15 weeks ago, we rolled into Bolingbrook, IL all bright eyed and bushy tailed. We had just ended our first two months traveling in a make-shift home and we were excited to start BUILDING our “real” home. And so it began… We ripped out the factory floor, added insulation and sound deadening, made a new floor, cut three major holes in the van, put up walls, hand-built numerous cabinets, spent hours upon hours planning and painting, and now, well, we have a kickass home. I’m sure as we live in Vaniel day after day, we’ll find tweaks we want to make, but as far as any big construction goes, we’re DONE! So, let’s get to the final updates:
Kitchen countertop: As with so many things, once one piece falls into place, the rest can follow. This was certainly the case with our butcher block. Patiently it sat, waiting to be permanently installed for many days while we sorted out our stove top and its proper propane connections. After various trips to our local hardware stores, the puzzle was finally solved and we eagerly mounted our butcher block. After that, we could finally do the following:
Backsplash: We mounted our super classy do-it-yourself peel and stick backsplash. The back burner on our stove top was closer to the plastic backsplash than we felt comfortable with so Colin shifted the backsplash to the right and cut a stainless steel backing to frame up against the stove top.
Lower cabinets: Cabinet faces, drawers, and our purty IKEA sink were finally put into their proper places. This was the moment I looked at our home and just thought BEAUTIFUL. Home & Garden here we come!
Corner molding: Pictures below because my brain is fried and can’t think of a better way to describe this without saying “the corner thingy between the kitchen and where the bed will be”. Look beneath the upper cabinets at the corner by the bedframe.
Bench: To match our upper cabinets, we decided to accent the stained bench seats with blue edging. It’s a tedious, unforgiving job but thanks to some quality painter’s tape that somebody gave me on Valentine’s Day, the job was much less stressful this time around. 😉
Plumbing: Who knew turning a faucet on could be so nerve wracking? Well, we hooked up the grey water tank under the sink, filled up the 25 gallon fresh water tank, triple checked all of the connections, checked them again, and turned on the faucet. Cold (and filtered) water: check. “Hot” (and unfiltered) water: check. No leaks. Win!
Garage lights: Colin hooked up two additional LED lights to the underside of our aluminum loading ramps that support the bed. Now, if it’s dark out and we need something from the garage (under the bed), we’ll have light to see!
Bed: Our bed is exactly the same as it was in July when we took our first road trip. And yet, it feels so different in Vaniel now… With all the wheel wells permanently mounted, the bed was finally reunited with its aluminum loading ramps and bolted down.
Vinyl additions: What’s a home without some decorations? I had a lot of fun picking these out. 🙂
Curtains: I’m going to be honest with you, I don’t have a picture of these (yet). Suffice it to say, we have a row of curtains dividing the cab from the rest of the van. They’re blackout for privacy. They’re great.
Wine box: My fun little project (with assistance from Colin when needed). Cut the wood, made a box (not as easy as it sounds) and stained and painted it to match the rest of the van. 🙂
Wash: Vaniel’s first bath!! Wow, was it overdue. He looked sexy AF when we were done with him.
Party: Can’t go away without a going away party! I don’t make the rules. I just follow them.
What’s next? ADVENTURE! We moved in all of our stuff yesterday. While I’m of the firm belief that we need a few organizers here and there, Colin is fine with stuffing everything into a cabinet all wild and fancy free. But me? Nuh uh. I’m going shopping. Other than that, and needing some camper friendly dishes, we are good to go!
We hit the road as soon as I hit “publish” on this blog post. We’re headed to Nashville tonight and then we’re off to the Carolina’s for a few weeks. We’re sooo excited to take some much needed rest & relaxation time, crush a couple of books, see some beautiful sites, hike, climb, and just enjoy our new home and all the places it can take us. 🙂 Stay tuned!
Over one year in van life and loving it. Hiker, rock climber, novice mountain biker, and professional napper. Official “documenter” of our time with Vaniel. Favorite podcast: Stuff You Should Know.