Van Life

In 2019, we purchased a 2013 High Roof converted Sprinter Van which we promptly named Big Blu. We bought Big Blu used from a guy in Santa Monica who had rented it out on Outdoorsy for some extra cash. Needless to say, the interior was pretty roughed up and in need of some TLC.

Big Blu came outfitted with a shower/sink combo, two back benches, upper cabinets on one side, a mini fridge, and two stationary captain’s chairs for the driver and front passenger. With no middle seat for our three kids who were still in carseats at the time, we knew we’d have to do our own build-out to make it work for our family.

In order to get a middle bench seat in there, we had to take out the shower and redo the sink area. Luckily, we were able to cut the sink cabinet down to size without having to rip the whole thing out. We then purchased a wood block from Home Depot which Chris shaped, sanded, and stained for our countertop. He then cut holes in it for the sink basin and faucet.

We opted for an extendable faucet sprayer for a future outdoor shower. We ordered a new side window with slider openings that we have yet to install. Once we do, we’ll be able to extend the sink faucet sprayer out of the window making an outdoor shower.

Underneath the sink, we have two larger water tanks: one for fresh water and the other for waste. Chris installed a tankless portable water heater under the sink which gives us the option of hot water when we need it.

Once the sink and counter were situated, we found a brand new bench seat on Facebook Marketplace. With van build-outs being so popular, many people are selling the seats that come with their newly purchased vans so they can do custom builds. We got ours for half the price of current retail value!

Once the bench was in, we took our van into a local shop who redid the interior walls with a pinewood paneling. We added a few track lights on dimmer switches, a usb outlet, AC power outlet, and a small switchboard.

Big Blu also has two batteries that charge whenever we’re driving. Once we’ve arrived at our destination, we can turn the van off while still using the electricity powered by the batteries. The batteries can last up to 10 hours before needing to be charged. This helped us out incredibly when 2020 hit with Stay-at-Home mandates and Chris couldn’t work at his office. Big Blu became his saving grace as he’d drive to the beach and work from the van all day.