I bought the van on October 5th, 2016. MY FIRST VEHICLE!! It was found on kijiji by a friend who was helping me with this big dream of mine. I had been looking for weeks and nothing was jumping out at me. I told him I wanted to find one before thanksgiving.. which at the time was only a few short weeks away. With in one night he had sent me the add, of what is now mine.
If you know me.. you know that I know next to nothing about vehicles, so he set up a day and time that he would go check it out for me, to see if it was even worth it. Well, obviously you know how that ended.. great! He sent me even more pictures of the inside, and I right away felt like this was the one. When I went to see it for myself, it just confirmed that feeling. There was almost no rust one the outside of the van, the interior was in almost perfect condition (minus the fact it looked and smelt like the 80s) and it only had 52,000+ km on it!! The asking price was $6,000 but I really wanted to stay around $5,000. You know the saying ‘ask and you shall receive’? Well I asked, and she was mine for $5k!!
As you can see, it was very dark and lifeless inside. I loved the layout but I had a totally different vision for how I wanted it to look by the time Spring came around.
STEP ONE: ripping out the smelly shag carpet
It turns out it was a lot less work then we thought. Whoever installed the carpet in the first place, gave up using staples half way through and just used glue for the rest. So we could basically rip it up in big chunks. However, the staples that were sticking up were way too hard to remove. Since I was planning on using vinyl flooring, I needed to have the surface completely smooth.
Step 2: bought underlay to cover the ripped up floor.
Between removing the carpet and putting down the underlay, the weather took a turn and it dropped to -10 temperatures and became too cold to work on the van.
Which brings me to step 3: during this time my mom and I brought the cushions in the house and began to reupholster them. I found this fabric at a local fabric store a few blocks from my house, AND I LOVE IT!! I wanted something that was really going to brighten everything up and feel more homey.
Reupholstering these was a ginormous pain in my ass. My mom helped me out A LOT with this process.
Lucky for us there was plywood on the under side of the cushion, which meant we could just staple the fabric. However, figuring out how to fold down the corners took a lot of trial and error. It wasn’t until the last bed cushion that we really got the hang out it. But never the less, I am so impressed with how they turned out!! ( see my instragram for a time laps video)
Obviously, as you can see my next step was painting the inside white! And boy that was a big project. The wood paneling was so hard to paint. I sanded down all the surfaces, then washed with warm water and a little bit of soap. Once the walls dried I started painting. I don’t even know how many hours it took in the the end, but it was countless coats of paint and several helping hands.. it felt like weeks until I saw any progress. And if I am being honest.. I eventually just gave up. If you look close enough you can see spots that were missed or could use another coat of paint but I didn’t care. So It’s safe to say that my painting days are over for a little while.
And last but certainly not least.. Step 5: THE FLOORING. I wanted to wait until all the painting was done before I put down my pretty new floor. The bedroom/dining room and the kitchen/hall way is vinyl, and then up near the seats we installed another carpet. At first I wasn’t too fond of the colour choice. My mother went a little crazy, she was amazing help that i’m forever grateful for.. but she would get a little too excited and started taking over this project of mine, for herself. So this was her pick. But in the end it ended up coming together really well! I had my good friend Taylor do all the of the flooring for me. AND HE DID A FREAKIN’ AWESOME JOB!!
After decorating and packing up all my favourite and important things, it’s now my beautiful functioning home on wheels and I could not be more proud of myself. I couldn’t have done it without all the hard work from my closest friends and family! Now i’m living life on the road, and I could not be any happier.
Stay tuned for a complete tour of the inside of my van, coming soon!