Another day, another trip to Bunnings

This morning, like most Sunday mornings this year, started with a trip to Bunnings. Indeed, Paul even leapt out of bed saying, ‘Got to get up, got to get to Bunnings’, with the sort of enthusiasm usually reserved for those days when you’re hoping to find an overflowing stocking at the end of your bed.

For people reading this blog overseas, Bunnings Warehouse is a chain of massive DIY stores. They have a sausage sizzle at the entrance and a cheery lady in an apron who welcomes you in. Paul visits at least twice every weekend. And not just because he doesn’t get fed at home (he doesn’t always have a sausage) but because he usually gets sidetracked and forgets something, so has to go back.

Although I probably don’t approach a trip to Bunnings with quite the same vigour, I still tag along every couple of weeks. Last time I spent the time wandering the length of the aisles trying to work out how many products they must stock. A serendipitous visit to their website later revealed the answer – it’s over 45,000. So there you go – it’s very big, and if you’re into DIY, it sells absolutely everything you could want. I am not into DIY, and still usually end up with an armful of treasures I didn’t realise I needed.  The trouble is, Bunnings uses the same technique as Ikea and places all the intriguing and bargainous bits at the end of the aisles. You know this is a cunning marketing trick. You know that you don’t really need another miniature torch for your handbag or any more self-cleaning eco mops, but somehow, they find their way into your basket.

Anyway, there was a point to this post, which is that so far, we have bought almost everything we’ve needed for the campervan from Bunnings. Along with three torches, this has included:

All the cabinets

Laminate flooring and insulation

Bathroom sink

Waste water and fresh water tanks

Panels for bathroom walls (sold as pantry doors)

3,000 jigsaw blades

Initially we thought we’d have to get most bits from independent suppliers and caravan stockists, but they’ve been much cheaper and more readily available from Bunnings. We’ll still have to buy the specific electrical parts from a camping store, as well as things like the water heater, but if anyone is approaching a similar project, try a DIY store first before spending a fortune at other places.

Having spent the morning extolling the virtues of Bunnings, I think I will email them now in case they would like to sponsor my site.

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Plan of attack – 11 simple steps to achieving your diy campervan

Right. These are the 11 simple steps needed to transform our maxi-taxi into a campervan so our 4-wheel adventures can take off in relative comfort. And style, obviously.

    1. Buy and fit laminate flooring. Involves removing upright bolts in floor that were used to secure the seats (and which I keep treading on), fitting chipboard, laying the underfloor insulation and then fitting the laminate on top. Having spent only 20 minutes in sauna-like conditions measuring up the van yesterday, we’re going to skip the underfloor heating at this stage.
    2. Order and fit toilet. The size of the toilet will dictate where the three surrounding ‘modesty’ screens will sit, and how much space we’ll then have for the kitchen. [note: The bathroom will also be accessible from the rear door of the van, which means we can empty the waste water from the sink and remove the cassette from the toilet. This also means we can get a bit of a through draft into the van when the door’s open. There will be a screen next to the toilet so it’s not visible through the back door, but fitting a wall next to the basin would reduce the bathroom width by about 10cm so we’ll just have a blind on the glass instead. One that’s dust-repellent, anti-static and easy to wash, of course. If such a thing exists?? (sorry, in-jokes are probably considered very poor blogging etiquette).]
    3. Order and fit fridge, freshwater tank (which will go under the kitchen sink) and waste tank (which will sit under the bathroom sink – we can then open the back door of the van and empty water from the valve at the back of the wastewater tank, just as we can remove the cassette from the toilet on the opposite side of the bathroom). Also order and fit smaller (2.5kg) gas bottle and casing, which will sit underneath the seating next to the stove.  Fitting the big ticket items early on lets us see how much space we have for everything else.
    4. Joinery – build cupboards / drawers which will go underneath the seating and underneath the stove and sink in the kitchen. And the sink in the bathroom. Also need to fit extra panel to the side of the seating which will slide out to form the bed, fit laminate onto wall between kitchen and bathroom, and incorporate the door.
    5. Order and fit water heater and water pump. Ideally these would go on the left-hand side of the van underneath the sink but that side is already heavy with both water tanks, so to distribute the weight a bit, we’ll put the water heater on the right-hand side under the stove, and run a pipe underneath the flooring to the freshwater tank.
    6. Finish bathroom – install basin, do tiling around toilet and basin.
    7. Figure out wiring and locate batteries – not sure if we’ll need one or two at this stage – but they’ll sit alongside the battery charger underneath the seating behind the driver’s seat.
    8. Electrics – fit and connect lighting, connect water heater, move speakers (currently providing piped music to the bathroom) to the middle of the van and install 3 ceiling vents.
    9. Fit work surfaces in kitchen, install sink and stove and connect to gas (will need help with this bit).
    10. Upholstery – fit seating in living area.
    11. Interior design – fit blinds and/or gingham curtains, commission surfer-chic artwork, casually scatter cushions around seating.

 

We’ve chosen the hottest day of the year so far to start on the flooring…

Paul resorting to desperate measures to find some shade

 

The hardboard layer and insulation went down well, and we’re ready to lay the laminate flooring next weekend. Again, let’s make it clear when I say ‘we’ – Paul is doing all the physical stuff here. I have joined in the shopping excursions, but otherwise have been taking photos from the sidelines and occasionally offering helpful advice at critical moments. Which is also an important role; we should all play to our strengths.