The notion of "life by van" of living comfortably while walking the road is in resonance with an increasing number of people, young and old. But for many of us who might dream of creating such a small ultra-mobile home-on-wheels, the idea of doing a conversion from scratch may seem daunting.
But with a do-it-yourself van conversion kit – like those offered by Portland, Oregon's Zenvanz – that elusive dream seems a little closer at hand. Made of durable bamboo and lightweight aluminum, these stylish kits are designed and manufactured by Vandwelling and small pair of space designers Bryan and Jen Danger, who also created this clever van conversion and renovated their garage into a modern home.
The Zenvanz kits have been inspired by the couple's time on the road, traveling in their conversion of the vans. While they are away, they rent both their main house and their 480-square-foot garage turned into a home-ADU (unit dwelling accessory), which allows them to live without a mortgage (more on their inspirational story here). The design choices of the kit were born from the time spent in their van, as Bryan tells us:
Our decisions on materials were mostly drawn from trial and error and from our personal experiences on the road. We did not create the kit to start an activity, we created the perfect solution for our van and then others asked us to do it for them too … so we did.
The materials were chosen for their durability and weight, says Bryan:
We love the fact that bamboo is a green / renewable resource, but has also proven to withstand the extreme conditions inside our van better than anything else that we have used / tested. The aluminum frame is simply the best way to create a stiff and durable bamboo frame that is light and resilient to the high humidity inside a van. It does not hurt that the two materials are absolutely beautiful apart, and even more if used together!
Seen here, the kits consist of a nice series of furniture with rounded corners (reminiscent of aircraft interiors and crucial if you want to avoid head injuries), a kitchen cabinet, a platform for a bed, as well as mobile objects such as the storage box that double as a place and go up to the sleeping area. All components can be installed using existing prefabricated holes in a Sprinter, which is one of the most popular vehicle choices for a van conversion project a day today, thanks to its high-top and optional all-wheel drive.
Prices for the Zenvanz conversion kit start at $ 18,000 USD – it's not cheap, but these slender, high-quality kits are built to last and are tailor-made for people with little or no construction experience, and are retro-engineered to make it easy to install and uninstall. It may be even easier, notes Bryan: "We also have several companies that are willing to do the installation work for the cabinets (as well as other" systems "in the van such as insulation, heat, water, electricity) and often help to connect the our customers with those installers if they prefer not to do all the work themselves. "
It's not easier than that. To learn more, visit Zenvanz.
These high-end kits make converting a van into a wheeled home a simpler proposition.