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  • Writer's pictureHannah Bywater

Building My Home on Wheels

I think the average person would do a little bit of research or something before starting a project such as turning a van into a home. That is not me. After I bought my van I just started to rip the seats out. I had no idea what I was going and just went with the flow. Am I surprised? No. Are you surprised? I hope not.

Welcome to the beginning of the best part of my life to date. I am so incredibly grateful for all of the people that were involved with helping me to make this happen. Sam, Will and Harry were so supportive and helpful when it came to making sure I was buying a reliable vehicle. Iola and Ron, the owners of the farm I was living at over the course of this entire project were also so supportive and excited for this next chapter of my journey. Ron offered for me to use his workshop and taught me how to use some tools in order to build up my van. I honestly would not have been able to do it without his help.

So let me start from the beginning. I did not waste a minute when it came to uninstalling the seats. I just went for it. After the van was empty I was a bit in shock. It looked weird. It was just an empty cube and I was supposed to make something out of it. I had never built anything without supervision or direction. I had a bit of a moment where I asked “what have a gotten myself into?” Sam as he does, came over at just the right time. He had just gone through this entire process building his own van and had lots of insight for me. He asked me a few questions that got my gears turning. Do you want to insulate it? How big of a bed do you want to build? Where will you store your things? Will you build in any amenities? Etc. I thought about it and I decided I just wanted something basic. All of a sudden I became a handy woman, picked up a measuring tape and started taking measurements. I went to Home Depot and filled a cart of 2x4’s, screws and wooden rods. Ron gave me access to all the tools in his workshop which made my job super easy and saved me a lot of money from having to buy a toolkit.

I went back to the farm and started cutting wood and screw pieces together. Everyday for a week I would spend a few hours picking away at my project. I spent the rest of the day hanging out with my friends, swimming and going on little adventures. Once I finished the building part, which was really just the bedframe, I went shopping to fill in the gaps. I bought a foamy to use as a mattress, storage containers for under my bed, a propane stove and other cooking essentials and some other little baskets. Now that all of the practical things were in my van I could start to decorate it to make it feel like a home. I went to Fabricland and bought some fabric to add to the ceiling and to make curtains. At the farm, Iola had a sewing machine she let me borrow to tailor everything up. Once I had everything set in place I still felt there was something missing. I needed some sort of nightstand or small dresser or something. I took a measurement of the space and I went to Value Village to have a poke around. It just so happens that I found exactly what I was looking for, that matched the exact measurements. I found this cute little desk along with a few other impractical trinkets I didn’t need but bought anyway. I placed it in the open space, drilled to fix it in place and my van was finished. I successful built my home on wheels. May the adventures begin!


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