Van Build – Week 3

We started the 3rd week insulating! Although it’s not your average British summer this year and has been unusually hot for an unexpected amount of time… It is still totally unpredictable. One minute it feels too hot to move and then next it’s pouring down with rain. We had to frame the top of the side walls and insert the insulation boards then vapour barrier over.

We continued our search for Solar Panels and electrics. As this is a new area to both of us and the internet is an overload of conflicting information it’s hard to know what’s best.

Then we cut another hole in the van… The smallest one yet! This is for the water inlet. We are having a sink and shower in the van so we need a big water tank and an easy way to fill it up. We ordered a hole saw and when it arrived it was quite a straightforward process. Elliot cut through the side of the van, filed the edges of the freshly cut area and inserted the attachment. Then it was screwed in place using the 4 screw holes within the design.

By Thursday we had a bed!! We were offered 3 sections of slats from an old IKEA wardrobe and they instantly looked like bed slats! We measured and built the frame from sawn timber and then checked the fit of the slats. They were slightly too small width wise but perfect lengthways! We screwed them in and made up the difference by connecting timber inserts. We then added legs on the inside next to what will be a set of drawers. We strengthened underneath at the back door side as we are not adding legs to this side. We want full access to what will be a garage under the bed.

Then was the time to measure up and cut the mattress to fit the bed frame. As this is all custom fit to what space we have in the van its not really possible to buy “off the shelf”. We also want to do this on as minimal a budget as possible so upcycling and having a go yourself is definitely the way for us and Wavy! The mattress we have been sleeping on was picked up from my mums the day before we set off to start the van. It’s a memory foam so there are no springs and it’s really easy to cut. I watched a few videos on YouTube and a Bread Knife was the only tool I had similar to any of the videos (most use an electric carving knife). I used a Stanley knife to cut away the thread that stitched the mattress cover in place which was very quick and easy. Then I measured how much I needed to take off. The width was fine but the length was too long (the opposite to the slats)! Then I got Elliot to check the measurements and he re lined it as I was off! Still not quite a trades woman yet but I am improving.

It wasn’t as easy to cut as it looked on YouTube and it went slightly off part way but I was able to bring it back. I checked and it fit so it’s a good job I did ask Elliot to check the measurements!! Then I had to re sew the fabric cover as it was now too long. I decided not to cut it and just kind of tucked it round! It was nightmare to sew and I couldn’t find my thimble amongst the boxes so I had to use insulation tape on my fingers.

I have never stabbed myself as many times! Elliot was putting a bed frame together no problems and I felt like I was in a scene from a Saw Movie using a tiny needle! I’m wishing now I never went down the office route and learned a trade instead. But I’m learning now instead #NeverTooLate

It was such a milestone to sleep in a permanent bed in our van. It felt really good and we’re happy with the progress. It all takes time but luckily for us we have that. If you have read previous blogs you will know we stared selling everything we own and then quit our jobs to do this full time. So we have all day and can make good progress. For anyone that wants to do something new I would say do it!

On Saturday we started the kitchen frame. Now the bed is in we can build out from there. We are starting with the sliding door side which will house our fridge and cooker and whatever storage we can create! These are the most expensive items going in the van as we want to ensure we can live in the van conveniently full time. They just look like mini versions and the fridge even has a freezer compartment!

On Sunday we explored the local car boot sale! Picked up loads of fruit and veg very cheaply! Always buy fresh from markets if you can. We were then gifted an old desk that was destined for the tip. I forgot to take a complete before photo but you get the idea.

We measured the drawers and realised with them cut out we could install them in between the fridge and cooker as we have a lot more space than we thought we would. We took them apart and added the drawers to the kitchen frame. The slide out writing table looks like a perfect slide out chopping board so we will add that to the edge near the bed and use as extra counter space when we need it. The extended fold down end of the table had a metal hinge and pull out stand. We have put these to one side and will re use later. We plan to try and add a flip up tables and work surfaces where possible.

At the end of week 3 it feels like a “real van build” you can actually see real progress and it feels great.


3 thoughts on “Van Build – Week 3

  1. It’s coming along nicely guys and it’s starting to look like I home. I love the updates keep them coming.


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