BIG project coming up.
This will put some projects lower on the list, but this will be worth it Been searching for months to find a suitable vehicle to convert to a small camper, so I can get some travel in. Last week hit paydirt. Got a 1997 Dodge B3500, extended top van. Wanted something I can stand up in, and this thing has 7' headroom inside (I owned a regular van years ago, with a bed and toilet, and it gets very old, very fast, having to move in it all bent over. And I said, never more). It was owned by a hospital, had a wheel chair lift (since taken out), all the seats taken out, regular maintenance, no dings or scratches, paint in excellent condition. AND it has about 106,200 miles on it. And the price was well below the list price for a regular van, let alone an extended top van.
It's getting the belts and hoses checked just now, but hope to get it on the road tomorrow. The first priority will be a composting toilet, and some sort of privacy screen. Composting toilets are very simple, easy to make, but the one that will go in it first is one I had bought for the shop, for around $11-12. Could well have made one, but didn't want to take the time. Next step will be the floor, sill researching that, was going to go with wood, but there will be plywood under regardless, and now thinking maybe a vinyl floor covering, which should last, and would be a lot less pain for my knees. After that an upgraded composting toilet. Some campers make a small cabinet, with a padded seat, so it can be used as an extra place to sit. I plan on taking it a step or three further. You've heard the phrase, "on the throne", well I've been researching throne pictures, and will make a throne to hold my toilet. Got at least 100 throne pictures saved now, and will go thru them, most likely taking an idea from one, another idea from another, and so on.
I kinda got kicked off of a tiny house forum, seems they thought loft beds were fantastic, and didn't care about lack of a handrail, or very unsafe handrails, was perfectly fine, and didn't like me getting on them. Most of them also thought the idea of an outhouse was 'cute'. These people must come from another universe. I've heard of a lot of tiny home buyers who put them up for sale within 3 weeks of buying. Guess their outhouses weren't cute enough, or they were too old to get up and down the stairs.
So, I WILL have a indoor toilet. Composting toilets can be made or bought. Buy for around $10-11, and up, depending the design. Make from free to however much you want to spend. I figure likely around $50-60 to make the one I want, depending on material I already have on hand, or can get free.
As far as a loft bed, I consider a loft fine, for storage, maybe an office, guest sleeping. I've used campers where you had to convert the dinette area to a bed, using the table top as part of it, then having to make the bed from scratch, and in the morning reverse the whole process. Not going to happen with me. I will use a cot, or air mattress, for awhile. Then will make a small dinette in the rear. The bed will be over this. However, not going to climb up. During sleeping, and travel, the bed will rest on the dinette/seat backs. Then during the day will be raised, locked in place, and the dinette used for eating, game playing, working, or whatever.
I ran across the concept of a bed that is lifted out of the way I don't know how long ago. Had thought about a Murphy bed, but the bedding will get messed up. This way I won't even have to make the bed, just raise and lower it. Seen beds raised and lowered by numerous cable setups, electric lifts, you name it. Either expensive, and expensive to repair if problems, unsuitable for use in a van, overly complicated, etc. Then a bit back I found a suitable answer. A scissor lift. The lift would live under the table top, and when used, the top would be what actually fit under the bed and raise it. Then when it is lowered, the table top will hide the lift. The lift will actually fit in a recess below the top. I will make my own lift, it's not rocket science. Undecided yet as making it from metal tubing, or wood. Will not have to lift too far, just enough to be a foot or so above a sitter's head. I will make it ambidextrous - crank it up by hand using a removable crank, or if you prefer, use an electric drill instead, but even if the drill is used, I want a backup plan. Still will need to figure out measurements for the lift, but it won't happen tomorrow, so no biggie.
The walls and back door will be insulated (the floor will also), and likely paneled with real wood. I've been looking some at cabinets and such to make, and am drawn to SCA furniture, have seen some things I like, so likely will go with something along those lines. Later figure on putting in captains chairs in the front, maybe even a couple more behind them. Haven't figure out heating yet, but unless I buy a small woodstove, will likely be homemade (and yes, I know how to safely do it). Eventually solar and batteries, so likely just fans for cooling. Cooking, likely soda can burners, undecided yet.
Had thought about a pickup and camper, but then have to get out of the cab, walk to the back, climb in. Might as well have a trailer, if going to do that. And I do not want a trailer camper. With the van, get up from the driver seat, walk into the back, and go. No getting out in the rain, snow, or dark of night. And at last, can travel far distances and not worry about finding a place with a restroom I could use - and with my luck there might be a line in front of me, all I have to do it find a place to park for a few minutes. Pure Heaven.
"It ain't what you're told, it's what you know." - Granny Weatherwax
Fawkahwe tribal police SWAT Team
Some days, the supply of available curse words is insufficient to meet my demands.
.....Call me a craftsman, artisan, or artistic, and I will accept that. Call me an artist and you will likely get a quite rude comment in return. I am not a @#$%ing artist.