This Converted Cargo Van Isn’t Just a Small Home on Wheels… It’s a Music Recording Studio, Too!

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Bedrooms
Square feet
35
Sq ft
35
Post Image
Credit: Tom Neeld

Name: Tom Neeld
Location: Currently Trabuco Canyon, California
Size: 35 square feet
Years lived in: 2 years, owned
Type of home: Converted cargo van
YouTube channel: Bad Taste

House tour cover

Can't-Miss House Tours Straight to Your Inbox

Keep up with our latest house tours each weekday with our House Tour of the Day newsletter

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.

Credit: Tom Neeld

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.

Credit: Tom Neeld

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.

Credit: Tom Neeld

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.

Credit: Tom Neeld

Describe your home’s decor style in 5 words: Homey, rugged, nostalgic, endearing, and inspiring.

Credit: Tom Neeld

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!

Credit: Tom Neeld

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.

Credit: Tom Neeld

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.

Credit: Tom Neeld

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.

Credit: Tom Neeld

Thanks Tom! See more of his musical and home adventures on his Instagram or this YouTube channel.

Credit: Tom Neeld

Tiny Tours are videos filmed by the homeowners and renters themselves, usually because they live in a location where Apartment Therapy doesn’t have videographers. It’s a way to see inside one-of-a-kind homes around the world. See more: