Van Build | All About The Build/ers
Meet Brett and Brian
By now, I’ve talked a lot about our builders and how incredible they were. So it only seems fitting for me to introduce the dynamic duo. On the far left is Brian who does all things electric. I purchased the solar panels and necessary equipment and simply handed it over. He mounted them to the roof (without a roof rack which is a magical and financial miracle), installed the vent fan, ran all the wiring for outlets and lights, and put together a beautifully organized electrical control center. See image below.
He also installed a rear camera because we don’t have any windows in the back. It works while we’re driving to see behind us and when the van is off for security purposes at night. We had a rear view mirror that was basically useless so the camera screen is shaped to look just like the mirror.
(camera mounted on back)
(replaced original mirror with camera screen)
Lastly, he did even more by hooking up everything in a way that allows us to simply switch on specific lights just like at home. So we never have to worry about switching from one type of power to another. See image below. (This may not make sense to everyone but for those that know vans, this was also an awesome touch.) He even connected the batteries to the car’s alternator so the batteries get charged while the van is on AND when the sun is out through the solar. This basically means when you’re parked in the shade for a couple days with no access to solar power, you can just turn the car on and charge the batteries as well.
(Completed switch board. Tells us how much power we have, has two USB ports, and 6 switches)
(Prior to being hooked up. The tape along the side is no longer accurate but gives an idea of how it works)
Brett (far right in the top image) is pretty much the best handyman that has ever lived. This was both of their first time building out a van, and they did an amazing job. Brett can put together any kind of design or layout that you could dream of. We asked for all kinds of specifics, and he never once said that it couldn’t happen. Every time we visited, I would say something like “well if it’s possible, we’d like…” And he always responded with “Everything is possible. You just gotta tell us what you want.” He framed it out, built each structure within the van, painted everything, built shelves everywhere, and put more storage than we could even fill right away.
I should also mention that Brett and his family have always been campers and know what it’s like to be off the grid. So he really understands the importance of everything having multiple purposes. I can’t go on enough about how high the quality is of the build and how sturdy everything is inside. It’s like a real house!
(Installed a table that comes down to complete a bed at night and can be completely removed from the van as an outdoor table)
(Brett also installed the induction stove and sink that has actual running water!)
Build Pricing and Costs
I really could go on about how talented they are and great they were to work with, but message me if you want more details on anything. They have politely asked me not to share detailed information about the build costs because it can vary so drastically for each van. I will say that we were on a tight budget and they were completely willing to help research cheaper ways of doing certain things. They would call us with different options and allow us to make the call when needed. However, they are both capable of just about anything so the more you can afford, the more fun they’ll have and the better your van can look. I can provide their email address for an estimate if interested.
Cushion Cover Information and Costs
The one thing these guys cannot do is sew. Therefore, we had to look elsewhere for the cushion covers. You may have a close friend or family member that can do this for much cheaper so that should be option one. For those of us that don’t, I found a wonderful woman in Oregon that makes cushion covers on Etsy. I simply sent her the measurements including length, width, and height, and she sent me the covers which turned out perfect. She lets you choose from a website what material you want so you have a crazy variety plus some control of the fabric cost. We paid a total of $220 for all 5 cushion covers including shipping and taxes. I would recommend sending her a message with the request and letting her help with the details. Ours turned out wonderful! Pictures can be seen in images above.
The Etsy shop name is: AveryleeDesigns
Click here for a direct link to the shop.
Brett and Brian began working on our van at the beginning of August and finished at the very end of September. We visited roughly once a week to take pictures and stay updated. I will be writing a post later this week about our full electrical system along with links to everything we used for it. For any further information about the build, please don’t hesitate to message me via the contact page or any social media platform.