Wednesday, June 17, 2015

a peek inside the van project

I shared a while back that we bought a van with the plan to convert it into a camper van for our family adventures.Today I thought it would be fun to share our progress on the project! 

We bought a 2015 Ford Transit, it was a completely empty cargo van with a ceiling tall enough for Andy to comfortably stand.To make it work for our family, we needed to install more seating for Lucy and additional passengers. The first thing we did was take it to a professional van conversion shop to get this done. We used Van Specialties in Portland, Oregon and they did a great job!
Next we made a plan for the interior. We lost a lot of space with the bench seat so we had to be really thoughtful about how we would use the remaining space. Andy and I went back and forth and finally settled on a plan that would work for our family and how we would be using the van.

At this stage in the "van conversion world' you typically need to decide if you want to insulate the walls of your van. Insulation is helpful to keep things cool and warm depending on the conditions you will be traveling in. Since we know that we won't be doing anything hard core or too extreme any time soon, we decided against insulation for the time being. We have plans in the next couple of years to likely add insulation as we tweak and change the interior.

Next, Andy got to work building a bed frame, benches and the beginning of a small cupboard that will hold a sink. As many of you know, Andy was a structural engineer in his "previous life" so the structure and safety of the frame was really important to him. It was also important for things to be somewhat easy to remove if we need to make additions or tweaks in the future. Here is a look at the process

We wanted the bed to be high enough so we would have lots of storage underneath for our travel things, food, surfboards and all that kid stuff we take when we hit the road!



We put doors on top of the bed for access.

The van came with lightweight soundproofing on the walls that we decided to keep for now. They were just screaming for a drawing! Since I can't resist drawing pattern on anything and everything, I added a little creativity to one wall. 

Andy built two benches that are attached to the bed frame. In between the benches, we will be installing a small table top and base that will be removable.

One of the benches is storage for a camping flush toilet. While our plans are to stay at campgrounds with facilities, I really wanted space for a portable "pee pee chair" for long drives and emergencies (too much information sorry).

The design that we came up with was to have a full size bed built into the back that could expand into a queen bed by using the benches and the table top. This way we can all fit comfortably in the space at night.

There was no way we were gonna let the interior go without tons of texture and pattern. We totally wanted our van to have a hippie vibe! I've been collecting textiles and fabric for the walls, ceiling and curtains. While I still have some really cool treatments to do on the remaining walls, I added some tapestries for now. I used magnets to keep everything in place!

Hippie vibe totally achieved!

While we still have a lot of work to do before we are ready for a trip, we've been having so much fun taking day trips in the van. We pack up some food, our art supplies and hit the road. We find a pretty spot to pull over, open up the doors and just relax!


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