Our van conversion story starts in Australia. Covid started to take over the world and slowly shut down country after country. We quickly realized we had to get home as fast as possible to Sweden so we jumped on a plane and rushed our way home. All of a sudden we were stuck in our home town in Sweden with no plan, no jobs, no home.
All our plans and work opportunities had gone out the window so we did like any normal "logical" person would do. We took a loan, bought a van and started our van conversion. With no prior experience in building at all.
We found this gorgeous 2008 long wheel base Mercedes Sprinter that had a totally new engine in her. We fell in love instantly. We got her for 9 100 Pounds and for us that is a ridiculous amount of money. She ended up breaking down completely a year later needing a full engine replacement again and we have put more money on repairing her than we bought her for in the beginning. Let me tell you one thing though, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
The lessons we have learned and the love we get from our instagram community and all our friends is amazing, we are so proud and thankful of what we did. So if you are reading this and thinking that’s too much of a gamble or it’s not for me. Stop it! It is for you. You don’t need experience with building or even a working van. In the end life always works out even though it throws you some shitty punches from time to time.
The Van conversion
Well, as we said we had no previous experience but a lot of people that do van conversions don't. We all just jump on board this crazy adventure and hoping that all the time and money invested in this will turn out okay.
The whole conversion took us 8 months and counting, we moved into Luna after 8 months but we make changes and fix stuff constantly. It’s just how it is when you live in a self converted van, stuff break or you realize the first plan didn’t really work out properly.
We watched so many youtube videos and asked for help in various facebook groups to get a head around how we would pull this off. So if you are starting off and want to dive into this journey of converting a van. Just do it! You will figure it out as you go!
The inspiration for our interior design and layout
When coming up with the layout and design we went back and forth constantly changing it out as we were building. We probably have a completely unique layout and we haven’t seen any van have this layout before.
First we wanted a fixed bed, then we went for a convertible after trying to live in the van when we just had the insulation in. We realized that having friends over and being able to host dinner parties was much more important to us than not having to make our bed in the morning. We still have many days when we just leave it as a bed during the day but what's nice is to be able to have the option of changing it if we want to have people over.
To get our head around designing the van we searched Pinterest high and low. We wanted a cabin in the woods vibe but at the same time Scandinavian design with bright colours. We settled on a nice warm dark walnut stain for our floors, countertops and the ceiling. Then we went with bright white kitchen cabinets in a farmhouse style.
We have a lot of special features in our van including what we call the Narnia door. It feels like all the adventures lays behind that door and in some way it also does. psssst It’s our cabin area. We also have a glass cabinet door that just looks lush, don’t worry it’s made out of plexi-glass but it sure does look like a glass door. We have our mountain in the back that holds our pillows when we open the doors to watch the sunset and much more.
Luna is kitted with:
• 300 watt solar panels
• 100 amp lithium battery
• Mains hook up
• Mastervolt Charge Mate Pro 90
• Mastervolt charge master
• 84 liter fresh water tank
• 42 liter grey water tank (mounted indoor)
• 800x 600 Full shower and toilet set up
• 4 hob stove and oven+grill
• Swivel table (home made with pipes)
• Malachite inspired tiles
• 90 litre fridge with freezer compartment
• Arctic insulation: 50 mm XPS and 13 mm Armaflex
• 160x200x24 cm thick memory foam mattress • Fully equipped kitchen
• 56x46 cm massive black sink
• Gold tap with filtered water tap
Do you think we sound like a fun and inspiring couple, or maybe you just love our van (we do) head over to our instagram. We share most of our lives on our instagram, give us a follow so you can catch up on our latest adventures. We are all about authenticity, we share the ups and down with you.
We also share a lot on our blog www.onthefreeside.com
We also have a youtube channel but it’s not active, but maybe it will be in the future.
We share small tips and tricks about living in our van on tiktok as well.
We have pinned all our inspo images on our pinterest board for you to get inspired by our build.
What’s next for us?
We hope to be able to travel the summer of 2021 but we are staying put until it's safe to do so. Waiting patiently for our vaccines so we can be able to travel properly in the future. Our base is in Sweden so first on the list will be Europe, a massive Europe trip.
We hope to continue to grow our community and connect with like minded people, who knows maybe we even build out a new van? And maybe we meet you who's reading this on the road some day, we at least hope we do!
All the best
Indie and Joel