Continuing the van life series with one of the most fun parts: the furniture & decorations. Finally a topic in which I can be of help. This was definitely my favorite phase of the build as you could really see things coming together. In this blogpost you will read all about the decisions we had to make and you can see pictures of how it turned out! We did all sorts of Ikea hacks, who knew Ikea would be so good for van life?
We decided on having a fixed bed in our van, so our bed makes up half of the van’s space. As we will mainly be using our van for sleeping, being able to sleep comfortable was our number one priority. Our bed is positioned about halfway in the height of our van, so underneath we have lots of storage. We bought a slatted base from Ikea that Hielke adjusted to make it fit our van as our bed could only be 1.90m wide. Hielke did make “cut outs” in our insulation, as he is 1.86m, so this gives him a few extra centimeters. The slatted base can be lifted on one side, so we can use our bed as a lounge chair. Our matras is made of high resistance foam, which is a comfortable material and could also be cut to fit our van. As our van is painted white and only has some wooden accents, I decided on bedding with yellow accents to add some color to our van.
Hugo’s crib is designed by Hielke and is completely custom. Hielke mainly re-used materials that we already had. He used the rack that was attached to the van when it was used for cargo as a slatted base. The bars are bamboo sticks that came from our garden. The crib is positioned at the foot of our bed, we have just enough space to move our feet. You can open and lock the front of the bed. This was necessary, so we didn’t need a lot of space to put Hugo into his crib. The crib is attached to two hooks that are drilled into the construction of the van. Let’s hope it stays up like that 😉
Hielke did another Ikea hack to create our kitchen. Fitting the kitchen into our van was one of the hardest things he did and took a lot of time. The walls of our van are not straight and neither is the part behind the chairs, which added a lot of difficulty to fitting the kitchen in the van. I cannot imagine how long building a custom kitchen must take. I decided on having a wooden, farm-style kitchen. We used the standard Method cabinets and finished them with Hittarp doors. For now we will keep these doors white, but as they are real wood we could paint them in a different color in the future. Hielke added latches to the doors, so they will stay closed while driving.
To keep down the weight of the van we did not buy a wooden countertop, but Hielke installed a laminate one, the Ekbacken from Ikea. I was super surprised about how real it looked and I love that it is easy to keep clean and maintain. To add some pizazz to the van I chose kitchen knobs with a touch of marble from Zara Home. Our sink is from Praxis and is made of black composite. We chose a large sink, so we wouldn’t continuously spill water while doing the dishes and the material is pretty lightweight. We matched the sink to the black faucet that we already bought. Our faucet has an extension so we can also use it outside, to fill Hugo’s bath or rinse our feet. Our refrigerator is by Dometic, which apparently is one of the best brands for van refrigerators. On top of our fridge we have magnets that we can fill with spices. Our cooktop is one of the most expensive things in our van, it uses diesel and it can also be used as a heater for our van. We tried to limit the amount of things that we bought from Amazon, but unfortunately sometime we couldn’t escape it as they just had the biggest selection. I chose metro tile style stickers to create our backsplash. I didn’t like them when I received them in the mail but they actually work in our van.
My sister gifted us foam dividers so we could store our plates and mugs safely. We prefer to eat from ceramics and we prefer eating from plastics (even though it’s more practical). Our percolator is from Dille & Kamille and was a Christmas present from my employer. We also bought a super fun tea kettle from Edenberg.
This is another area that is completely custom for our van. We have one seat that is fixed and one seat that can be folded up. Underneath the fixed seat there is some storage space. We needed one seat to be able to be folded to save some space and to be able to move around in the kitchen while cooking. Hielke’s mother adjusted some Ikea cushions to fit on top of our seats. Our table can be drawn out from under the bed and is supported by two conductors.
One of the first things Hielke did is create a little closet space for my dresses, how sweet! He used the same Hittarp doors as in our kitchen. I bought a little rattan mirror from Maisons du Monde to hang onto the closet. We also have some storage space above our driving seats. Hielke custom-made the cabinet doors above our cabin. We chose webbing as a fun bohemian finishing touch. We keep large items, such as our hammock, lounge chairs and the baby stroller underneath the bed, this area can be reached by opening the back doors.
We even have a toilet in our van, you can also draw it out from under the bed. It is a compost toilet and it offers no privacy, so it will only be used for emergencies. The toilet is situated on castors, so you can roll it around but it won’t move when you sit on it.
We have several kind of curtains in our van. We didn’t want a classic insect screen, as it somewhat will decrease the bohemian vibe of our van. Hielke’s mother therefore adjusted the standard lace curtains of Ikea. These also look nice when we don’t have to use them and this was a super cheap option. For the front of our van we a standard window isolation set, as the look and feel of this is less important than the practicality. For the back of our van we did want our van to feel homy, so we did a custom window set made out of cork. Cork isolates and darkens really well, so this was the perfect solution, while matching our aesthetic.
I wanted to keep the theme going from inside to outside. I bought the ethnic rug from Xenos which fits perfectly underneath our marquise. The marquise is a second-hand Thule from Marktplaats. I surprisingly won two beach chairs by Boho Ibiza in an online giveaway, which I absolutely adore! The chairs can be used for the beach, but are also just straight enough to use them for eating outside. Hielke transformed an old table of mine so we can use it as our outside table.
We received a super cute swing from our friends as a baby-present and Hugo can swing from the kitchen to outdoors with it, he absolutely loves it! The swing can be attached to a hook in our ceiling, we can also use this hook for a hammock.
We didn’t change anything about the drivers cabin. We already had three seats, which is perfect with Hugo. Beneath the seats we have lots and lots of storage, where we keep my tripod and the window insulation amongst others.