The first week in our new home has come to a close and I find myself unsure of where to begin the explanation of just how life-altering this upgrade is. Every time I think of listing out the improvements and differences, I become overwhelmed and risk sounding dramatic, clearly failing to contain my joy. So I’ll stick to photos and facts since they convey more than I have the words to do right now. Just know that I have always believed that one’s mental peace, hope and possibility are directly impacted by their surroundings and it’s never felt more true than this last week.

2013 coachman freelander vs. 2020 grand design solitude 382wb

Let’s go room by room in our new Grand Design Solitude 382WB for a visual comparison and notes on the big game-changers along with my favorite features! We’ll start in the front of the 5th wheel and work our way back. Also note that the photos of the old Coachman RV were taken to entice a dealer into buying it so, I used every photography trick I could to make it look spacious and inviting. It was not nearly this charming or quaint in person! But, I guess it’s only fair to show the Coachman at it’s best to give it a fighting chance at comparison…

The Living Room

Our old living room consisted of a crappy couch and a dinette we converted into an open seating/storage area with the kitchen tucked into one corner and overhead cabinets that served as kitchen storage lending a cramped feeling to the whole spot. Clearly the lines were blurred between these two spaces so I’m happy to report: they are completely separate rooms now!

living room of a coachman freelander vs. solitude grand design 382

The living room is the first of many life-changing upgrades. This area features two opposing couches that pull out into queen beds along with two amazing electric recliners complete with seat warmers and massage! The countless windows are one of my favorite things since they allow sunlight to flood this space. Hazen and Otis have already claimed their favorite spot and take full advantage of sunbathing. Rivaling the windows for my adoration is the 50″ TV that tucks itself into the cabinet when not in use and the electric fire place!

grand design solitude 382 front living room fireplace and tv

Tons of cabinets for books and games round out this plush area where we can finally properly entertain guests. A room-dividing curtain is tucked to one side ensuring that the living room can transform into a cushy guest suite at a moment’s notice! We are so thrilled to have a whole room dedicated to relaxing and enjoying time together with each other and friends.

The Kitchen

Our old kitchen offered just enough space for one person to stand inside it and rotate between the simple 3-burner stove top and the peninsula – the only countertop we had in the entire RV. For 4.5 years, our kitchen counter space was limited to the size of a regular cutting board. Russell took point in the kitchen and I stood between the counter and the refrigerator acting as sous-chef. Our microwave was on the way out – sometimes turning on by itself and other times not cooking when you told it to. We had no oven and no space to work. Our fridge and freezer were tiny and our kitchen cookware and utensils were spread all over the living room in tiny over-head cabinets that slammed closed on your hand if you didn’t hold them up.

Our new kitchen is a DREAM! I still can’t come up with a word big enough to explain the night and day difference!

class c motorhome kitchen vs. 41 foot 5th wheel kitchen

We have an entire kitchen island, a giant pantry, a convection microwave, an OVEN, a trash can hidden away in a drawer, a wine cooler and wine bar, TWO sinks, and the largest RV refrigerator on the market!! Our sink space doubled and our fridge and freezer space quadrupled.

grand design solitude 382 wine bar and kitchen nook

On one side of the kitchen is a storage nook full of cabinets and even more storage. We have so much counter space and room to maneuver that meals are a breeze now and we never have to navigate around each other or bump our heads on low hanging cabinets trying to reach a paper towel. I can’t tell you how fancy this kitchen feels and the fact that it has a wine cooler and entire separate space for our tea collection – it’s incredible. This is probably THE biggest upgrade in the entire RV swap and I can’t wait to see how much it elevates our cooking in the years to come.

The Dining Room New Room Alert!

Our options for eating dinner in the old RV were the couch (only once we upgraded to a new couch 4 months ago) or, as we did the last 4 years, the bed. That’s right! We ate 85% of our meals in BED because it was one of the only places to sit and relax. If you read my last post you might recall that I also worked from bed for a couple years and you can probably start to see a super-depressing pattern forming and understand why the RV was wearing on us so much!

dining room table and chairs in grand design solitude 382

In the Solitude, we have an entire dining table and four chairs across from the kitchen. It’s tough to express what a game-changer it is to actually have a TABLE. A place to sit and eat, a place to set our laptops, a headquarters for Russell to take all of his work calls throughout the week. It really is a massive new asset. Two of the four chairs fold up so we put them into cargo for a little more space until we have guests. Also, the fabric on the chairs is the one design note that I’m not a fan of so those will be recovered in the very near future!

The Bedroom

The bedroom is about the same size as our old one but this is perfectly acceptable since we will no longer be eating and working in bed! Plus, the bed platform allows for a king mattress and we are beyond excited to upgrade from a queen since Hazen and Otis have a tendency to hog most of the available mattress space.

coachman freelander bedroom vs solitude grand design bedroom

This reminds me – if you ever find yourself in need of a super-comfy or custom-dimension mattress, you have to check out Tochta. We splurged on one in Dec 2018 and have slept marvelously ever since and also converted several friends and family to them as well. Our new king mattress will be waiting for us in Houston when we arrive on November 1st and we are super excited to switch it out.

The bedroom also features some awesome hidden compartments including a bed that lifts up perfectly on struts for spacious under the bed storage! It’s stylishly rounded out with two sliding barn doors closing off the bathroom and the kitchen on either side of the bedroom.

We’ve also jumped from sporting zero TVs to having TWO – one in the living room and one in the bedroom – so we’re feeling pretty fancy!

The Bathroom

It’s true what they say – kitchens and bathrooms sell homes. Once we saw this bathroom, there was no going back. It’s one of the largest we’ve ever seen in an RV and it easily rivals the kitchen for the most shocking upgrade!

coachman freelander bathroom vs. grand design solitude bathroom

Our old bathroom was the thing I hated MOST about the Coachman: the shower was so small, you had to turn sideways to get through the door and contort yourself in fascinating ways to complete the processing of washing. We had about 3 square inches of counter space, teeny tiny storage and a very small toilet all packed into a room the size of a closet.

I managed to avoid showering in the microscopic stall as much as I could, utilizing RV park bathhouses whenever possible, but it got to where I would just shower every 3-4 days when I broke down and couldn’t stand my gross hair anymore.

Our new bathroom is easily SIX TIMES the size and the shower is 3x larger – complete with a seat! We have two sinks, a much larger toilet and TONS of amazing cabinet space and storage. There’s also a full-length closet in the bathroom for my long dresses which have previously had to live in my car!

italian greyhound wash your paws print framed in rv bathroom

Honestly, I am in LOVE with our new Solitude 382. Grand Design is such an appropriate name for the manufacturer – they really thought of every single detail and luxury for road life and assembled a spacious, quality unit complete with every comfort imaginable!

Russ and I agree that every single part of the Solitude is a total life changer. All of our stress instantly vanished with this upgrade and we couldn’t be more thrilled for the next 5-10 years of adventures and exploration. This isn’t just a place to live. This is a HOME.

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