Build Update: Power, cabinets, and a ceiling!

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It’s been about eleven weeks since we gutted Vaniel to begin the final van build. Well, Vaniel is finally at the point where most of the progress we make is very visible. We’ve got ceilings, lights, paint jobs, and cabinets galore. Oh, it’s getting fun now. 

Ceiling install: It’s official. I love our ceiling. Good thing too, after all those hours I spent staining them, and myself. It’s incredible how much a ceiling (with working lights! and a fan!) can change the feel of a room, *cough*, home. 🙂 promaster van build ceiling promaster van build fan lights

Extended step/shoe storage: It’s a good thing Colin can execute his plans better than I can imagine them. When hearing Colin’s plans for this “step and shoe storage”, I was skeptical. It sounded bulky; it sounded like a waste of space. Well, I was wrong. I LOVE it. We don’t lose any floor space because we can walk on it and we can store nearly all our shoes beneath it. It also allows us to discreetly route our heat to the living area. Adding the vinyl flooring to the step makes a huge difference as well. This one’s all Colin and it’s fantastic.Dodge promaster build

Upper cabinets: What’s a home if not somewhere to put stuff?? Now that we have the upper cabinets stained, painted, fitted, and installed, we have storage! And somewhere to knock our head… 

promaster van build update

Lower cabinets and fridge install: Van build tip: The best way to stop hitting your head on newly installed upper cabinets is to install lower cabinets. Write that down. As with the upper cabinets, the lower cabinets are hand-built piece by piece. There are no templates when you build cabinets for a van that isn’t square. Hell, it doesn’t even measure the same depth across an 83″ span. That’s fun. So. You build it by hand. Or more accurately, Colin builds it by hand. It takes time and this is where we’re at now: fridge permanently installed and lower cabinets coming along. 

Electrical:

First, Colin figured out the wiring (above). Then, he:

  • Hooked up the lights
  • Connected batteries to alternator and solar panels
  • Hooked up the fridge
  • Soldered connections
  • Hooked up the solar panel controller
  • Permanently mounted the battery box (which weighs 160 lbs so you want that shit SECURE). 

So, that’s where we’re at! Chicago weather just forced a much-needed rest day upon us but we’ll be back to the van build this weekend. 🙂

Author: Lisa

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.

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