This Family of 6 Lives in a 60-Square-Foot Converted Van They Designed Themselves
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Name: Mika, Ryen, Noah, Atlas, Briséis, Tallulah
Location: Wherever we park it, but home base is Germany!
Size: 60 square feet
Type of Home: Tiny cottage on wheels
Years lived in: 3 months, owned
My husband and I love to adventure and we really wanted to curate a unique life for ourselves and especially for our children. One that was “outside of the box,” filled with culture and exploring as much of this beautiful world as possible. We knew that building a tiny home on wheels was exactly what we needed to help make our dreams a reality! Initially, we had planned to renovate an RV, but after considering our lifestyle we felt a van fit our needs best. Having the freedom to get up and go whenever we want with little to no preparation, plus keeping the van stealthy and compact were important factors for us. On the other hand, we knew that having such a small space would require a lot of innovation but we weren’t going to let that deter us! We spent many nights brainstorming and designing our layout to ensure that everything was exactly as we had envisioned and we could not be more happy with how it all came together.
We love the closeness being in our van provides, physically, emotionally, and mentally. It gives our family time to connect and just be present, especially for my husband and I. Being able to go off of the beaten path in search of things to explore or sights to see is a favorite of ours. We’ve also enjoyed the many opportunities our van has opened up for us to meet so many new and wonderful people. It hasn’t been long since we finished our tiny cottage on wheels, but it’s already one of the best decisions we’ve made for our family! Many may think we’re crazy considering we are a family of six in such a small space… but it hardly feels small when you have the ability to live anywhere in the country!
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: I love many different styles but the one I gravitate to most is definitely whimsical/earthy minimalist boho.
Inspiration: Old world European cottages were my ultimate inspiration.
Favorite Element: I would have to say it’s the element of surprise! I love that it appears to be a typical van on the outside but open up the doors and you’re welcomed by a cozy cottage.
Biggest Challenge: Building symmetrical structures in a van with uneven/concave walls on an unlevel foundation was definitely one of the biggest challenges! We had to constantly be mindful of this and measure off of the floor or other items within the van instead of utilize a level! I’ll also add that working while pregnant and simultaneously keeping three little kids occupied made things even more adventurous. We took turns entertaining them and did our best to let them help us whenever there was something they could work on!
Proudest DIY: I have three! The first two are the herringbone brick wall and the raw edge countertops that I did. The third is our elevator bed that my husband, Ryen, designed—he really broke out his engineering talents when creating it!
Biggest Indulgence: Our solar power and battery set up was our biggest expense. We decided to not take any shortcuts with our electrical system so it ended up costing quite a bit, but having reliable power has made it worth it! I’d also add our mini theater to this list because it wasn’t a necessity but it was a fun addition.
Is there something unique about your home or the way you use it? We had to get creative with the space in order to comfortably fit my family of six! One of the biggest areas of innovation was figuring out a way to safely and properly secure all four car seats while driving while keeping the space usable for sleeping/eating.
Please describe any helpful, inspiring, brilliant, or just plain useful small space maximizing and/or organizing tips you have: We utilize capsule wardrobes and compression cubes for our clothes, which helps keep things organized and compact! We also love microfiber towels because they fold up to 1/6 the size of a typical towel. Ultimately, being mindful and intentional of your needs vs wants is crucial when it comes to living in a tiny space.
What are your favorite products you have bought for your home and why? Our bumble bee cabinet knobs! I love the fun and eclectic detail it adds to our space.
Finally, what’s your absolute best home secret or decorating advice? When designing a room I always recommend choosing a “centerpiece” that envelops the overall aesthetic you are aspiring for and build off of it. For our van, the herringbone brick was our “foundation” and from it I drew my inspiration for other elements and textures for our space!
PAINT & COLORS
- Cabinets and walls — Swiss Coffee in satin by Benjamin Moore
- Kitchen Wall — Onyx in Klat by Benjamin Moore
- Cushion Covers — Amazon
- Foral Velvet Pillow — Target
- Rug — Target
- Macrame Curtain — Amazon
- Bee Knobs — Amazon
- Wood cooking utensils — Amazon
- Gold Hanging Bar — Amazon
- Postcard Art — Rebecca Kinkead
- Kitchen Faucet — Amazon
- Kitchen Sink Gold Strainer — Amazon
- Apron Sink — Home Depot
- Ceiling Lights — Amazon
- Touch Dimmer Switch — Amazon
- Bamboo Drinking Lids — Amazon
- Gold measuring cups — Amazon
- Gold Silverware — Amazon
- Hooks to hang utensils — Amazon
- Copper stainless straws — Amazon
- Brackets for shelf — Amazon
- Dish brush — Amazon
- Hexagon Jars — Amazon
- Mason Jars — Target
- Knife set — Amazon
- Wood magnetic knife strip — Amazon
- Dometic Fridge — Dometic
- Bamboo Bowls — Amazon
- Bamboo Plates — Amazon
- Collapsible food storage — Amazon
- Silicone food bags — Amazon
- Induction cooktop — Amazon
- Cabinet Locks— Amazon
- Foldable Electric Kettle — Amazon
- Hanging Macrame Basket — Amazon
Thanks Mika and family!!