Campervan layout – a feat of architectural design?

Before we started work on the van and it was still an empty shell, it was hard to imagine we’d be able to squeeze in a kitchen, bathroom and living room without it all looking very cramped. Yet somehow, now the furniture is in and the walls are up, it’s like our little minibus was always destined to be a cosy campervan. Everything just fits. It is compact and bijou! Clearly all those Thursday nights we’ve spent watching seven series of Grand Designs have been worth it – Kevin would be proud! (Actually, Kevin would say it could have been even better if we’d employed an architect, but never mind.)

The internal structure is quite defined now, and the walls have gone up between the bathroom and kitchen. Paul bought these as pantry doors and used a cardboard template to cut them to shape around the side of the van. The bathroom door will be a bit trickier. Ideally we’d want a rectangular panel that slides across the gap, but the position of the wheel arches on either side means it could only open half way. So the options are to fit a double door that opens into the bathroom, or hang a few strings of beads. That one’s still on the drawing board.


The toilet and bathroom basin are now bolted down, and the back of the toilet is fixed to another panel to facilitate the rear-entry swivel benefits, as shown below.

The seating is coming along, and the next stage will be to construct and fit an extra horizontal panel that will hinge out to form a bed. This has been a more contentious issue than you would probably imagine, and the subject of many robust discussions between Paul and his various campervan advisers. Whichever method he chooses, it’ll be one of the next jobs.

A lot of the work coming up will be less visible and includes the wiring and electrics. My sewing machine has now arrived and I may attempt another place mat before launching into the cushions. Thank you to everyone who has expressed a preference for a particular fabric. Surprisingly, almost everyone chose the same one.

(I suspect a conspiracy.)

6 thoughts on “Campervan layout – a feat of architectural design?

  1. Hi! First off I love the blog. Great idea to share your knowledge with the world. I learned a lot from reading it. I love the van. Great job on the decor!

    I am actually on a mission to do my own conversion, but I’m just doing initial research. I was wondering though, if you could explain how you attached all these additions to the van?

    I remember in one post there was some bolting to the sides, but, for example, if you wanted to install a chair or seat, how would one go about doing this?

    I know the technical stuff was more weighted on your husband, but I’m wondering if maybe he could help out with some information.

    Thanks so much, and great job!

    • Thanks for your comment – I’m glad you like the blog!

      In terms of attaching the different parts, it’s literally a case of bolting or screwing them to the van’s shell. So for all our cabinets, Paul fixed long metal screws through the base of the cabinet into the floor, and also through the back of the cabinet into the framework of the van. The fridge came with a metal surround so he used the same sort of screws to fix the surround to the edge of the cabinet. The toilet was a bit trickier, we couldn’t get long enough screws to drill far enough into the floor, and the limited space in the base of the toilet made it awkward to get the drill in to screw down. So Paul went underneath the van and used long bolts to drill up through the base of the van and through the floor, and secured the bolts with nuts in the base of the toilet.

      You mentioned putting an extra seat in, do you mean an additional passenger seat with seatbelt? You might already know this but depending which country you’re in, you might have to get the van ‘replated’ at your local driving authority. Our van was originally plated for 14 passengers as a minibus, but when we took the 12 rear seats out we had to have it replated as a two-seater before it was legal to drive. If we wanted to install another passenger seat, it would have to be replated again as a 3-seater.

      Good luck with your conversion, let us know if you have any other questions!

  2. Hola! I’ve been following your website for a
    long time now and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout
    out from Humble Tx! Just wanted to mention keep up the
    great job!

  3. Pingback: Au revoir, madame campervan | The Campervan Converts

  4. I stumbled on your blog by chance and i am grateful i did. You did an amazing job, the best i should say considering the space you had to work around…would it be possible to get a more detailed plan/layout of the design? I’d really like to copy it and attempt the great lap with.

    Thanks and good job guys!

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