Lifestyle, Van

The Van Build – Part 2

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Wooden Panelling

The kitchen area, ceiling and rear doors were all covered in wooden panelling to provide a cheap but quality looking finish to the van. This was then oiled with Danish oil to bring out the grain seal the wood. This was another painfully long process, many coats were needed…many, many coats. Either side of the bed I decided to use wooden panels covered with foam and then material. Not only would this make it look warmer and more homey but also, let’s face it, if I’d used the wood cladding throughout the entire of the rear of the van it just would have looked like a sauna! Not quite what I was after. I built a custom storage unit from walnut (right image) to go along one side of the bed. This served two purposes, the main purpose was storage for clothes etc and the second was to make a comfortable surface to lean against to relax, watch TV or do some reading.


The Bulkhead

The existing bulkhead was removed and cut in half, re-installed then a wooden frame was built around the metal bulkhead. I decided to add a sliding panel to the top so I could open the cab to the rear if I wanted. Making the sliding panel that would lock was neither an easy nor a pleasant task but it paid off as it actually turned out really well. It was important that the bulkhead was solid as I would be mounting the kitchen units to it which would be holding the water and gas bottle. Not the kind of thing you want to be kept insecurely. I mean, assuming you don’t want to blow up, this is!


The Kitchen

The kitchen area was made from a couple of readymade kitchen units with a walnut worktop. The units had to be heavily modified to take 27 litre water tanks and 6kg gas bottle and as we’ve established, keeping that gas tank safe is pretty imperative! Using standard kitchen units meant I could just add a full-sized kitchen cupboard door and draw fronts which would save time and expense.


The LPG gas bottle and water tank are fed into the combined sink and hob unit in the worktop. The gas bottle also powers a heater which is to the right of the kitchen unit under a seat. The seat is made to hold a porta potty, hidden inside it. This is intended to be used outside the vehicle in a pop up toilet tent but under the seat is good storage for it and of course it could be used inside if need be ever.


The Finished Interior

I spent a fair amount of time on finishing touches to make the van as cosy as possible. Also because, if I’m honest I’m a bit of a stickler for details, with just a touch of OCD! I wanted it to feel like a remote little cabin when inside, not a van and so I did everything I could to remove any indication that you were inside a van. Any exposed metal was covered with auto carpet, laminate flooring was added and shelving put up to hold cups etc. Yes it was time consuming, not to mention fiddly and frustrating at times, but it was so worth it as it turned out even better than I’d expected. The same can be said of the whole build to be honest. It caused me some sleepless nights while I figured things out, numerous injuries (did I forget to mention the part where I drilled halfway through my finger?!), and more than a couple of headaches, but it is without doubt one of my biggest achievements ever.


1 Comment

  1. Dianna

    Your van is great! My daughter is also traveling in a converted van and she always appreciated a hot shower. If you’re in Raleigh NC I would like to chat and offer the comfort of a hot shower.

    April . 04 . 18

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