Design Changes


The design for the van conversion keeps evolving, while it is under construction.

closet-cadThe Murphy Bed/Desk is slowly taking shape, but many of its intricate details face constant scrutiny. When work on the bed frame started, I had to make sure, that the adjoining closet would fit well in the overall design. Two issues reappeared:
Sufficient storage width for a kayak is limited by the cabinets on both sides of the interior.
Walking space inside the living area must be maximized.

Two reasons for the same problem. A closet to hang clothing was planned next to the bed, and was sticking out about seven inches. The overall depth of about 20 inches, is due to the fact the cloth hangers are about 16.5 inches wide. That makes the cabinet protrude into the walkway.
To solve or reduce its impact, I decided to rotate its layout by 90 degrees, increasing its width, and at the same time reducing its depth by four inches. That doesn’t seem that much, but in a confined area, like that of a conversion van, every inch has a huge impact on the design.
This setup results in the clothing hanging parallel to the wall and virtually unaccessible from the living area. To solve this, I’ll install a drawer slider to the ceiling of the cabinet, that allows my attire to be pulled out, ready to be selected.

Bed Supports and Legs

bed-legI have also struggled to find a good solution on how to implement the two legs of the Murphy Bed. Common practice is a metal bar that rotates from the top (inside the bed) down to underneath the bed; sometimes the legs are integrated into the front (outside) of the bed. Neither option appealed to me.
bed-legWhere the bed frame is normally composed of two ¾ inch boards to support the weight of the bed, I choose one full-length ½ inch board, plus two added ½ inch boards on the inside of the frame up to the horizontal elevation of the bed. This would still provide the necessary support for the bed, yet leave enough room above these supports yo store each leg.

These issues seem trivial, but they keep me awake at night. And remember, that they may have been solved on paper (and in my head), but I am realistic to know that execution isn’t always so easy. You’re here to follow the progress, and watch how it works out!

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  1. I’d love to show you photos of my Transit. I travel with two cats and a bird, so all of them and their gear had to be incorporated. I love my Transit!

    1. I’m always interested in the diversity of vandwellers. You have a whole menagerie of animals with you, and seem to love it. You can send me a few pictures to [email protected] and if you include a short short story about your lifestyle, I’ll consider publishing it (with your permission). I’d love to hear about your animals and what you did to accommodate them.
      Wish you happy travels!

      Van Williams

    2. Wow 2 cats. I’m hopeful mine will be happy when I build. I was planning a pocket door to close the back/bed area so they don’t escape. How do you keep them contained? Thanks for posting. Deb

  2. Thank you for showing your fits and starts, changes and compromises! It helps me when I read your thought processes. It helps to see that you get a beautiful and functional result even though you started in one direction and had to change it as you went!
    Thank you again,

    1. Thank you. I’m still constantly reading articles and watching videos and whenever I see something interesting, the first thing that pops into my mind, is whether I can apply it to the van.

      Van Williams

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