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Well-Driven 2003 Chevy Cargo Van Converted To Elegant Living

Zach Both has a passion for filmmaking. He’s worked as both a designer and art director, and now he can claim fame as one helluva van camper builder.

He chronicled his van camper renovation in a reddit mega post.

Many might say that a van with over 200,000 miles already on it wouldn’t be an ideal starting vehicle. That fact didn’t stop Zach from putting in hours of sweat and about $12,000 into renovating the interior and exterior to pristine condition.

Here’s what the van looked like before he started working on it.

What he wanted the finished product to look like.

First step: remove the floor mat and vacuum!

Grinding away bits of rust in preparation for the renovation.

On went a new coat of white paint.

With spray adhesive, he added foam insulation to the van’s interior walls.

More insulation on the floor and ceiling.

He even added fiberglass insulation (wrapped in plastic bags) to the lower side walls.

Cutting the birch subfloor.

Adding a ventilation van to the roof.

This load of plaster lath he got for free from a church.

With some sanding and stain, it looks great as an interior roof covering!

Custom-fitted wooden paneling takes away the ‘van’ feeling.

Laminate flooring.

Bed box.

Roughing out the kitchen area.

This roof rack is from a Hummer…!

And allowed him to install solar panels securely up top.

Exterior of the van after finishing the remodel.

Custom cabinets in the kitchen.

This bed came from a broken down IKEA futon.

The small workspace next to his bed provides room for a computer. After all, if you’ve got to work from the road…you need some elbow room.

Some have wondered about bugs getting in through the windows. He says that,

The borders of the window actually have velcro all around them. Then I made removable mosquito screens (using that pet mesh screen stuff) that attach to it. Don’t have any photos of it though.

These neat chalkboard windows provide privacy and interior accents!

One thing you might find missing, a toilet – he said he uses public restrooms, and has a gym membership to use their shower facilities.

Another tidbit: the added weight of the van conversion did take its toll. He gets only 10 to 12 miles per gallon now.

Zach captured the entire build-out in a website he calls a ‘friendly advisor’ to those wishing to convert their own van. The Vanual, as his website is named, has detailed sections on what to use for flooring, wall covering, and electrical and solar needs, among a bunch of other super helpful topics. Check it out!