Big Blue version 3.0


In 2011 I rebuilt the interior of the van from it’s original configuration. Since then I have done minor tweaks, but have only threatened to complete another rebuild. I have been living in the van full-time since then, making it much more difficult to do any sort of rebuild. This year, I finally stopped threatening and got-‘er-done!

While I was in Utah last month I relocated one of the counter/cabinets from the passenger side of the van to the driver’s side, giving me one long counter space on the driver’s side of the van. I then slapped together an overhead shelf above that to house the microwave and the dry-foods I regular, clearing up both counter-top and pantry storage space. The cabinets got some much needed new panel board and cabinet doors to freshen up the old particle board which was slowly breaking apart.

This past week I completely removing the entire couch/bed and rear storage systems. This accounted for the rear five feet of the floor space; space I planned to use very differently…

Due to my height (6 foot) and the van’s 5′ 11″ width, the bed had always been uncomfortable to sleep on unless I slept diagonally. This forced me to keep the bed opened to it’s fullest width of 43″ (a waste of space) and even then I still touched each wall of the van when sleeping (they can be cold in the winters). The plan was to move the bed to one side and run it the length instead of the width of the van. This allows me to have a longer bed which was priority #1 in this rebuild.

Continuing along the same lines as the counters, I built in a small desk which is easily accessible from either sitting on the couch/bed or adding in a folding chair. On the plus side was the perfect placement of the window with the desktop, allowing me a view while I work.

Beside that is the addition of a closet – also a priority in this build – to hold my clothing, blankets, and porta-potty. This was a result of the more frequent ‘tours’ I was giving of the van interior due to the increase in socializing this past year. It’s never fun having your undies on display to complete strangers. The final few inches of space was set aside for a tiny luxury that I was in dire need of; space to hang my jackets and button-up shirts.

The end results of the rebuild was having my kitchen, pantry, desk, and closet running along the length of the driver’s side of the van. The passenger side has only the bed/couch system with cargo storage underneath for the batteries, tools, and other heavy items.

The old...

The old…

IMG_1945

… the new!

I have already been living with this new configuration for the past few nights and I must say I am sleeping a lot better. Having a proper work-area and closet have been nice as well. I am still working on minor finishing touches (trim, stain, removable table, etc) but the build is 95% complete. I have to wait for clear/warm weather to do more staining as I do not wish to kill Moose who stays in the van while I am out at the new job. Windows will need to be open to prevent such a tragedy.

Floorplan evolution:

Version 1.0 (1989-2010) - 2 bench seats in the rear folded out to a large bed. A massive waste of space...

Version 1.0 (1989-2010) – 2 bench seats in the rear folded out to a large bed. A massive waste of space…

2011 config

Version 2 (2011) – Pivoted bed to run across rear of van, freeing up lots of possibilities

2012 config2

Version 2.5 (2012-2013) – Moved bed forward to have rear storage and added overhead cubbies.

 

Version 3.0 (2014) - Moved all cabinets to driver's side of van, added desk and closet. Moved bed to passenger-side-rear and lengthened it. As a bonus I know have a rear escape door that was previously blocked.

Version 3.0 (2014) – Moved all cabinets to driver’s side of van, added desk and closet. Moved bed to passenger-side-rear and lengthened it. As a bonus I know have a rear escape door that was previously blocked.

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4 Responses

  1. Aluminarium says:

    Looks great! Looking forward to another tour. ;)

  2. jonthebru says:

    Very nice personalization of your home on wheels. I was wondering, when you bought Big Blue was it all decked out in a setup or had someone already changed the interior?

    • Van-Tramp says:

      The conversion was done professionally by a company in Pennsylvania, I assume back in 1989-90. It did have two counter-tops (on either side), a pantry behind the driver’s seat, and two bench seats and a table in the rear, enough space for 6 people to dine. The table folded down to form a large 5′ X 6′ bed in the rear. The rear was a massive waste of space so it was my rebuild for v2.0

      I will post the old floor plans above…

  3. jonthebru says:

    Very nice work you’ve done. Aren’t CAD programs fantastic?

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