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New designs add interest to large RVs

December 04, 2004|by JEFF JOHNSTON/Motor Matters

Recreational vehicle engineers continue to deliver new, exciting interior design concepts and residential-style features unheard of just a few years back. These features are adding a whole new level of home-style ambiance to our mobile palaces.

One very big aspect of the new-style RVs is the so-called "dual-zone living" concept. This concept effectively divides the RV into separate living areas, each with its intended use and functional when isolated from the other parts of the vehicle. The difference is that the area also includes amenities that may not normally be associated with the area, and those amenities are what makes the difference in some cases.

Naturally, the dual-zone concept works best and can only effectively be applied to larger RVs. One very popular version of the dual-zone concept is the rear lounge, as found in large fifth-wheel RVs and some travel trailers.

In this example, the room typically has a slideout room on each side, with a large entertainment center on one side and a pair of swivel rockers or recliners in the other, along with windows and/or cabinets across the aft wall. The area may or may not be built with a dropped floor, and there's usually a pair of french-style doors, with multi-pane small windows available to isolate the area from the rest of the RV.

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The Alpenlite Seville 36RL by Western RV is a good example of the rear-lounge concept, sometimes called a rear den.

As described by Bruce Lawrence, the Western RV towable product manager, "The biggest key to that plan, as compared to other floorplans, is it makes a distinction between the kitchen and living room. You have sliding doors that you can use to close off the area, and rather than combining the galley and living area as almost all RV floorplans do, it makes them two completely separate rooms. That's the central detail, we sunk the living room so the ceiling height is 8 feet, 4 inches and with the two opposing slides in back you get what a lot of people call a den."

Kitchens are also turning into self-contained living areas, just as they are at home where they often tend to be the center of social activity.

"We conduct focus group sessions with our owners on a periodic basis," said Sid Johnson, Jayco's marketing director, talking about his company's Designer 35CLQS fifth-wheel, " ... we came out of the sessions with the idea of the kitchen in the rear end. It created a bit more of a feeling of privacy, the psychology of separated living as opposed to actual separation.

"All, especially the women, thought we needed more counter space in ourproducts and this product has counter space galore - and that's another reason why it's proving to be so popular." An island work surface and dinette in a slideout room add home-style ambiance to the Jayco.

Motor homes also receive special dual-zone floor plan treatments, and the Monaco Simba 37PCT is a good example.

"One of the most popular floor plans in the Simba is the 37PCT. This triple slide floor plan features a distinctive rear bedroom with a huge rear window flanked on either side by an end table and desk, each with cozy seating. French-style multi-light doors separate the bedroom area from the rest of the coach," explained Jim Mac, Monaco's marketing director.

RVers who enjoy slide-in truck campers haven't been forgotten in the new floor-plan evolution. The new Max series from Lance Camper Manufacturing Corporation has the potential of setting a new benchmark for camper interior design. The company rearranged the slideout room, floor level and under-floor equipment, among other details, to produce a whole new level of interior space.

According to Norm Jacobson, Lance marketing director, "The Max works in a number of areas. One is, it gives us maximum capacity for liquid storage. Because of the basement, we're able to have lots of water and waste storage, so it keeps you from having to dump so often. It also allows us to build a maximum slideout.

"We introduced the first Max model last year, and it was extremely well received. One of the things people wanted was a dry bath. In order to build a dry bath, we created the 1181 which is 11 feet 6 inches long and has a bath like you'd find in a travel trailer. It's a tub-style dry bath, a big vanity, comfortable seating in the toilet area, and adding the length gave us the opportunity to increase the wardrobe on the opposite side."

Visit your local RV showroom, or a dealer's lot, and you'll be surprised at how comfortable and home-like today's RVs can be.

Copyright Motor Matters, 2004

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