Day 2: Building Our New Home #VANLIFE

Yesterday we had a 5:30am start.
The alarm went off at 5:30, 5:40, 5:45, and 5:55 until I got out of bed. I had a cup of Tea and I put my face on. Gold Eyeshadow, Black warrior eyeliner, Plum lipstick with glitter in it. It's the only way to prepare for a day of hard graft.

The M25 traffic is so bad that we had to make sure we were driving out of Leigh On Sea by 6:30am just so that we could be in Hemel Hempstead by 9am. We still got stuck traffic regardless of how early we left!

Anyway, traffic is boring. It's boring to be in and boring to talk about. If you want to leave you can, the rest of this blog won't be as boring, I hope.

This is a photo of us stuck in very boring traffic. Look at Doozer's face!

When we got to the new van EL got straight on with finishing the insulation grid that goes under the floorboards whilst Doozer started taking unnecessary bits of metal off the walls and I got to the top two corners of the floor where there were holes in the van.

I sanded the corners down, put a bit of metal in them and then I sealed them shut with this black goo that EL calls "Snot" which I later found out, NEVER EVER washes out of your hands and is extremely sticky. I got absolutely covered in the stuff, which annoyed me a lot because I had to keep washing my hands to get the stickiness off.
Once I got that done, the boys went outside to chop up the floorboards to size whilst I swept up each individual square on the floor which pleased me greatly. There's something satisfying about cleaning up things in little boxes.

Cleaning each individual space... lovely!

The next task we had to do was get the floorboards down on the ground temporarily so that we can assess everything that needs to be fitted in and walk easily. The insulation for the floors, walls and ceiling will be arriving on Monday. Before the floorboards could go down I had to paint them ALL with PVA glue to waterproof them. 

This took a while because I only had two roller sponges, EL had a handle for them but the handle didn't fit and the rollers kept flying off the handle... LITERALLY... and then rolling around in the gravel and mud, and I kept having to pick them up, with PVA glue all over my hands. I was desperately trying to pick all the stones and mud bits off the sponges but the bits were all getting stuck to my fingers and then a random dog appeared out of nowhere and started barking at me furiously - He was probably just as irritated as I was at that point... So I washed my hands, got a cup of Tea and sent Doozer out to buy some rollers that actually work... That seemed to calm down the random furious dog quite a bit.

A nice cup of Tea pretty much solves everything.

Whilst all of this was going on, EL decided to LET Doozer make a window in our van!!!
First they had to get rid of the little window that was already there. It was badly placed and not sealed up properly so there were leaks. This is easily done, I assume it is a result of somebody wanting to do the job quite quickly. It looked like a nice window to be fair it was alright, but EL was right to take it out and make us do it properly with a new window. Doozer was allowed to use the sharp cutty thing that spits fire. He cut the hole bigger for the new window and then put our lovely brand new window in, which will be our kitchen window!

Here's an Arty farty photo of Doozer being allowed to make a window for our van. El is holding onto the van to make sure Doozer doesn't break it.

Once the floorboards were put down and the window was securely fitted we had a cup of Tea and discussed what we would like to take from the spare caravans to upcycle into our van.

We're pretty much set on the interior layout and design of the Van. We managed to upcycle an entire kitchen structure and set, Gas hob, cooker and grill, sink and fridge. We're also taking out some lights, a shower room and then we're going to build two sofas which will go out into a spare sofa bed if we ever need it. Insulation starts on Monday, that won't take too long. We need a front door by monday, because that will help determine how much space around the back wall we have for the interior. We also need to source some pallets for the sofas and the kitchen area. So if any of you have a spare front door for sale or knocking about that you don't want, or some pallets please get in touch, Especially if you're in Essex as that would be the easiest place for us to pick it up from. Once everything's insulated and the boards for the floor and walls are permanently fitted we can start on figuring out the electrics and fitting everything around that.

Discussing the next step for the interior of our van. 

We're moving much quicker than I thought to be honest, I thought this would be an enormous, arduous, difficult and miserable job. I even dreaded it a little bit, I won't lie, I've never been a fan of hard physical graft. I refused to jog in PE when I was in school. I resent walking up the stairs, and I rarely ever lift anything heavy. This project IS as hard as I thought it would be, my leg muscles hurt when I walk, however, the last couple of days have really made me appreciate the beauty of building your own home. There's something really nice about it, I now know literally every nook and cranny of this van. It feels like it's ours and it's personal. I know the weak spots and the strengths. Building and fitting in everything ourselves is making me feel like we're going to really look after this, we're working so hard to make sure everything is done properly so there won't be any problems later on. It's not the same as buying a van that is partially or mostly already kitted out, which is what we did with our first van. We did it for convenience more than anything, we were homeless, and had already hit festival season when we got paid, so we needed something that had a bed in it already. We didn't check for damp spots, holes, and weak bits, rust and all that. We just found a van that was the right size and price and had a bed in it and off we went. For almost four years!
It was only about a year and a bit ago that we started noticing things, such as a leak had appeared in the ceiling over our beds which meant that every time it rained the rain would drip on our faces whilst we were asleep. Or if we were out we'd come back and our pillows would be soaked. We tried to seal it up temporarily from time to time. The issue with having your van fully kitted out and already living in it is that if these sorts of problems occur, you then face the prospect of having to rip the entire van out, all your furniture the floors the walls, everything, just to fix those minor issues like holes that should have been filled and sealed in the first place. This is an especially tricky situation for us because we've been not only living in the van but touring in it too, being on the road full time and working full time meant there was no time to stop and deal with the issue properly we just kept bodging it up as we went along. 
This new van feels different. We are dealing with any issues immediately and dealing with them properly. The fact that we know this van inside out right off the bat means we'll know where to keep an eye out for issues later on and we'll know how to fix anything and everything. I'm learning so much. I'm no carpenter, or handyman. So this is entirely new to me and I'm actually enjoying it. I'm excited to finish the project and show you all what it looks like when it's finished. I keep envisioning it. Daydreaming.
I highly recommend building your van home from scratch if you ever want to do what we're doing, it really makes an enormous difference. This is going to be our home for as long as possible and I love it already.

Getting there... :)

Thanks to everyone who's contributed so far by purchasing T-Shirts and Prints as well as donating via gofundme just to buy this van. you've made something start to happen that will transform the way we live and most importantly, the way we work.
If you would like to continue helping us, we also have Mugs, Tote bags, vinyl stickers and more prints available, any time any of you purchase anything from us, the proceeds are going towards this project.

These links will have to be copied and pasted like in the old days I'm afraid, as I don't yet know how to make them clickable links.
Vinyl Stickers:
Tote Bags (Only available for 10 days):
Mugs (Only available for 10 days):

We're having a day "off" today as Deferred Sucess are playing in Benfleet for a Beer Festival tonight so if any of you Essex people fancy a night out come and see us we'd love to see you!
Also I have a certain Gaz Brookfield T-Shirt design to re-work on today which I am really excited about, so be sure to keep your eye out for Gaz Brookfield's new shirts as well, he's a good guy and a phenomenal musician with the work ethic of a machine.

The Famous Artist Birdy Rose.

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  • Zane on

    Birdy, this is my new best thing to read on the internet. All other self build motorhome threads are written by nerdy self build blokes like me but your point of view is so much more entertaining. I’m actually considering wearing eye shadow for my next car project. X

  • Cali Blue on

    Birdy and Dooze So cool to see the process…if u make it uniquely yours others will want one too…make life less boring. Why don’t u put the steering wheel on the correct side of the vehicle for starters. Also can that window open to sell art, music and tea? ;}

  • John on

    Love it. Love the dog telling you off for using the wrong roller.. enjoy your day off and look forward to the next instalment…

  • Lauren on

    I LOVE THIS <3

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