Decisions, decisions – a guide to campervan interior design

I am starting to have concerns about my project manager’s taste in interior design. We’d always planned to keep the colours inside the campervan quite calm and neutral – white tops, chocolate seating and splashes of coffee or beige if we were feeling adventurous. But Paul has recently expressed an interest in a fairly alarming combination of sunbeam yellow and peacock blue. Clearly the campervan’s not large enough to accommodate nicely spaced feature walls, so I fear this could be a little overbearing. Maybe a bit too cheerful. I have to say though, choosing exact colours is quite a tricky business. The ceiling and very tops of the interior sides are covered in an attractive grey carpet, which has to stay, but we still need to choose colours for the bathroom wall, cabinets, work surfaces and floors.

Last weekend, we spent a morning trawling round a few kitchen showrooms to get an idea of different materials and colours. I LOVE kitchen showrooms and before I knew it, I heard myself explaining to the sales lady (or ‘hostess’ as she was called) that we were renovating our kitchen and how much are these lovely white stone cabinets with self-closing drawers and glass mosaic tiles? That was all very nice, but it made it a bit awkward to then try and steer round to the racks of cheap laminate samples to get a more realistic idea for the campervan. Sadly our budget and weight limit in the van preclude anything with granite or stone in the name, but at least there’s a massive choice available. We finally left two hours later with a handbag full of samples and a $20,000 quote for our own kitchen (maybe next year).

Back home, we narrowed it down to these, and spent the afternoon lining them up inside the van:

So it’s a fairly neutral and calming colour palette (like we’d planned), but maybe just a little… dull. We both like the idea of including something a bit bolder and brighter, something that will make you smile when you open the door. After all, that’s the whole idea of taking off in a campervan. So Paul’s started experimenting with different colours using Google’s SketchUp (a great program where we’ve got a 3-D model of the campervan), and it does seem to suit something more exuberant. Perhaps not quite as exuberant as peacocks and sunbeams, but some glossy red or (the ubiquitous) aqua could make an appearance. So the jury’s still out on that one for the moment. We have, however, chosen the floor – update in the next post!

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Online ordering is overrated

This morning we drove to a few suppliers of all things campervan whose warehouses are scattered around Brisbane. They pretty much stocked everything we’ll need throughout the project from solar-powered ceiling fans and whistling tin kettles to the more essential batteries, switches and sockets. There was so much choice we ended up leaving with nothing, but at least we know the range they have available now, and can use their catalogue to make a full list for each stage of the build.  And having seen some of the prices ($850 for a toilet, $1200 for a pint-sized fridge and $3000 for an awning!) there may be many stages all quite far apart unless we can negotiate some sort of bulk discount. They even charged $2 for their catalogue!

The warehouses are mostly in industrial parks a fair distance away, so it was great when one of the guys there said we could order online (despite being perfect mail order businesses, some of these places don’t even have a website). ‘Of course, the prices aren’t displayed online though’, he continued. Ah. That might make ordering a bit tricky then. Apparently, this is just a different version of online ordering, where you decide what you want from the website, and then go to the shop to place an order. I’m not sure it’s going to catch on.

12 grey bus seats sitting in a garage

In its previous incarnation, the campervan was used by ABC Childcare in Western Australia to ferry children around, and as such, was fitted out as a 14-seater mini-bus. When we bought the van, the owner kindly removed all 12 rear seats, and they’d been cluttering up our garage ever since. Originally destined for the tip, they were actually in near-perfect condition so at the last minute I thought I’d try them on eBay. I couldn’t imagine there’d be an active market for 12 old bus seats (retro dining furniture anyone?) but to our surprise, they attracted a lot of interest almost immediately. We had 8 people watching on the first day, and for an eBay virgin, this was most exciting. Admittedly, most people only wanted to buy one, but I thought there would be even less demand for 11 old bus seats so we held out, and pretty soon someone bought all 12 for $350!

The couple that came to pick them up had also converted a campervan and were about to drive it to Perth (they had to be there in 8 days – eek!) when their son decided to join them, so they needed to fit an extra seat for him.  They were planning to relist the other 11 seats when they returned, but at least they’re now out of our garage, and we can put the money we made towards our gourmet kitchen (i.e. the grill).

This was how the van originally looked with all its rear passenger seats (carsales.com.au)

 

Waiting for a home