Things change! Before I got the van I drew up a layout. Then the van arrived…

Turns out the driver’s seat leans back, breaking the plane between the cargo area and cab, so nothing tall can sit there. I needed the van to be 8 inches longer for all that I had planned to fit.  I got 4″ extra by notching the shower wall. That allowed the seat to lean back. Then I took another 4 inches from the bed.

My wheel wells are insulated with Havelock wool. I made fabric covers for them and secured that to the van using rivnuts.  Then I extended the kitchen over  the wheel wells, making the bed 45″ wide.  That’s still wider than a twin bed and plenty of space for a single person as well as for the dining banquet.  And, I achieved my 34″ for the kitchen length.

I still have finish work to complete, but the foundation is there. 

Here is my revised layout for the driver’s side.  I saw this barn door on another van and I fell in love with it.  Plus, I need a full length mirror, for designing, should I ever design here, and for preparing for shows.  This mirror is from Home Depot. It’s acrylic, and it’s amazing!!

For kitchen storage, I went with a shelving rack. It’s 4″ deep, which supports my need for a spatially rich, uncluttered vibe.

I made the box 3.75″ deep and the shelves 3.5″ deep.  That allowed me to layer the 2″ (actually 1.5″) x 1/4″ poplar strips on top of each other, hiding the nails for a super clean finish. The poplar strips form a ledge to hold the contents in place. Then, for extra security,  I added 1/8″ Bungie cords threaded through holes in the vertical dividers and knotted at the ends.  I stained the 1/4″ birch plywood backing an oak color and will be spray painting the frame white as soon as my sprayer arrives.

I made window covers with Reflectix on one side, lined with Havelock, and held in place with super strength bar magnets. Fabric can be crazy expensive, and you need thick fabrics. I found a wholesale upholstery store. I got my fabric: yarn dyed jacquards, for $4.25 / yard, yarn. That’s a steal.

As you can see, I got lazy on the Havelock wool insulation and I taped it up.  Was that a good idea?  I don’t know.  In some places the tape doesn’t really hold.  eventually the wood walls will hold it in place. I would do it again, because the other methods are tedious.


My biggest concern was to not be pulverized by flying furniture if I ever got in an accident or made a sudden stop.

Also, with the whole spacing fiasco (needing 8 more inches in van length…) I decided to build everything onto the van (as opposed to building elements then securing them to the van.) I cut the back wall to the bed and kitchen (on the passenger side, the bed and dresser) as one piece and then bolted that to the wall.

In this picture you can also see my fabric covered wheel wells.

The water tank determined the depth of the side benches, which is 19″. I like that it extends beyond my 17″ kitchen (as opposed to both being flush.) That and the toe-kicks separates them from each other, giving the illusion of space.

I’m using 24″ x 24″ tin ceiling squares.

I attached the ceiling’s furring in squares, following the ribs of the van, then, using pocket hole screws, I added furring strips spaced 20″ apart for the edges of the tiles to be screwed into.  I’ll use 1/2″ screws.  I bought fancy nails, but hammering up into the furring is virtually impossible to do by yourself.  One reason I chose these tiles (aside from aesthetic reasons) is because they are light and I can install them myself.

The furring strips hold up the ceiling insulation. This saved me the annoying process of fighting gravity while gluing it to the ceiling. Tin bends easily, so It will curve to meet the walls, and I’ll finish the seam with some kind of rail or moulding. Painting the walls and ceiling the same color white will contribute to the feeling of a spacious environment.

I have no opening windows in the cargo area, so I installed (with the help of a friend) a Heki Mini Skylight in the back and a Maxxair fan in the front.  This should give me some nice cross ventilation and a view of the stars at night.

In the picture below, you can see how the wheel well sits in the kitchen cabinet.

I made an overhead bin for the passenger side, shaping it to follow the curve of the wall.  That cuts out some store space, but I like the harmonics of following the van’s natural lines. It’s bolted to the van and screwed to the furring, so it’s super secure.

My layout for the passenger side…

I watched a van video that talked about air fryers and decided to get one.  I hate microwaves, and even if I went that way, they were too big for the space. I found this Cuisineart toaster airfryer and I love it!  I built the dresser 13″ deep to accommodate it.  It will need to be secured, but at this point I’ve not figured that out.

Ceiling lights will go under the storage bin, along with several in the ceiling, all on one dimmer switch. I have 2 other light sources for watching TV / reading in bed.

I still have to figure out how to finish the cargo door.  From what I read the cargo door and the cab are the two places where the most heat / cold escape, so I’m making an insulated curtain and hanging it on a curved shower curtain rod––one long curtain with no space for air to escape.  I’ll write a post just on that when I get to it.


The Bed…

I’m adding shutters.  I’ll make a post on that when I solve the puzzle of their install. But this is the scaled plan to how they will look finished. They will fold back, so you can fling the back door open and soak in whatever view you parked in front of.  


My electrical follows Nate Yarbrough of

I came into this project completely clueless on all things electrical. There are hundreds of opinions on how to tackle this.  I decided early on to listen to one person, and that’s Nate. He has videos taking you through every detail, and you can buy PDF’s that contain every wire and fuse you will need for a solid, safe system. He also had a facebook group of great people that he comments on regularly.

I used his economy system, because I couldn’t afford the Victron and Battleborn elements. Plus Renogy had a holiday sale.  I swapped out the bus bars for a Victron Lynx Power In and added the solar disconnect switch present in the Battleborn systems, and this is what it looks like (batteries and inverter charger fixed to the floor, everything else, fixed to the walls.)

My van came with d-rings fixed to the floor.  I removed them and used the holes to secure my floor.  Then I attached straps and d-ring closures to the d-rings to hold down the batteries and water tanks.

That’s where I am so far.

Next up: attaching the solar panels to a roof rack and painting and the ceiling and walls.  I’ll keep you posted.