lower bunk to a standard twin bed
- use the extra space for a nightstand
- recover extra floor space in the bathroom area
It was pretty simple to take apart. From inside, we removed several dozen screws. The tricky part was discovering that some of the screws can only be accessed after prying off the false bottom of the cabinet, as shown in this picture.
We removed everything, keeping the laminated plywood and the door for possible future projects which might require matching material.
Once this was done, we were able to pry off the decorative plywood covering the under side of the bunk by starting at the front edge. We got this panel out without damaging it or the wall. An annoying bead of caulk was left. I have not found a product that will loosen it without damaging the finish on the wall. I am still trying to think of a creative way of covering it up.
Once the panel was down, the screws which fasten the bunk to the walls were revealed (see main picture) and easily removed. At this point, the bunk was free and we took it out and put it aside.
The bit of framing around the water low-point drain in the top-right corner is part of a barrier that I created to help prevent shifting cargo from hitting the plumbing.
There is not much other framing supporting the deck. The one "joist" shown was not even screwed into anything. The plywood itself is a very thin and, disconcertingly, bows considerably when walked on. All these short cuts were intended to reduce weight, no doubt, but it seems that Jayco never seriously considered how adults might use this space.
I did indulge in a heavier grade of plywood for the deck by using 5/8" material. This gives a much more solid surface to build on at the expense of about 10 extra pounds.
The upper bunk has now been turned into a heavy-duty shelf. I took the previous bunk which was 30" wide and sliced both it and the decorative under panel in half, lengthwise, and reassembled the pieces to create a 15" wide shelf of the same construction. I put one half of the decorative panel under the shelf and one on the top. I remounted this about 6" higher than the original bunk bed (I couldn't go higher because of the placement of the upper window.) I then trimmed with stained quarter-round molding, top and bottom. This gave a very finished appearance with no exposed rough plywood and no fabric to get dirty from the junk stored up there.
This picture also shows where I installed a new 12V DC plug in the wall to power a fan, charge a phone, etc. It was a simple matter to drill through that interior wall into the cabinet over the dining table and tie into the existing circuit which supplies the CD player.
It was important that the nightstand remain removable because it blocks the existing access panel used to repair the shower faucet plumbing.
The remaining sleeping space just fits a twin mattress, in this case a Sultan Florvåg foam mattress from IKEA which is thin, firm and inexpensive. I learned that XL sleeping bags fit twin-sized beds. This particular model, with flannel lining, is from L.L. Bean and fits nicely in the space.
One remaining enhancement that I am likely to add is to install another 12V DC plug over the nightstand, tapping into the circuit in the light fixture shown on the wall and running the wires down under the bunk.
This picture shows the completed project.