To start planning the inside layout of the van, the first thing I did was to draw shapes on the floor to see how everything would fit. This would allow me to walk around the van, step inside the shower, open doors, just to make sure everything would fit perfectly. The last thing I would want is to fit everything inside and not to be able to open the fridge for example.
I decided I would raise the rear floor where the sitting area would be. The reason for this was so I could fit the boiler and electrics under the seat, it would also allow me to run piping for my central heating from one side of the van to the other, allow the radiator to be centralized in the van and it would give me extra storage. Not a huge amount, but for things like poles, golf clubs or to fill with beer and wine. Before I could lay the floor, I had to insulate the van, board it and cut everything out for my windows and roof lights. It is a good idea to give it some time from fitting the exterior windows to doing any boarding, this allows you to check for leaks and any problems that is easier to fix at this stage.
Once boarded, I lay the first floor. This allows me to position my boiler, pipework and run my heating and hot and cold pipes around the van. It also gives me my finished height for the toilet, which can now be cut out of the wall, as I will empty my toilet from outside as well as filling it.
The fridge has a big say on how things fit as it is the largest of the appliances and as it needs vents out of the wall, they have to be placed in a safe and correct position. The need to sit straight on the outside wall, be the correct heights and the top one connects to the rear of the fridge. Once that is placed and cut out, I can position my rear chairs. I have already measured the width so that my boiler and electric box can fit in. Once I’m happy, I can build my rear second floor. It cannot be too high as I don’t want to bang my head on the wall units. They are measured, marked on the wall, and then I can measure how much I can higher the chairs, also allowing for the wheel arches, the windows (I don’t want my cushions covering the windows), and the boiler. It is a very tight fit however if done right, it really does give you the best of everything. If wrong, it will mess everything up as you will be banging your head on your cupboard’s until you change your van.
Next job is to fit my shower. I want a full shower as I intend to use the van a lot and I do not enjoy showering around my toilet. A shower should be a shower. Because of the angle of the van, it has to sit away from the wall, however this is no problem as it allows a space for the plumbing to go, perfect really. When drilling the hole for the waste, it is important to check first as you need to know that you can get pipes on the underneath of the van. I build my walls around the shower, and use special plastic sheeting. You can get these in many different colours, but I use one that is light and matches the interior of the van. Next is the opposite wall, the sink and cupboard, this also gives me one half of the wardrobe. I add the other side and build my gas cupboard at the bottom of the wardrobe. I add the vents and a lid and I can fit two large bottles in comfortably. For this size of vehicle, I am very happy with that. I make room under one seat and add my leisure battery. Bringing the wire down from the solar panel which is in the wardrobe and adding it. I also have a wire to the vehicle battery. The solar panel will charge them both so I am never stuck and when driving, the vehicle battery will top up my leisure battery. I might add another leisure battery at a later date, but I will see if I need it first.
Next on my list of jobs is to finish the base units and add the oven. I am putting the oven near the door. I am doing this for safety as well as it fits perfectly. The oven has a glass shield so will protect the flames if I am cooking while the door is open. The door doesn’t go all the way back, because I had to shorten my runner for the window, so it sits perfectly with the oven. Next is the wall units and microwave. The microwave will only work when the vehicle is plugged in, however I think it is well worth adding. It doesn’t take up too much space but will be very handy while away.
The interior is nearly done now; I just have a few little jobs left. I need to build some covers for above the cab to tidy the plastic up and down the side of the doors. I fit my panels above the door to turn the power on and off. Hang the curtains, fit the chairs and I think it is a job well done. It has taken me a little longer than expected however the weather has been really bad and that has stopped me. Also, building it over winter, it has been cold and the nights have been darker sooner meaning fewer hours to work. However just over five weeks and I am very happy with the result.
If you would like to ask me any questions on my conversion, please feel free to do so. I will try to answer you as honestly and as well as I can.