When Tim bought Chimera (then Vanyan), it had a stock Vanagon interior, with one bench seat that folded down into the bed and old carpet on the floor. This was a comfortable set-up for short trips, and even our Canada road trip, but we knew that we wanted more of a camper interior for our Pan American travels. The common conversion for Vanagons is the Westfalia or Westy style, with a pop-up roof that becomes the bed and cabinets along the driver’s side. We decided against doing the standard Westy conversion and decided to make our own custom camper interior, following a similar design with cabinets along the driver’s side and a taller cabinet in the rear. Going into the project we had little experience with cabinetry, but we figured it out as we went along, making plenty of mistakes and then fixing them. What we ended up with far exceeded our expectations and makes for a very comfortable and lovely little home. It was a particularly cold and snowy winter in Boulder, so much of our cabinet work was done inside in the kitchen and hallway.
We are very fortunate to know many talented people who helped us out, including Leo Weber, a very skilled woodworker in Estes Park. Leo helped us do the detailed work on the cabinets – the drawers, cabinet doors, and counter tops. We owe a huge thank you to Leo for making our cabinets look so nice and work so well!
Our finished camper interior features the main kitchen cabinets with two drawers and slide-out shelving, a two-burner propane stove, a small refrigerator, and a sink connected to a 15-gallon water tank. There are seven low-wattage LED lights throughout the interior. All of the electricity is supplied by two solar panels on the pop-top unit on the roof (we will write a post about that soon!). The flooring is re-used bamboo. The seat and bed cushions are both crash pads that Emily modified to fit. The rear cabinets have two upper shelves with doors and an large open lower cubby. Tim also installed a swivel adaptor for the front passenger seat so it can turn around the face the back.