Over the last 9 months during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us have been forced to find new hobbies and ways to spend our time. If you’re an active social media user, I’m sure you’ve seen endless amounts of banana bread, Tiger King meme’s, and Dalgona coffee. But for Dianna and James, this wasn’t adventurous enough, so they decided to take things one step further.
About Dianna and James
Dianna has been renovating homes with her Father pretty much her entire life. So when the pandemic hit and suddenly she had a lot more free time on her hands, she decided to take it back to basics.
At the time, Dianna and her husband James were living in a rental property. The pair love interior design and renovation, but their creative juices were being suppressed because they couldn’t make any permanent changes. So they decided to take on a project unlike anything they’d done before, a van conversion!
Together they purchased a 2015 Ram ProMaster van. They opted for a sprinter, rather than a traditional campervan, for two main reasons. Firstly, sprinter vans are not bound by parking restrictions common to other camping vehicles. This gives them more freedom to drive and park wherever they like. Secondly, it’s stealthier than a traditional camper, which helps the couple to feel more secure.
All in all, the conversion process took around two months. They opted for a modern, Scandinavian-style interior featuring a wooden tongue-and-groove ceiling, hexagonal bathroom tiles and cane webbing cupboards.
- 2015 Ram ProMaster
Kitchen and Appliances
- Alpicool 12V Fridge– This is a small fridge, better suited to short off-grid adventures. The fact that it’s 12V is great because it can run entirely off battery power, which means it uses a lot less electricity.
- Nespresso Lattissima Espresso Machine– As self-confessed coffee fiends, the pair weren’t willing to sacrifice on home comforts. Therefore, they incorporated a specific space in their kitchen for an espresso machine.
- Tavata Countertop Portable Ice Maker – Although some people would view this as a luxury item, Dianna and James live in a hot climate, which means their fresh water tank heats up easily. The ice maker allows them to enjoy a refreshing cold glass of water or coffee.
- 12-inch portable 2-burner stove– In order to maximise counter space, Dianna and James opted for a portable stove that is kept inside a cupboard when not in use.
- Matt black faucet and sink
- Queen-sized bed – Instead of a fixed bed, Dianna and James’ van features an adaptable bed that is built using their table top and couch cushions.
- Step– To get to the living space, you have to climb up a small step. This is because the vans wheel wells are located underneath the benches, which makes them very tall. The couple wanted to be able to sit on the benches comfortably with their feet touching the floor, so it became necessary for them to make the living space a little higher than the rest of the van.
- Lagoon Swivel Mount Table – This can swivel 360˚ in any direction.
- Bench chairs – These benches are hollow inside, which creates additional storage.
- Privacy curtain– This pulls all the way across the driver’s cabin and sliding door to prevent people from staring inside the van.
- Full size shower
- Nautilus shower door– Rather than using a hinge to open and close like a normal door, this door retracts into itself, which helps to save space. It has a squeegee on one side which gets rid of any leftover moisture.
- Recessed shelf– When designing their bathroom, the pair wanted to incorporate a rack but were apprehensive about it using too much space. Therefore, they built a recessed shelf into their bathroom wall, which they use to store shampoo, shower gel etc.
- Shower head– Dianna and James specifically chose a shower with a long hose so that they’re able to pull it outside and rinse off muddy boots, equipment etc.
- Laveo dry flush toilet– This works using replaceable cartridges. When you press the flush button, the inner bag twists, drops, and lines the bowl with a fresh bag. Compared to other portable toilets, this is an expensive solution. However, Dianna and James plan to rent their van out, and this toilet will make it a lot quicker and easier to clean between uses.
- Silicone-based glue– Since the van will be moving around a lot, they pair used a silicone based glue to stick the tiles to the wall in order to prevent cracking.
- Hexagonal tiles
- Retractable 60ft long hose – Located underneath the sliding door of the van is a long hose, which is used to connect to an external water source and fill up the fresh water tank.
Power and Electrical
- Light switches– Dianna and James’ van features 2 light switches: one of the overhead lights and one for the shower lights. All of their lights are on a dimmer, which means they can be adjusted throughout the day.
- Renogy 2000W 12V Pure Sine Wave Battery Converter
- Renogy 20A DC Battery Charger
- Victron Energy Smart Solar 100V
- Victron BMV-700 Battery Monitor
- 350watts of solar panel
Heating and Cooling
- MaxxAir 05100K 12V Air Conditioning– This has been somewhat of a saving grace for Dianna and James. It runs off battery and also uses water to help cool itself. Before installing this, they found the van unbearably hot during summer nights.
Cabinetry and Finishes
- Custom built cabinets– Dianna and James measured and built all of the cupboards inside the van themselves. The overhead cupboards feature a cane webbing cut-out, which adds a Scandinavian element to their van.
- Rounded shelf
- Water heater
- Seaflo 55 Water Pump
- Bosch 4-gallon water tank
- 13-gallon water tank– This is located underneath their van.
- Water level gauges – One of the most recent additions to the van is a water gauge, which tells the pair how much grey water and fresh water they have in their tanks. This helps them to plan ahead and know when they’re going to need emptying/filling.
- Bulkhead storage
- 52-inch projector screen– This is located inside the upper cabinets, which means it can be hidden away when not in use. They used a motorised blind for the screen so they could get they exact size they needed. They also installed a magnet on the projector so they could mount it to the other side of the cupboard.
- Cornhold Board– When they were building the van, the pair knew they wanted to incorporate some fun games and activities. Therefore, at the back of their van they built a cornhold board, which doesn’t take up too much space but is a fun game to play when they’re bored.
To see the full tour of Dianna and James’ van, check out my YouTube channel: