November 14 – December 6.
If I had been working alone, my van build would probably look like some of the other â€œsingle dudeâ€ builds we have seen. They basically consist of a piece of plywood with a mattress on top. Some stuff is stored under the bed, and some is in racks overhead. Fortunately, my partner (and sweetheart) is a visionary. After spending five winters on a boat she has clear, firm ideas about the way our tiny living space should work.
What are some of our requirements? The van should be cozy but not cave-like. It should have an â€œopenâ€ feel. We need to reserve storage space for Everything, but it all must be accessible. Some van dwellers donâ€™t tote around musical instruments and power tools, but we do. I still paint houses and do odd jobs during the summer. It would be nice if I could remove tools without tracking in dirt. It would also be nice if I could haul a few sheets of plywood as needed. Long before we even bought this van, we decided on a walk-through layout with a bed that could be made into a sofa.
We drew lots of pictures of the layout. When we sold my folksâ€™ house in FL we kept a futon. Duwan was sure we could re-purpose it for our own sofa/bed layout. By the time we purchased a van, Duwan was doing pretty detailed designs on the laptop using Sketch-Up software. By the time we finished putting the inner skin on Ballena Blanca these designs were very accurate. The sofa/bed, power station, and travel fridge would be on the driverâ€™s side (port). And the galley would be on the passenger side (starboard).
We started portside. I built a sturdy drawer for the batteries and inverter. This was housed in a stand, which would support the bed. We disassembled and rebuilt the bed frame. And Duwan trimmed down the mattress. Now we have a bed.
Whatâ€™s next? The galley.
Disclaimer: This was our van build. Please do not consider this as advice on how to do yours. Hydrogen emitted by flooded batteries is flammable. Bad wiring connections can electrocute you. Research the risks for yourself.