So, I think it’s about time I introduced you to the third love of my life (after my little boy George and my husband Danny). Amber is our self built campervan, that has been a part of our family for just over 3 years now! She came to us as a shell; a former NHS patient transport minibus, stripped of her seats, but still full of character and spirit.
What’s in a name?
I decided that we should call her Amber Van Campulance. That’s an anagram of Ambulance and Campervan (and not a very imaginative one at that!) or Amber, for short. We took her out for a trip before we started converting her, to get an idea of the needs and wants for the conversion. We chucked a double airbed in the back, screwed an old 1950s kitchen table to the floor and set off… in December!!
Needs versus Wants
It wasn’t difficult to come up with a list of what we needed! Having no DIY experience to speak of, or that we’d want to own up to, we set about planning the layout of the van. First on paper, then built from cardboard to make it easier to visualise, we finally began building for real.
We scrounged for free furniture to break up and make the bed. We used bought two by two timber and a wardrobe found on Freecycle for the bed and false floor. The kitchen and seat was made from a friend’s kitchen that was being replaced. We were so happy that the false floor at the front of the living area was boarded using some of the wardrobe. If you look closely, you’ll see the sides of the floor are faced with drawer fronts!
At the end of “phase one”, we’d built the bed, kitchen and seating area. We’d basically built the required features of a campervan conversion to get the class of vehicle changed on the V5. We’d surprised ourselves with what we were capable of, and had cunningly hidden probably a tonne of screws holding the whole lot together!
After Phase 1 Add-ons
Since the first phase of the conversion, we’ve added a fridge and shelving for extra storage. We’ve had a baby and ripped the storage shelves out and built a cot with overhead shelving. No doubt there’s probably more changes on the horizon! Rather than go through the whole conversion now, I’m going to write separate posts on the different parts of the conversion. That way, I can go into more detail about each part.
For now, I’ll leave you with one last gallery of images, showing the shell, first phase conversion, storage & fridge add-on and how the van is currently. It’s been quite a journey (no pun intended) and we’ve surprised ourselves with what we have built.