Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Honing in on Design

Yep, I changed my mind, again.  But, thankfully I haven't posted any of my previous plans for your critiquing pleasure.  I absolutely positively need a van with a 12' box.  An average-sized parking space is generally 18.'  A divided parking lane on a city street, from what I've gathered, is broken into increments of 19.'  Step Vans with 12' cargo bays are roughly 20' long, so that's pushing it, but doable.  I can't help it.  I need the extra 2.'  I'm going to run with it.  

The Layout

The badly hand-drawn line is the curtain that will keep the bathroom counter dry during showers.  

The feel I want for the galley will remain the same. It's something along these lines. But the color will be more of a rich dark stain and the counter will be butcher block. 

The Bathroom

The bathroom had changed configuration so many times, my brain almost couldn't take it.  Basically, I was trying to fit 10 pounds of crap into an 8 pound bag. 

And then...the clouds finally broke.  Simplicity prevailed.  After releasing the notion of a 10' long living area with crazy removable tables, conversion beds, and even an idea for a fold up vanity top with a sink basin attached, I sighed with relief.  "Of course," I said.  "It makes total sense.  Get rid of Inspector Gadget and come back down to reality.  It has to be two more feet!"  I wasn't sure what came over me, but I'll just call it an epiphany.  And, you know, it's the little things in life that thrill me the most. 

The bathroom vanity will fit nicely into a 2'x3' space.   


Picture all of the cabinet faces with an overlay-reveal that emulates this design... 

The scale in this picture seems almost exactly that of the vanity I'll be constructing.  The faucet will be similar but the sink basin will be recessed into the countertop. 

We mustn't forget the lighting.  Lighting is everything.  My 1watt LED spots will do the trick.


Back to my drawing. 

Behind the door under the counter on the left side is....ready? 

The toilet. 

Yes, it will slide out and hang in the air.  By the way, it's waterless.  Now, before you kick my whole van idea to the curb, don't get all hung up on waste.  It's just waste.  I'll get more into detail about my plans for waste at a later date.   And, I think you'll side with me after hearing my case. 

Here's the best vehicle I've seen, as of late. 

I found it on Craigslist with the help of the nationwide search engine "Craigslist Reader."  The 6.2 Liter Diesel has only 82,000 on it - perfect for a veggie conversion!   The problem is this:  I figure that upon my arrival to Cleveland by way of LAX, I'm already $300 in the hole, let alone slurping down God knows how many tanks of fuel to get the thing back to California.  I'm down a thousand smackers even before signing the check!  But, It may just have to be part of doing business. 

Definitely my kind of style, though.  The search goes on.   



  1. Good stuff. The step van is definitely a neat way to go, but I wonder if you'll be losing some stealth-like capabilities with it. I would think a step van will stand out more than a cargo van when parked in a residential area, but maybe that's not a concern for you? Also, not sure if you plan on staying at RV parks, but you may find that some don't allow non-RV conversions like this. Curious to hear your thoughts on this...

  2. Hey Glenn,

    Thanks for the note. In theory my version of stealth would be to fashion the exterior like someone's personal work vehicle. And, the proper selection of a parking space is equally important.

    With respect to RV parks, I have heard that you may get turned away if you have an eye sore. But, maybe that's a relative term and hard to justify either way if built by a manufacturer of motorhomes.

    I don't see why I couldn't just say I've driven my work truck to use to go camping for a weekend because it's got better storage. But now that you've brought it up, I guess I'm going to have to research it.

    I think the key is not making a piece of junk that just looks horrible. The thing will look like it's well cared for and built with a sense of good professional design. I will be getting a pro paint job, as well. I'm counting on that being enough.

  3. I'm a new reader, and I just have to tell you that I love the bit about "trying to fit 10 pounds of crap into an 8 pound bag".

    It looks like you have a lot of great ideas and the knowledge to make your plan work. I look forward to seeing your progress!

  4. Hey Jessica,

    Thanks a bunch for the support. My knowledge is founded in lots of trial and error. I hope this all works, but I'm sure there will be many problems to solve, along the way.

    I want to learn about vegetable gardening, so I've been peeking at your site, too. I'm looking forward to some fresh faire in your blog! :)

  5. Hi,

    I've been following your blog, and I think this will turn into a great finished project.

    I wanted to say that we ended up flying one way to Florida (from Michigan) and driving back with our truck. So yeah, part of doing business I guess. 8 MPG was not cheap either...


  6. Hi John,

    Thanks for the nice note. I've been following your build, as well. You've got a giant space to fill, there. Impressive project, indeed. I really dig the skylights and the finished ceiling -- super groovy.

    8mpg! Holy mackerel. Transportation must be considered as part of the purchase price. After almost getting on a plane twice in the last six months, I'm well aware of the added cost.

    Onward we go!

  7. Hey Rob, The designs are looking good! I like your thorough planning and research! It will payoff for you with a nice rig!

    The thoughts about some RV parks not allowing you are legit though probably no concern. There have been some that checked through the door what we were driving to make sure it was acceptable. I know some have pretty strict standards. That said, I doubt highly it would ever be an issue for you as there are so many other alternatives usually.

    Keep up the good work man!

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"

  8. Mike,

    Thanks for weighing in on the RV park question. I guess I'll have to prepare myself for all situations. But, as you said, lots of alternatives.

  9. Well, if it comes down to just being presentable, I know you will be fine. Some of them have vehicle age requirements and discriminate against DIY rigs. We are likely both out of luck for them. They really just want the big motor mansions for eye candy so they can charge ridiculous rates. No loss at all on them.

    Being prepared for all situations is a good move!

    97 Roadtrek 170P "Taj Ma Trek"