This Converted Cargo Van Isn’t Just a Small Home on Wheels… It’s a Music Recording Studio, Too!
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I decided to move into a van when I moved to San Francisco from Indiana primarily to avoid the astronomical rent prices the Bay Area is known for.
Compared to the other alternatives such as boat life or a tiny trailer home, vanlife sticks out to me because of the fact that it doubles as a form of transportation. I live an active lifestyle; I like to mountain bike, surf, climb, snowboard, and just be outside so vanlife seemed like it chose me.
I did the initial layout of my van in Google Sketchup to figure out where the big items would go. All of the other design changes were made during the build itself. I was able to design my van to include all the amenities of a normal home (sink, water, fridge, stove, shower, bed, and closet) and also include space for my surfboards, bikes, snowboard, and music gear.
Every square inch counts! Most of the materials used were construction plywood (sheathing) and lumber. I used the original floor as well since it was already cut the right size, but I insulated underneath it.
Describe your home’s decor style in 5 words: Homey, rugged, nostalgic, endearing, and inspiring.
What’s your favorite thing about your home? That it transforms into a recording studio! Having a creative space to work on music, which also doubles as my home and transportation, has really helped me develop my art. I draw inspiration from my travels and living in a van has allowed me to capture those moments on the road. Also, I never forget anything at home because it comes with me wherever I go!
What’s your least favorite thing about your home? Although it’s still fully functional, I originally built it on a tight timeline and was forced to take some aesthetic shortcuts. For instance I painted construction sheathing plywood for my entire interior to save on cost (since I knew I would make a few mistakes). If I were to rebuild it, I would use furniture plywood and stain it rather than paint it.
What’s your best small space trick? My fold-up shower! I built a shower into my van, which folds up and out of the way when not in use. Additionally, I designed it to be used outside as well for when I need to rinse off after surfing.
My tiny tip for storage is using hanging shoe holders (the kind that mount on the back of your door). I have two of them in my van and they work for more than just shoes! It’s a great way to store small items on a vertical surface.
Thanks Tom! See more of his musical and home adventures on his Instagram or this YouTube channel.
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