Weeks 9 and 10

There was a big pine table at the back of Elliots mum (Helen’s) garage we were able to use so we went to work emptying the garage to get to it. This was a good opportunity to organise everything and put back in so that we had more space to maouvere in the garage. The top of the table is beautiful and a really decent size, perfect to make a worktop for the cooker side of the kitchen. We cut the cooker area out, routed the edges and sanded it all down. It looked beautiful and after a coat or two of Danish Oil it looks even better. We are really grateful to Helen for this, if we bought a worktop like this it would’ve cost us a fortune!

I had my heart set on some mexican tiles I’d seen online. They are hand painted with colourful designs and absolutely beautiful. The problem is they are quite expensive and also heavy. In a van you want everything to be as light as possible. We went to Homebase and it’s closing down and have reduced the prices. We managed to get a pack of tiles that is more than enough for £5! I decided I didn’t need the mexican tiles… possessions don’t matter… especially when we can have a new scenery outside everyday. So we went with plain white to brighten up this area.

Tues we went back to Homebase for some more silicone and found packs of oak laminate flooring for £11 due to the clearence sale. So we came home finished the tiles…

And then went to work on the floor. The first step was to lay the underfloor heating. This is going to be a game changer in winter. The plan is to add the control on the wall at the side of the bed so we can flip it on when we wake up and then snooze for 5 whilst it warms up! The yellow sheet is a vapour barrier.

We bought some wood filler and filled all the screw holes and any cracks in the carcass wood and ply. We will send it later when fully dried. The worktop got another coat of oil.

Thursday we fitted the boiler! We ordered what was described as shoe box size. It must have been referring to Clown shoes because it’s pretty big! We’re getting so close to the end now I don’t mind the size of the boiler especially since it means I can get a nice hot shower.

It was hard work as the flue had to be straight but the sides of the van are not straight. First we added a ply board that will stay behind the boiler, we won’t clad this area. Then we had to add a wood insert so that the boiler sat straight and didn’t tail off like the wall does. It’s attached to the wall with two washer screws. There’s a mini chimney on the roof and it looks so cool.

There’s a Homebase near us that is closing down so we keep popping in for a bargain or two. Today we bought 4 cushions with cotton covers for £2.70 each. This makes the bed a lot comfier now.

Friday I made a chisel wrap for Elliot. He asked if I’d make one when he first bought them but I haven’t had the machine out since. It’s out now as I need to make some curtains. Having tiny windows means you need custom curtains (just like everything else)! I need the practice before I make the curtains as I have no idea what I’m doing!

Elliot cut 2 holes in the floor for the water waste pipes in the shower and kitchen sink. Cutting the floor has been the worst cut so far. We’re not sure what it was coated with but it was sending molten sparks flying! It completey ruined a whole saw…there was only one tooth left by the end.

The day had started badly when the low slung trap we bought for the shower wouldn’t work and we realised we’d left a box of parts and fittings at our old house! So a trip to tool station was needed. We wrote a list of everything we would need and had to take a hack saw to trim the pipes we needed. We have the world’s smallest car so transporting materials is tricky. We can’t drive the van as the mechanical work has still not been completed. We stayed positive and the day ended well.

Saturday it rained all day so we decided to have a rest day. We stayed in bed all day comfy and cosy watching films and the Office US Box Set. It was really great to be able to enjoy the van and that’s without a working kitchen and bathroom yet. I just know were going to love it once it’s finished.

Sunday we set an alarm for 8 to make some progress. There are two holes in the floor for the waste water pipes and we need to complete this really. Elliot spent the next few days installing all the pipework and shower tray. In the end he had to build up to accommodate the trap. This meant extending the full floor and laying new boards.

It took some doing but luckily Elliot has completed both plumbing and joinery apprenticeships so he’s able to complete all the work himself. It’s really impressive what he creates and achieves especially considering the circumstances. We’re now working in confined spaces which makes everything more difficult and stressful. We can’t even get the drill to some areas now!

By the end of the week the shower and pipes are installed and the bathroom is almost complete. Just a bit more sani clad and a door to go!

Elliots run all the pipes for the boiler and I started to run the electric cables. We only have the ceiling fan and underfloor heating run for now but it’s a start.

Friday 12th the weather was really bad wind and rain. It had been noisy all night and it was so nice been all tucked up and cosy in bed listening to the rain on the roof. Every now and then there would be a ‘ping’ on the new chimney. We’re getting close to the deadline of when I want to be back in Leeds to see my family so we decided to make a list of everything we still need to do and everything we have left to buy. We then started planning out our days of what tasks we will complete everyday. We did it for the first time Saturday and it worked so well. We made massive progress and it felt good to tick things off the list.

We’ve insulated the middle panels of the back doors and this was the last place we needed to add the insulation boards. We have some left over from what we bought which was a lucky find detailed in one of our older blogs.

The drawers we used from the desk were quite dark so I sanded them down not realising it was a veneer and I went too far!

I can’t oil and leave them now as this will irritate me so I decided to paint them with the left over paint from the suitcase we ulcycled. You may remember we bought a suitcase from the car boot. We cleaned it up, took some broken locks off and added our own lock and detailing. We’re using this as a stock box for Bojangles Bazar


Helen gave us the paint to use and I loved the colour which goes with the theme of the van so I decided to use it in the van too. I also sanded and painted the old wheel arch cover which we are putting back in. I’m not sure why but a splash of colour just makes it feel more homely.

Helen also had an awning that was originally on her brother Andy’s VW campervan. He said we could have it and amazingly the colours match our van perfectly. We never thought we’d have the budget for an awning so this is fantastic. It was broken on one leg but we were able to buy a replacement part and fit with a rivet gun. We cleaned it up under what was possibly the last of this years sun and I daydreamed of all the evenings we can spend sat under this.

The finish line is in sight… I can almost see the horizon


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