Sunday, October 20, 2013


As promised, here is our - before - during and after of the van's interior renovations. Since we are headed out tomorrow I thought I'd better get this post up so that you all can see how we are traveling this year. 



These first few photos are from last summer when we first brought the van back to our home at the time - Skihist Provincial Park. This photo shows the lace curtains on many of the windows and the rose valour fabric that was used throughout the interior. We were quick to remove both.

A photo showing one half of the dinette, the valour valance and curtains. 

The kitchen - a huge change as you will see below - although for now we have hung onto the handles - $20 for a new set just wasn't happening this year. Also shows the blue carpet throughout - one of the first things to go when we returned to Canada this spring.

Another view of the dinette - which did turn into a large single bed.

All of the fiberglass shell was lined with the rose valour fabric - yikes! It left the van smelling very musty.


This is the area at the back of the van above the back doors. It too was covered in valour. Last year we had a shelf in front of it with four large containers. Because we had to hunch down under the shelf to get at the back - storage area and toilet - it was also one of the first things to go this year. Hence - the trailer.

Just after Derek ripped out the dinette. This picture also shows more exposed fiberglass on the left - how we had the bunk fiberglass last winter - valour removed and fiberglass painted white. We had also taken off the valour from the valance. Because we still needed the valance for the pull out bunk bed it was with us last winter - since we were limiting the bunk bed to the area above the cockpit this year the valance on either side were removed. 

In progress - 1/2 inch rigid insulation being installed over the fiberglass.

In addition to the rigid fiberglass - Derek stuffed batt insulation and spray foam into every nook and cranny - this baby is insulated!

Our new sofa - and double bed - frame. Cassia was happy to help Derek with painting.

Derek laid pieces of the left over rigid insulation on the floor of the sofa - he also wrapped all the exposed wheel wells with this silver bubble wrap.

Due to the change in the dinette seats the water tank had to be turned 90 degrees. That meant that some of the hoses needed changing. The large black hose at the top is actually sump pump hose we found for $8 for a huge length at Canadian Tire. That beat the pool hose that was used before that we found at Home Depot for $8 per foot - since we needed a couple of feet it was a good frugal find.


And her she is! We LOVE it! Love the colours we chose - spice delight, toasted cashew, chocolate swirl and, well - green - I cannot recall the name at the moment.

Looking towards Cassia's bunk - complete with her glow in the dark stars and planets and dinosaurs. It's a little fuller now as you could imagine. You can see her ladder on the left - we are hoping to find the plastic rocks they use on climbing walls. She is quite the climber and quite enjoyed those at the Lea Park playground. We've used hooks for now.

Big changes here - the valance is gone as is an upper cabinet that was over the speaker. Lots of paint and a neat tree sticker. If you can believe - we actually wall papered ALL of the pink rigid insulation after putting two coats of paint on it - we just weren't happy with the look. Yes, hanging wall paper in a small place where nothing lines up is very challenging - but we got it done - and then painted over that. 

And LOOK! Our new sofa - ok - so it still needs a bit of work. Because the city we were closest to only had one shop selling foam we have decided to use our cushions until we can find a place with a good selection and a good price. I had to do a bit of cutting to make it all work but it is ok for now. PLUS! Our new floors - like them! Super great - laminate flooring with rubber backing - not particleboard backing - looks like cork. LOVE LOVE LOVE. The green paint is Mine and Derek's closet - last year we had hanging shelves but pretty much just stuffed our clothes in. Now - we have two shelves each. Nice.

And our new kitchen - Derek built an addition to the lower cabinets - since we don't use the second side door anyway. For our new toaster oven - which yes - is only good when we are plugged in - and a place for Cassia's dvd collection. 

The back area - as shown at the beginning - since there was a ledge there we put in a board that has now created a narrow storage space for all of our toiletries. 

I removed the mirror on the closet door in favour of this one over the toilet. 

Cassia's 'dressers' at the back - we used this system last year also - it works well - especially since she can get her own clothes out.

We are really liking the fact that we decided to cover all of the windows at night with the silver insulation. They are all cut to size and stay up with velcro. Good for privacy and keeping the light and cold out.

As we mentioned in earlier posts - our dvd collection is huge because we spent the summer watching $5 - $10 videos from Walmart. Initially we had most of the them stored in the back shelve and in with Cassia's collection. That is until now - our good friend Val in Saskatchewan was kind enough to gift us with a dvd holder.  

We were happy to be able to reuse the coat hook we purchased in the spring for the cabin - we now have a closet between Cassia's ladder and the driver's seat.

Now - was that a ton of work or what! We are so happy with the result but boy did that project go on and on and on. I doubt Cassia thought that it would ever finish. 

It's great that Derek and I work so good as a team - most of the time. Most jobs we do on our own - we both know which tasks each of us are good at and let each other do them. A few times we had to work together such as building the sofa/bed, the painting and the flooring. 

Here's how the jobs broke down:

Derek:  demolition man, electrician, plumber, auto body technician, taper offer, perfectionist, carpenter, caulking remover, caulking installer perfectionist, wallpaper hanger, screwer (head out of the gutter - he did all the screwing in the van - um - you know with the drill....), spray foam/insulation installer, starry night installer, perfectionist, painter, painter, painter.

Teresa: interior designer, rigid insulation installer, wallpaper fixer, painter, head taper offer, detailed caulking installer, carpenter's assistant, head measurer, not a perfectionist, painter, sticky paper installer, floor installer, dinosaur and tree sticker installer, packer, organizer.

Cassia: painter and entertainer

All for now!



  1. Now you have your own custom built home of wheels and are good to go.
    Enjoy your travels.

  2. Wow!! Major difference! Looks like it could be comfy......making use of every nook and cranny is always a good idea in a small space. Derke the perfectionist----how are you at installing solar panels??

    1. It is very comfy, our good friends in Nampa, ID installed our solar panel along with our 750 watt inverter. We used Sticky Feet (3M tape on metal brackets) to mount the solar panel to our roof and then a little industrial strength silicone around the brackets for extra measure. The solar panel has been through real high winds and has not budged :-) The sell Sticky Feet out of Colorado.

  3. Absolutely LOVE what u did with your little home! What a difference...

  4. Looks great - glad you decided to enjoy it this winter.

  5. Love it, love it, love it! I specially love Cassia'a loft! What great, efficient use of space and what great colors. Almost Mexican! Really, you guys should go into the business.

    1. Ahhhh - thanks Croft! Maybe you'll see it this winter in person - I tried to comment on your blog the other night but I don't think it went through - I wrote that we should meet for some Étouffée!

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Etouffee it is! I found some of those wall climbing rocks on Ebay:

      They are not cheap! I am wondering if you could make some with jigsawing/carving/drilling of a 2X6. Also, here are some DIY instructions for making them from a Bondo - sand mixture using a home made mold. This could be a fun project.

    4. Thanks Croft - I clicked over to see them - you're right now cheap - although the first set - the four would do us - not bad at $13 - but ebay won't work without a credit card or an address...... we were thinking of looking at a Toys R Us. I thought about homemade back this summer which Derek vetoed thinking they would be somewhat easy to find. Plus jigsawing/carving/drilling all sounds a bit scary - did I mentioned that we did most of our renovations with an xacto knife! We're not as handy as we appear! I was thinking paper macha actually which may still come to pass!

  6. Wow! What a difference! It all looks great!

  7. Just found your blog and soooo happy that we did. We are old eough to be youir mom and dad, but love what you have shared. We THINK we willhead to Mexico Monday or Tuesday.....hopefully, will accidentally run in to you! What a lovely family.

    1. Hi Nan! I'm glad you did too - there is a ton of info here so have a look around - let us know if you have any questions. Our email address is under the contact us page at the top. Let us know how your trip into Mexico goes. We are always happy to meet fellow travellers on the road. Good luck and safe travels!


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