Y’all. I am so excited and relieved to share this post. It’s been a long time in the making. Two years long. Which is longer than we’ve ever stretched out a project. At the beginning of freakin’ 2015 George and I purchased a beat up, 1995 Chevy G30 van. (You can see all the before pictures here.) Our tiny cars were not cutting it for all the traveling, camping and haulin’ junk that we do.
We found and purchased our van on Craigslist for $850 buck-a-roos. We’ve been very budget-conscious getting her roadworthy and we tried to only spent money on necessary things.
We had the transmission rebuilt for $900, a new rear end for $1,000 and a new windshield installed for about $200– all by professionals. George saved us a lot of money by fixing things like the water pump, alternator and distributor by himself. Since he did all the labor, the parts only cost around $200. This is more than we paid for the van, I know, but it’s a one ton van and can really haul. A new one ton Chevy van starts at $30,000. And with our new additions, we felt comfortable selling George’s old car and making it his daily driver.
In terms of aesthetics, we did buy untreated fence boards to paint and put up on the walls and added this rooftop van vent* to keep it nice and cool when camping on summer nights. We also used a lot of leftover wood and paint from other projects. I think our cosmetic costs were only a few hundred bucks!
We ultimately decided to keep the van’s outside a little crusty. We definitely considered a new paint job and fixing the dent in the bumper. We might still do that someday, but for now, we’re thinking the more inconspicuous this van is the better– especially since we want to use it for stealth camping!
This process went a lot slower than any project we’ve ever done before. We really took our time and worked on it when we had the chance. One weekend we pulled up the carpet, then we put in the floor, then we put in the bed and the storage unit. We only put up the (classy!) velvet paintings last weekend.
Overall, I’m really proud of how much patience I had with this project. I am not usually a patient person, but we really took our time and created something that fits our needs. I’m also super proud of how well it turned out.
Next week I’ll have some more glamour shots and talk more about the design inspiration.
Let me know what you think of our #nirVANa in the comments!