It is a long process creating a practical, yet pleasant design & layout for a van conversion. From determining which features to include, to a proper layout, many weeks or months go by before the design starts making sense.
While I’m still waiting for the new van to arrive, some decisions have to be made soon. The layout of the van has been improving over time and I’m very happy with the Murphy bed/desk facing the sliding doors.
The rear kitchen is a nice feature, but I’ve been struggling with the bike storage and in particular the bathroom. The latter occupies a lot of space in a van where every square foot counts. Despite that, using that same bathroom will always be uncomfortable. With a medium roof van, height is barely enough to stand straight and the 2ft by 3ft bathroom less the toilet offers a very tight shower. On the other hand, a nicely appointed van conversion should not be without a full bathroom. In addition, the current design offers very limited closet space and there is no specific place to store a bike.
So I started moving around the refrigerator, to create a wider walk space in the kitchen area. By moving the wider fridge against the side of the bathroom, more space becomes available to walk in the van.
The image on the left (A) shows the fridge in the back, which improves moving around the kitchen, yet it completely seals off the rear doors, making them useless and still doesn’t improve storage capacity.
In image B, the bathroom/fridge combination has been moved to the drivers side of the vehicle, and clearly offers a better solution.
However, I still wanted to explore what could be achieved without a real bathroom. First I would have to find a real alternative, which are plenty: nationwide memberships to health clubs where you can take showers, portable showers inside or mounted to the outside of the van, and ultimately the (very) basic wash cloth bath I used to take in my former, much smaller van. None of them ideal solutions, in fact most having the same limitations as a full bathroom has.
The toilet could be replaced with a porto-potti (see image C), which could be accessed from the cabinet under the fridge. For some unacceptable, but I have always found it practical (for a single person to use). The elimination of the bathroom creates much needed storage areas, such as my previous idea to store the bike behind the kitchen, accessible through the rear doors. And certainly more space for the batteries and tools. The wider floor area in the kitchen, makes it easier for the kayak to be moved into the van. And finally I can implement a little more cabinet space.
Overall my heart says, that this is a better solution, yet my head still wants a full bathroom. What are your thoughts, what would you do? Leave a comment below and help me decide!
You can download my last two designs in CAD-format and create your own layout.
Look at all of previous designs here!