One night, close to the end of our 7 week test jaunt, while laying in bed, I rolled over and said to John “I think we’re going to remodel” The look in his eyes was… well you can imagine. We had just finished 3 months of working on the van every weekend to get her ready for this first phase of our adventure and the last thing John or I wanted to do was tear apart what we had just built.
But we needed to.
We had watched SO many youtube videos and followed so many van life accounts trying to nail down our perfect layout and when we thought we got it.. we didn’t. You just don’t know how it’s going to live and function until you are actually in it full time.
Our bed layout before was U shaped benches that had storage underneath and a table that dropped down to fill the hole. We then assembled all of our cushions from the benches (backs and butts) to fill the holes and voila, that became our bed! Sounds fun right! Wrong – so if I’m going to take a mid afternoon nap I have to squeeze on the slender bench- because why we made our table so big was beyond us MISTAKE #1- or I have to put down the table and disturb the other person who might want to work, forcing them to sit in the front bucket seat with no table surface to work on. The back was livable if we both wanted to do the same things at the same time. That rarely happened. Plus is was no fun having to take a part and remake our bed every single night/morning. I don’t even like to make the bed in a normal house.. who wants to do it everyday in a van!!! What were we thinking??!!!
Clearly we got caught up in watching all these van lifers who basically don’t get up at the crack of dawn, chase the sunrise and stay out until dark like we do. It just didn’t fit for our life style. It’s enough work getting all our gear assembled for our early morning fish or late evening climb, we don’t want to have to come back and make the bed every time.
So we changed it.
And now we love it.
Now the bed is turned, runs the width of the back end of the van and is now a permanent. No assembling or dissembling. By doing this, we don’t have to store our bedding and pillows, thus gaining storage- first plus. We raised the bed utilizing the height of the van and gained space underneath adding even more storage – second plus!! Turning the bed sideways gave us the perfect little nook to add our dining/office space. We now have a table that can be stored away under our bed and pulled out easily as needed. Now, we technically have 5 separate seats in our small 78sf home (counting the bed as a seat!)
As far as money goes, we definitely lost some on this remodel. Before our benches were made out of that green cushion foam you can get at any hobby store and that stuff is pricey let me tell you. We thought we were saving money by making our own cushions but turns out.. that stuff isn’t very comfortable or worth your buck. Luckily enough, I checked craigslist and found a futon mattress for $25 that has twice the comfort as those cushions and just happened to be the perfect size! It even has the most perfect outdoor pattern. It was like it was meant to be!
If anyone has a need for green cushion foam… we’ve got a lot! 🤷🏽♀️