The Campervan Interior
The van came with an 18mm plywood floor fitted onto a thick layer of dampcourse material and a Fiamma roof light. Both these items were in good order so they were left in position. It looks like one previous owner had thoughts of a conversion but didn't pursue the project.
The method of construction used to assemble all the units is called 'Pocket-Hole Joinery'. Details under Pocket-Hole Joinery.
A cabin was constructed to accommodate the Thetford C200CW cassette toilet using 12mm exterior ply. The shower/toilet base governs the footprint of the cabin. The cabin was securely attached to the floor and the new ceiling of the van. White Hygiene Boards were bonded to the interior of the cabin, including the roof to make a water tight environment.
A preplanned hole was bored through the floor of the van for the drain pipe and plug. Planning for this hole is essential as there are many obstructions and cables, etc., under the van.
In the photo on the right you can see the 230volt power cable already installed.
The sides of the Sprinter van curve inwards as they rise up. A template was made with large sheets of cardboard to cut out the basic shape. A lot of legwork followed as the panels needed to be butted up against the sidewalls to find the high-spots and then shaped in the workshop with a spoke-shave. Battens were attached to the side panels and wheel boxes to attach the Conti boards. Where the Conti boards faced up against the cabin front, quality adhesive was also used.
The bathroom door was hung and as you can see the result is pleasing to the eye. Progress!
However, it was at this stage that I realised I had made an error.
By fitting the cabin in the centre of the van, I had unwittingly prevented the use of the standard size Calor gas bottles. While there is enough room for them to sit on the floor space in the rear of the van, they will not go through the gap between the cabin the rear door of the van.
With all the planning I did, this problem I did not see until it was too late. I should have fitted the cabin offset to the left by two centimetres to allow enough room for the bottles.
A problem, but not a catastrophe as I was able to use the large size Camping Gaz bottles.
The gas bottles are housed inside a box with a sealed lid on the right with a vent through the floor. The space above is for a mattress.
The battery is housed on the left also in a sealed box with a vent through the floor. The space above is for storage and above that is a space for a quality camp bed.
The toilet cassette and flush refill can be seen here also. The rear section of the van is totally sealed off from the living area.
This design works well.
Once the bathroom was installed the process became much easier as there was now a solid base to work from.
The sink/hob was fitted into a section of kitchen worktop. A cabinet to hold the water, the water pump and kitchen utensils was built underneath. White hygiene boards are bonded to the interior of the cabinet. This not only makes the cabinet very cool in the summer, ideal for storing milk etc., but also makes it watertight.
Storage units are fitted above and below.
Construction of the bed/sofa took a great deal of thought. Originally I planned to make a fold out double bed, but several other campers warned against this. Apparently, there is a problem in the night if one of you needs the loo. To get out you will have to crawl over your partner. Fine if you are a coupe of youngsters, but not ideal if you have arthritis. So with this in mind we decided to go with a single bed/sofa with storage underneath.
The second bed is a quality camp bed with a bespoke mattress that sits opposite the bed/sofa allowing enough room for either occupant to pass by in the night. This bed is stored in the rear of the van and this method works well.
You can clearly see the pocket hole joinery here. I thoroughly recommend this as a way to make the construction easy and solid. Not one of the screws on any of the cabinets has worked loose. None of the cabinets rattle or vibrate!
Overhead lockers add more storage space.
The wardrobe is sizable and below that is further storage.
The cabinet above the wardrobe houses the electrics. The PMS3H Power Management System comes complete with 4 fused outputs, earth leakage protection, a fully stabilised power supply and battery charger, a battery condition meter and a water pump isolation switch.
Below the PMS you can see the 230volt sockets, a 12 volt output and a usb charging socket.
Must not forget to mention the creature comfort machine in the background.
Once the main construction had been completed, the upholstery and flooring needed to be taken care of.
This was my wife's department. Pat had once owned a haberdashery shop in Cardiff so I took a step back.
After measuring up for curtains, cushions, seat covers and throws, we nipped down to Dunelm. What we discovered was that is was cheaper by half to buy ready made curtains than it was to buy the bare material in length!
So, armed with several sets of curtains, Pat set about making all the upholstery and the finished product looks fab!
Carpet tiles by B&Q. Simple to fit!