Do You Smell Sunflower Seeds?

Dakota Burl Renovations
Yes! That’s because Matt just created and installed our new counter top and table. They are made from Dakota Burl, which is compressed sunflower seed shells held together by a soy-based resin. It’s an incredibly renewable resource, as it can be re-grown in four months. I’m so thrilled to have these beautiful and functional new surfaces. I love to cook…so having 2/3 more counter space makes me a very happy girl. He also replaced all of the old, deteriorating plumbing and put in new drains. I am constantly in awe of Matt and his craftsmanship. He did such a great job! There are a few more photos of the process in our “Renovations” photo set here.

We purchased the Burl from the Refuge Sustainable Building Center in Bozeman. It was fun to look at all of the different types of alternative materials available. Here is more information about this particular eco-friendly option:

What Is Dakota Burl®?

  • A unique composite material that utilizes a bio-based technology and exhibits the beauty and elegance of traditional burled woods.

How Does Dakota Burl® Benefit Our Environment?

  • Manufactured from a rapidly renewable agricultural fiber product.
  • No out-gassing solvents are added during the manufacturing process, thus the material emits no VOCs into the atmosphere.

What Does Dakota Burl® Look Like?

  • The defined black outlining complements the natural yellow and brown tones of the fibers creating a distinctive pattern.
  • Natural or stained, the material resembles authentic burled woods, giving a wide range of color options.
  • The burled pattern and natural appearance run throughout the thickness of the material.

How Does Dakota Burl® Work?

  • The material cuts, sands and routes with standard woodworking tools.
  • Traditional wood staining and finishing techniques can be used on the material to create a wide range of appearances.
  • Four foot by eight foot panels are manufactured in 1/2″, 3/4″ and 1″ thicknesses.

How Can I Use Dakota Burl®

  • Superior panel properties allow for a variety of applications.
  • Table Surfaces, Horizontal and Vertical Surfaces (transaction surfaces and interior decorative wall applications), Cabinetry, Furniture and Architectural Applications are all excellent uses for Dakota Burl®.

Edited to add: We have had some trouble with water damage already on the countertop…and after researching a bit more, we found that it’s not recommended near water sources. So….we will be sanding and sealing it more and hoping for the best!

Home Sweet Home

The Completed RV
After 10 straight days of painting, hammering, sawing, and praying…we have officially “moved in” to the RV. You can see the entire renovation process and the final photos HERE. We are really happy with how everything turned out…it truly feels like home. It should…because we were able to use all of the same colors and decor as we had in our previous apartment. It was great not buying anything…and yet having a totally new space. We re-used it all…curtains, photos, hardware, lamps, etc.

It’s quite an odd, yet wonderful thing to have a house on wheels. We have all the comforts and familiarities of our favorite things…but we can choose to change what we see outside of our windows in a moments notice! What fun!

Many of you have asked questions about the RV itself…here is a rundown of the specs:

  • 1994 Fleetwood Flair
  • 32′ long, 8′ wide
  • Diesel “Pusher” (engine is located in the rear, under the bed)
  • GMC 6.5 liter V8 Engine
  • 90 gallon veggie oil tank/20 gallon diesel tank (system installed by GFS)
  • Roof-top solar panels
  • Flexsteel couch/seating
  • King bed in rear/Dinette and Couch both convert to beds
  • 3 burner gas stove with oven (and it fits my stoneware muffin pan! hooray!)
  • 6 cubic sq. ft fridge/freezer (new)
  • TV in front and rear for watching DVD’s…equipped with DirectTV (not activated)
  • Cabin air conditioner/Roof-top air in front and rear
  • Large enclosed roof-top luggage carrier

Here is a list of what we have updated so far:

  • Painted cupboards and walls with AFM Safecoat paint
  • Installed bamboo flooring throughout
  • Changed hardware from gold to silver
  • Took out the microwave and created a “tea/cookbook nook”
  • Hung “real” curtains
  • Installed entertainment system with surround sound
  • Installed iPod player in the kitchen area
  • Modified bedroom to add our own king-sized bed (which created more storage under the bed)
  • Added more storage (baskets, hooks, etc)

Future Updates:

  • Inverter and more batteries to increase solar capabilities
  • Stabilizer jacks
  • Composting toilet (Ecolet)

So there you have it. We’ve been living in the RV for 5 days and we’ve loved every moment of it. It does have it’s own unique challenges…but it brings unique joys as well. We’re looking forward to welcoming you into our new home!