I once joined this forum deadly intent on building a tiny trailer for myself, to use to go camping on the beach. Then life happened and there was a shift in some priorities and I tabled that project. But months later, I found an older van on Craigslist for an affordable price and jumped on a new
Its not finished (Will it ever be?
) But I wanted to share my build with you guys since finding your forum was the inspiration to start making sawdust on an actual project!
When I saw this van I just knew
I wanted to make a Tiny House/Hippie Van out of it. How much could I fit in there comfortably? I took it as a learning opportunity to teach myself electrical/plumbing basics and apply some basic woodworking skills I already had.
I can't seem to resize these images with BBCode so I'll just link to them...Makes it easier for people to respond later too I guess, without scrolling.First Day
This is when I bought it. All ringed in glass and plain. I took some old things out of my house and laid them out inside, getting a feel for a floorplan.Hanging a Hammock
I tried to hang a hammock inside, I was hoping to use that as a bed, but it didn't really work out, there weren't enough secure points high enough in the van to connect to. There is a cage in the roof but I've no idea how much it might support or where the best connections might be, the roof fiberglass is secured to it from the inside
so peeling that off would structurally weaken the roof. Best to avoid.Emptied Floor
- Floor support and insulation
I ripped up the old greasy floor and cleaned the whole surface. Then I laid some subfloor supports down. I'm 6' 1" and there's 6'5" of standing room in the van, so every inch is important, but you need floor insulation.Attic Decking
- Taped Attic Decking
- Edge Tiles
Then I laid attic decking down, sanded and taped the seams, and put down linoleum tiles. Light colors make a small space feel bigger!Floor Trim
Where the doors are the floor was raised up about an inch and you saw the side of ugly attic decking, and the tiles could easily get caught, so I trimmed all the exposed edges of the floor with this metal edging to keep down the tile and a little white painted trim.Breakers!
- Furrion Shore Power Connection
Got some amazing breakers that offer ground fault and combination arc fault interruption for the whole curcuit, and this awesome shore power connection designed for boats. Lights at Night
Learning how to get the electrical working was quite a task and when I finally finished it was late in the night after a week or so of careful reading, building some tiny circuits to practice, planning, and finally implementing it. When I finished testing it for safety, turned the driveway lights off and finally flipped the interior lights on and they worked I'm pretty sure I cried a little.Inside Windows
- Outside Windows
I didn't like all these hip-high Windows all over the place - awkward position, awkward shape! I considered pulling them out and trying to sell them on e-bay, filling in the space with sheet metal and some white auto paint, but in the interest of expediency I simply painted over them on the inside. I'm covering the inside in insulation and an interior skin, I just need it to not look like insulation from the outside.Insulation!
The roof is fairly well insulated but the side walls definitely weren't.
...Eating insulation is a bad idea, but boy did I have a might craving for cotton candy while I was working on this stuff.Bathroom Wall Framing
- Wall Panelings
Framed out the bathroom wall, put furring strips on the walls, and started putting up the skin.Back Door
I loved the natural wood texture of this thin plywood stuff I got at HD and it really started to look comfy inside when it started to go up.Bathroom Walls skinned
Skinning the bathroom walls was quite a chore, the van walls are somewhat irregular in shape and each had to be uniquely cut to fit.Side Doors Shaping
- Side Doors Skinned
The side doors were contoured something like an S, and so the wood needed to be contoured to fit. It wasn't such a curve that it needed to be kerfed, jet getting it wet and letting it dry with sufficient weight on it put it in the right shape.Sanded Wall Edges
Sanded the wall edges until the rounded smoothly with the 2x4. Sanded off the 2x4 stamps and then I sanded down everything and gave it a good coat of polyurethane.Bed
Built the bed out with plenty of underbed storage.Cabinet Base
Fridge is under the sink, but over the wheel well, so this is me testing out a little platform to hold it. Nice retro-looking fridge I got for cheap cause it was the last model Wal-mart has. Clearance racks! Sink
I know some of you use cardboard sinks, haha, this is a turkey basting pan. Only a little more expensive, stainless steel, lightweight, looks amazing.Bottom of the Bathtub
Now ya'll might think I'm crazy, but during the design I decided to see exactly how much HOUSE I could fit in this space.
So I made a bathtub out of a feeding trough, supported on a wooden base which gives it a suitable drain slope.Desk Down
- Desk Up
Here is the desk/dining table, supported by everyone's favorite hinge, and a folding dining room chair which was worth the 40$ I paid for it at Bed Bath and Beyond because its cushiony and nice-looking.Latched Desk
The desk latches to the wall with a little hook.A/C Hole
- Inside A/C
Then my dad an I worked together to put a wall A/C on the back of the van.First Try at the A/C
We built it on a slope (The driveway is almost 30 degrees) and despite our best efforts that threw off our leveling (Go figure!
)Second Try at the A/C
Its supported by a little shelf thing for window A/Cs but the hole is actually framed in, connected to the framing of the roof cage, perfectly sized for the AC, and filled with spray foam.
We were worried it would bounce around. When we had to rip the whole job apart to level the A/C, we realized how little we needed to worry. That thing isn't going ANYWHERE.Appliances!
Speaking of how much HOUSE I can fit into this tiny space...how about a washing machine and a dryer?
I don't know if I'll keep them in here long term, but the Panda line of small apartment appliances seemed like a good purchase for a number of reasons, and very affordable.Hanging Curtain Track
- Front View
The tub sits in front of the toilet and appliance in the last picture, with a 2' ~ish space between. The curtain track runs around the whole space in front of the bathroom walls. It can be pulled around in a circle to turn the tub into a shower, pulled in front of the bathroom to provide some privacy, pulled against the side doors to open the space up, and serves to divide the back of the van from the front cabin.
Now I start to beautify the space: 'Mudroom'WaterclosetTub/ShowerKitchen
- It used to be a nursing home bus, I kept the No Smoking sign for funsies.Kitchen
- A cutting board goes over the sink to make cooking space. During travel, a little NuWave cooktop fits in the sink while the pans fit under the fridge/cabinet in the space between the wheel well and the bathroom wall.
I used stemware and a wine glass rack as drinking storage, alternating between glass and plastic so they don't break each other if they rattle. Bag ties around the end of the stemware rack keep them from sliding out while driving.
Turnaround of the finished outside: Drivers
To Do list:
* get some of that 'fake grass' stuff they use at put-put golf places, but blue (HD has it) and carpet the 'mudroom' in it.
* Put some trim around the top where the wood skin meets the fiberglass skin.
* Build a drawer into the under-bed storage for easy clothes access.
* put shelves/door next to the fridge for dry food storage
* Put a door of some kind over the under-cabinet/wheel well storage space so stuff doesn't slide around while driving.
* Put a bookshelf in front of the tub on the driver's cabin side of the curtain. I have 10" X 2' of space that isn't be used! Its a crime!
* Build one of these things
and attach it to the wall above the towel rack in the kitchen.
* put a removable seat on the tub and 2 seatbelts attached to the frame by the side doors so more than just me can travel in the van.
* Buy some Teardrop door windows and put them through the fiberglass portion of the wall, over the sink and over the desk/table. I found some, just waiting for tax moneys to buy them - tinted, insulated, screens, etc
* Find some way to pretty up the PVC pipe that fills the bathtub? Maybe metallic brass or silver paint?
* Mount a small TV on the wall over the desk that can be tilted towards the bed.
I have some pictures of the bed with the final mattress put on and stuff. I can add those later.