Our Lovely Little Home

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.

Working on cabinet framing inside on a freezing winter day.

Working on cabinet framing inside on a freezing winter day.

We used a water-based polyurethane to limit toxicity and maintain the color of the beautiful Colorado beetle kill pine that we used for framing.

We used a water-based polyurethane to limit toxicity and maintain the color of the beautiful Colorado beetle kill pine that we used for framing.

The bare bones of the van interior.

The bare bones of the van interior.

P1040191

Fitting the cabinets.

The sink and plumbing system.

The sink and plumbing system.

Seat framing and sub-floor.

Seat framing and sub-floor.

Building the new fold-down seat/bed.

Building the new fold-down seat/bed.

Sewing the crash pad/seat covers.

Sewing the crash pad/seat covers.

Installing curtains on a snowy day.

Installing curtains on a snowy day.

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!

Working in Leo's awesome shop.

Working in Leo’s awesome studio.

Building a drawer.

Building a drawer.

Our main cabinet door, made from Colorado beetle kill pine.

Our main cabinet door, made from Colorado beetle kill pine.

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.

Finished interior.

Finished interior.

The counter top lifts up to access the stove and water tank.

The counter top lifts up to access the stove and water tank.

The seat folds down into a full-length bed.

The seat folds down into a full-length bed.

We built a table that attaches to the side of the cabinets.

We built a table that attaches to the side of the cabinets.

Interior lighting.

Interior lighting.

4 thoughts on “Our Lovely Little Home

  1. I got to see it last week at the family going away taco night. What an impressive project. Well done! May the journey be as sweet and bring great stories and wonderful travels!

  2. We are completely in love with your interior. Were going to be living in our westy soon and we really wanna make it more functional with space.

    I have some questions for you??

    Send me an email where it would be easier to chat!

    Hope your travels are safe and full of heart warming moments

    D

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *