Read on to see a play by play of us decking the van out. You may soon notice that I use the terms 'us' and 'we' very loosely throughout these conversion posts. When I say "we then put in a the bed frame" what I really mean is Sean did all the work involved in putting in the bed frame and I took a couple photos. To be fair on myself I did measure some things for him... But I'm 95% sure he double checked them when I was inside the house fetching him a cool drink.
Here are some photos of what we started with and the finished product thus far! We think it's coming along a treat. If you like what you see then keep scrolling for more info on how we've done it so far!
Tell me more, tell me more. Like what kind of car?
This is a SWB (short wheel base for those who much like myself had no idea that vans came in different lengths until 6 months ago) transporter with absolutely no frills... well it does have bluetooth speakers and a reversing beeper thing. It's great and the perfect shell to make a home-on-wheels in!
Now for the Juicy Details aka a very brief overview of the kitting out!
The key design aspects we were after included:
- Dual purpose use - Whilst this is a sweet holiday road trip or weekend getaway mobile for us, this little beauty has to also cart around a bunch of tools and building equipment on a day to day basis for Sean's work.
- Ability to sit comfortably upright on the bed/chair (Sean is over 6' tall)
- Being able to practically use the storage space underneath.
- Be able to walk through space from driver/passenger seat to back of van easily.
- Be able to store long objects (surfboards, some longer building materials) safely within the van.
We went with a long bench down the driver side of the van with 2 lift up tops and a pull out draw underneath. This would then have a section that during the day and non sleep times would slot in and act as a back support allowing the bench to be a 'couch' and during night time this back section would drop down to make a double bed. Pictures will help explain what I'm trying to describe here so carry on reading.
Sean made the frame such that it would fit over the wheel arch. We wanted the bed high enough that we could functionally store stuff underneath it and also low enough so that when it wasn't in bed mode (more on that later) we could sit upright on it without Sean hitting his head on the ceiling.
Instead of buying ply, we used timber floorboards to make the platform over the bed frame which were offcuts and left overs from a house Sean worked on. This was a bit more work, but we saved a little cash and resources that would have probably just ended up as firewood or in a skip.
The drop down bed/couch back is in 2 pieces to make it more manoeuvrable (and lighter as I have chicken arms). The leg is also attached via a hinge so that it is down when used as a bed and folded back when used as a couch back.
One of the shelves (the bottom one) we've left open with just a small lip on it to stop things falling out. When in bed mode it acts as a perfect little bed side table. The next shelf up is where the drop down table is level with. And the top shelf will have a small lip added on to it also and will be a handy storage level for food and cooking supplies.
Side Note: It also acts as a great place to pop your laptop and watch a quick doco before bed if that's your thing.
- The table is attached to the wall unit with hinges.
- It remains closed using a latch closure, much like you'd see inside your cupboards at home!
- It is supported by rope that ties onto the shelf above the table. This keeps the table flat when open.