Please take your shoes off

It is fascinating, how the simple action of taking your shoes off transformes a place from a construction site to a home. Roof is finally done, ledges are covering the worst errors and gaps and there is a striking difference from the initial, dark grey fake-leather, the wood it makes the van feel roomy and bright. Still not sure to paint it white or to make a mixture of linseed-oil and pigment to prevent the pine from going yellow.

The largest window was removed, the bottom part of the frame was rotten and covered with mold, so it was replaced and so was parts of the plywood. I discoverd that neither of the windows was actually sealed (No wonder there was moisture coming in) so I all windows are now blessed fresh wood to make a tighter grip and silicon all around the edges to prevent leaking.

For the floor flat pine boards was purchased, I have bought 8 m²  pine boards costing me about 600 KR. The part close to the door was broken and removed, will later have straw carpet for shoes and easy cleaning. The frame of the bed was made with solid, new wood and covered with plywood. The design of the bed had several dilemmas and designs. As the main “furniture” it will work as a single bed, double bed, office chair and storage. With the support of several genious students from the Wood-academy we finally settled in a solution that was seemed superior in material cost and flexibility.

Kitchen sink is cut out from an old oak table, Installing the gas is still to come and a delicate mission. (I would prefer not blowing up my new home.).DSC_0604 DSC_0605 DSC_0625 DSC_0631 DSC_0632 DSC_0607


Bad news and good news

Just as the warm spring sun was licking the snow off the ground, waking the buds on the trees from their long sleep, the usual (but mean) winter peek-a-boo kicks in.

With a snowstorm making out-door work dull, days have been spent with illustrations and writing. A saturday of sunshine turned into work exchange with new friends building verandas, tearing out the roof of the cooking up a tapas fiest and waching my first ever northen light.

Bad news are that after ripping out the wall-paper, I found some mold. And as I ripped out more, I found more. Pearls live on the bottom of the sea, right?

I was prepared to do some restoration of the parts around the window, but I will probably have to replace a large part of the plywood in the back wall as well and do a good seal from the inside. The weak point is in the edge were the roof has been built on, strenghting and sealing will hopafully fix the problem.

The good news is that the LED-lights are now installed, making it possible for the sun to shine even during night. Incredible technology. The uselss TV-antenna is out together with some of the 10W lamps that  was there from the start. 0,8W spots have been wired in together with a 1W Bed-light and cigarette chargers. The roof has been frustrating, realizing that there is not a straight angle in there, but turnes out real fancy. I will see if I can get rid of the “sauna-feeling” as I move along.

Over all, this is probably the part of anyone renvating an old van to discover a never ending chain of projects and repairs. But this far, the van has offerd me new skills, knowlage and meetings. Curious visitors getting dreamy eyes as I speak of my project to live on the road. But it takes hard work. Sticking with budget, and finding materal is a challange, but I belive the outcome will be an real adventure.

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Designing a tiny Home

Roughly 6m2 wood (pine) for the roof and floor is purchased together with linseed-oil and glue for the wallpapers. This weekend will be intense carpentry, and I discoverd the local second hand with a universe of recourses. Stainless-steel sink for 35 KR and a gas-stove that I did a final bid at for 335 KR on the online auction-site “Tradera”. Designprocess is getting started and using the principles of permaculture when trying to fullfill my needs on a 3m2 space that is “The pearl”. LED-spotligts are going up in the roof and the hysterical wallpapers with flowers are ready to decorate the walls as a substitute for that fact that I will be missing a real-life garden.



232 screws later and the large bed, the little bed/storage, shelfs and kitchenbench is out. My goal was to get all the synthetic materials out, I even started cutting up the fake leather above the drivers seat and discoverd some boards. Good idea? Dont know. Vision is starting to clear up as I move along: A little cabin on weels. Lets see how it goes. Simple “low tech” solutions, flexible design, rustic, natural materials.

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From Jönköping to Kramfors

First roadtrip was launched in the most wonderful spring weather. Egg-sandwiches by a lake, trying out the casett-player with an old recorded band from when my mother was sailing the mediterranean, visit old villages and spooky campingsites. Engine was loud due to lack of inslation and the window slide down every now and then, but she carried me all the 75 miles up north without a doubt. Thursday I arrive to Kramfors, a small odd little town, were I will stay with my dear friend Carl that studies furniture carpentry at the wood academy. I introduced myself to my home for the future weeks with the usual rituals. Spouts are set to soak, sourdough started, bread baked, eggs boiled. Finally time to start building.

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Installing the solarpanels

After a few months with a never ending chain of ebay-tabs and a good amount of research on my webbrowser I finally orderd what I figured was the most priceworthy option to provide my van with solar energy. One goal of the restoration of the van was to invest in items that could be de-contructed and used in other future homes. After estimating a daily usage of power I decided to go with a 150W Mono-crystalline Solarpanels wich should be more then enough for mainly charging devices and using loud speakers. Not playing by the rules, I decided to improvise and install them withouth many instructions. I failed to get more MC4 connectors due to bad planning, so we made a new junction-box wich should safely keep the wires dry. Gue. Lots of gue. 10m of 6mm/m2 extensionswire cost me about 10 EUR at “Biltema”. DSC_0343 DSC_0348The access wire were kept intact and bundled up inside and enter the roof in waterproof wholes that allow the wire to move. The main idea was to angle at a 30* angle and move the solarpanels for optimal solarexposure. Therefore the van could be parked in shade during hot days but solarpanels still charging. On the other side, this also makes them easier to steal. I was pleased with a simple montage for now, I will see how I will improve it in the future. On a cloudy day, they were chargin at a rate of 13,79 V and gave life to my new 0,8W LED lamps, I am still to see how reliable they are to cover my energy usage. Until then, you go sun!

Electrics for dummies

First step: Obtain a yeild. Electricity is just another flow, not to different from water. Also a skill I very much lack… Until yesterday. Just getting my head around Volts, Amps and Ohms before I got my fingers into any wiring. I kidnapped my father during late hours and bombarded him with system-designs and questions, little to this hard working mans delight.

I was determined to hook up the solarpanels up and charging as soon as possible, charging and feeding my batteries. Energy being a great resource, I wanted to explore how far I could make the van self-sufficent.

DSC_0298The existing system in the van consist of one car battery of 80 A (Varta) and one spare battery with 75 A (Fritid). People tend to harrass their battaries and empty them and therefore they loose capacity, I will make sure not to go under 12V and hopefully they will last. A hot mess of wires and fuseboxes that took some detectivework to figure out (but turned out to be darn clever!) I decided to add the160W solarpanels to a new circuit and a fresh 70 A battery with a overflow to the second two ones, un-doing work is never fun.