Custom Camper Van Progress

Van Before Interior
George and I are currently building out a custom van for camping and travelling. We’d love to travel in the Airstream, but it’s large and cumbersome– especially for a short trip. We don’t have much time to work on the van, but we’ve made some progress and I want to share it with you today.

As a reminder, let’s take a look at the van before we started working on it. (See above and below!) Van Inside Before


And here’s the progress we’ve made…

Cleaning and putting the walls up in the van

We ripped out the carpets, thoroughly cleaned, built a platform for the bed, built the basic structure for a kitchen, built a box for the emergency camper toilet, and began putting in the wood walls. Bambi did not help. 😛

And the walls are up!

The walls are built out of rough-cut, untreated wood– the kind of wood usually used for fencing! We used fence wood to cut down costs and cut down on weight. The walls made such a difference!

Mattress has been cut!

Next we picked out foam for a mattress. I picked the plushiest option. What can I say, Bambi and I are princesses. We took the foam home and cut it with a large, sharp knife to custom fit.

Picking paint colors

The wood we used for the walls was way too yellow. I would have loved to use all reclaimed wood, but we just didn’t have enough. We decided to paint the walls a light grey (the color on the left). I would have loved bright white, but the the rough cut wood lent itself to a faux, old- wood finish. Plus, the grey really picks up the grey in the reclaimed wood we used to build the box, the bed and the kitchen.

1st coat of white

Above you can see the 1st coat of white. And Bambi claiming the bed as her own.

Wall paint is done!

And the finished product!

It’s a slow process, but it’s coming along. If you want to follow our progress in real time, I’ve been posting progress shots on Instagram. I can’t wait to get this thing on the road!

Do you have any big projects in the works? Talk to me in the comments.


12 thoughts on “Custom Camper Van Progress

  1. Debby hoots

    How bout a roof vent/fan? Can’t wait to see the finished project. Check out ‘ decorative fabrics direct’ …they have a line of ‘wander lust’ fabrics ‘ and ‘soulful voyager’. We are giving our Airstream a makeover and came across it.

    1. melanie Post author

      Hey Debby! We don’t really want to cut into the structure of the van. We’re looking for new doors with popout windows, so I think with those we’ll get enough of a breeze. Thanks for the fabric tip!

  2. Sarah

    It looks great! How exciting to hit the road in your custom van. Looking forward to seeing what’s next.

  3. Steve

    Looks great Melanie! We still plan on swinging by and starting a coming someday. 🙂

    Our van is about to get some interior improvements soon.

  4. kara19

    wow, amazing! It looks beautiful- I’m jealous! Do you have any resource recommendations for someone looking to do the same thing, but who has no skills? Haha, it’s a dream of mine to get a camper van and re finish it in the next two years, but I am really starting from scratch in terms of knowledge and workmanship skills!

  5. indigowendigo

    Hey guys, love the blog. I’m looking to reno an airstream in the future, which is why I found this site, but in the meantime we love the van life. We just drove across the country and back last summer. Here’s a tip: wherever you park, if nobody can see you in there, then legally that can’t tell you to leave. So our routine was to use the restroom somewhere before bedtime, park somewhere inconspicuous, and just don’t draw attention. Curtains are a must. Like this we camped out in downtown seattle, vancouver, manhattan, etc, etc. We stayed one block from the Guggenheim for 4 days over new years! Anyway, we love it and we plan to make the move to an airstream once my daughter graduates. Thanks for the blog, keep livin the dream! PS I’ve leaned never to delay because of worry about whether you’re ready. Just go for it. A lot of people waste years and years in preparation, when they could be exploring the world.

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