Tag Archives: campervan overhead lockers

Quick trip away, new bike, no more exams and lots on the van!

Cor, busy, eh?

Since I last posted Jake has finished his GCSE exams. He thinks he did OK, and he seemed happy enough after each one, so fingers crossed he’ll have done what he needs to get the grades college are asking for. Time will tell, roll on August 25th!

Meantime, he’s hoping to get some extra hours in at work so he can start saving for his 125cc motorbike when he turns 17 in December.  He’ll be able to use a 125 to get to Lincoln at back (for college) and he much prefers this idea to the bus (personally, I’d rather he used the bus!)

Speaking of bikes, we’ve upgraded Jake’s! His original bike was great but a bit on the slow side to be riding on Lea Road (which is a 40 mph) so we upped it to a slightly nippier one which will allow him to ride WITH the traffic rather than holding it all up. It’s a nice looking thing now that Nik has done a custom sticker job on it!


It’ll do him for work until he can up it to something suitable for his college run.
Nik, being Nik, managed to sell his old one within hours of listing it on eBay. Bonus!

I also had a quick weekend jolly to my sister’s last weekend. That was fun. She’s got herself a new job (after 6 months without one) so we had a bit of a celebration weekend. That and a belated birthday treat of afternoon tea in Folkingham which was lovely.

Yummy Yummy
Yummy Yummy (and yes, that’s my tea WITH milk!)

So, aside from afternoon teas, bikes and exams, about the only thing that’s been happening (aside from work being busy, but you really don’t want to read about that!) is, guess what? The van!

Nik got tons done while I was away last weekend. He made lots of lovely doors for overhead lockers and kitchen units; routing them with super curvy edges and knock-on trim.

Routing roundy corners
Routing roundy corners
Routing grooves for knock-on trim
Routing grooves for knock-on trim
Knocking in trim
Knocking in trim
Vinyl-covered door-y goodness
Vinyl-covered door-y goodness
The under-oven cupboard and the drawer above the fridge (as well as the fridge door itself) will all be covered/re-covered with silver. We're not liking the black vinyl here.
The under-oven cupboard and the drawer above the fridge (as well as the fridge door itself) will all be covered/re-covered with silver. We’re not liking the black vinyl here.

The fridge electrics were finished (12v and 240v) and the gas lines were fitted properly so we could, when we’re feeling brave enough, actually put some gas in the tank and try them all out.

Like I said, when we’re feeling brave enough!

Fridge connected to 12v, 240v and gas!
Fridge connected to 12v, 240v and gas!

There’s a slide out shelf, above the fridge, which can be removed (along with the drawer) for fridge maintenance.

Slidey outy shelfy thingie
Slidey outy shelfy thingie
Slidey outy drawer thingie
Slidey outy drawer thingie

While I was away (Nik gets a lot done when I’m not about because he has no one getting in his way. Apparently, at times it is like trying to “do plumbing with an orangutan”! His exact words which he is NOT allowed to forget he said!), Nik also sussed out fitting our kitchen taps which were proving to be a bit of a challenge because our worktop was deeper than the stem.

Oops. That's not gonna work!
Oops. That’s not gonna work!
Template time
Template time
More routing to make space underneath for the tightening nuts
More routing to make space underneath for the tightening nuts
Ta-da! Isn't he a clever sort?
Ta-da! Isn’t he a clever sort?


Since coming back from my sister’s, we’ve not spent much time in the van until yesterday (Friday).

I did manage to paint the inside of the wardrobe walls though during the afternoons. We’ve just used a satin paint to take the wood edge off it and make it a bit lighter, brighter and more inviting for storage  – because, you know, storage needs to feel welcome!

First panel (the wardrobe/bathroom wall) was painted out of the van...
First panel (the wardrobe/bathroom wall) was painted out of the van…
... the second (wardrobe/bed) panel was done in the van. A much splatterier job!
… the second (wardrobe/bed) panel was done in the van. A much splatterier job!

While I was painting outside, Nik was tidying up electrics inside. It’s al much neater in the overhead locker “control panel” section now and, apart from the kitchen light which still has to be wired up to the switch, almost done and ready for trimming and fitting.

Additionally, he finished felt-lining the overhead lockers fully (I cut all the felts to size while Nik was in the van, and he glued it all in)

Felt-lined lockers and an almost-finished control panel
Felt-lined lockers and an almost-finished control panel

I also became re-acquainted with my sewing machine! We have 3 sets of curtains to hang and they all need modifying in some way or another.

Curtain cut in half and pinned ready for sewing
Curtain cut in half and pinned ready for sewing
Been a while since I've used this old girl
Been a while since I’ve used this old girl

Firstly, The ones for the rear doors. The 2 rear windows were going to use one pair of curtains: one curtain on each door, but we discovered that it wasn’t possible to open them fully to one side because a full curtain width took up too much space across the small window still. So, I halved each single curtain and hemmed the insides. The look pretty good now and will hopefully open better each side of the windows. We just have rails to make for the back doors first (we only have one “demo rail” at present)

Then, we figured out what sort of pole to use for the main living area window and test hung those. The length will be adjusted once the seating cushions are here because we’ll be better able to gauge how long we want them then.

Loving the colours though!
Loving the colours though!

Hanging a set on the sliding door is going to be more of a challenge and will probably involve 2 taut net curtain wires, one top and one bottom, to keep the curtain from flapping when the door is opened or closed.

Also, today, we’ve started on the dreaded bathroom! All walls have been built, including the passageway wall which we hadn’t previously constructed, at we’ve begun lining them with the waterproof shower/wet room wall finish. It’s a tricky process and everything will need silicon sealant around it to make it watertight enough to shower in, but it’s going OK so far.

The shower/wet room wall finish
The shower/wet room wall finish

Tomorrow will be a super-busy day, lining the rest of the walls as well as lining the hall/passageway side of the wardrobe and bathroom with the silver finish…and routing out door holes.

Full, person-size door holes.

That’ll be fun.

Any messy!





Kitchens, worktop, beds, bikes, birthdays and doggie grooming!

Busy week!Of course, the Bank Holiday weekend meant that the week was already destined to be busier than usual, and the week was packed with “stuff” apart from work!

I had (clearly without realising it was a post-bank-holiday Tuesday) booked Zac in to be groomed on Tuesday afternoon so it was super-hectic what with work and orders and then having to fit in two additional trips to town to drop off and fetch back Zac from the groomers.

It was the first time he’d ever been done (apart from the odd times we trim around his docked tail and feathery back end!) so we had no idea how he’d look, but we took recommendation and got booked in to Tybellas and we are thrilled with the result.


He looks even teenie tinier now (he’s actually nearly 2!) but he’s completely adorable and we found lots of yummy spots under all those feathers and fluff.


We did also manage to find a bit of time to celebrate my birthday this week. I feel I ought to mention that because it was a great day and I thoroughly enjoyed my free meal out at Damon’s in Lincoln (Steak, please!)

Apart from work, of course, the rest of the time has been spent on, you guessed it, van!

We’ve been super busy though. We sneaked an hour or so earlier in the week to have a wee play with overhead locker doors. The overhead lockers, as I’ve mentioned before, have been one of those things (along with the upcoming “bathroom build”) that have been a dread, and even once the lockers were up and looking good, we still have the doors to decide on.

I ordered a variety of hinges from Magnum Motorhomes and we headed down the back to work out what we could use where and what worked best.

We settled on 2 mini 90 degree snap hinges and a strut to hold it open. It works rather well.

We also had no real clue about what to actually use AS doors. We’d like black conti board but nowhere sells it locally (and buying it online means extortionate postage because, well, it’s BIG!) so we decided we’d use white and cover it with black vinyl.

Before covering
Before covering
After rough covering. Red pencil for effect as we’d having red handles.

Obviously, the edges will be trimmed off and we have a couple of types of knock on edging to experiment with to finish off the look. It’s still a work in progress, of course. There’s so much else to do!

We also fitted another silver end panel and experimented with the silver bead trim which will also go along the front bottom edge of the overheads.

Worktop is neither fitted or trimmed in this pic, obviously.

The bead edging works quite well so it’ll be handy stuff.

Also, randomly, we now have one mattress for the bunks. They’re an odd size and have corners cut off where the van back corners are, so I wasn’t sure what size to get. The top bunk is 2ft x 5ft9 and the bottom is 2ft x 6ft. I ordered one 5’9 mattress to see if we could either squash it into the top bunk (despite the corners) or, if not, use it on the bottom and pad out the narrower ends.

As it was, it fitted perfectly into the 5’9 top so I’ve ordered a 2×6 for the bottom now.

Eliot approved
Eliot approved.

Today, we’ve been super-busy doing a ton of stuff to mark off the to-do list.

Around watching the MotoGP practises and qualifying, the kitchen unit was fitted with a shelf in the far end and all the water pipes we routed where the sink will be.

Then ALL the gas pipework was measured and routed behind the kitchen unit and up for the 3-way fridge, the cooker and the hob.

3 gas lines for appliances.
3 gas lines for appliances.
One full gas rail! (they’re only loosely run, not fitted yet)

We also fitted the heat shield barrier, behind where the cooker sits, to protect the van and wiring in the cavities.


After this was fitted, it became apparent that we really needed to look at the drawer, which sits above the fridge, and the kitchen worktop itself.  We’d been saving drawer runners from the lots of furniture we’ve dismantled over the past 6 months or so, but when it came to it, we still didn’t have a full usable set! Quite how that happened, I’ve no idea. We had loads, but not a full useful set!

Anyway, a trip to B&Q later and we decided we’d probably have to buy a drawer pack which has runners, sides, bottom and base, and trim or extend to fit our oddly-sized cavity (which we couldn’t buy until we’d come home and actually measured said oddly-sized hole!)

As it happened, in conversation with our neighbour, it turned out he has several of these drawer packs just in his shed, unused and unneeded, so we didn’t even have to buy them, and it came out really well (pic will follow after I’ve waffled about the worktop!)

So, worktop: nightmare!

As we have second-hand appliances and fittings (hob and sink/drainer) we have no templates to cut anything out so we had to measure everything quite meticulously to avoid making an expensive mistake.

The sink itself is just a large oblong so no real challenge beyond ensuring the inner batons that make up the unit’s frame don’t interfere with the fit of the drainer, but the hob presented a whole other challenge. In the end, for the hob, we made an estimated template and worked with a piece of scrap 3mm ply as a demo/practice sheet (so we could then use THAT piece as a template)

The initial cut was OK and after a few tweaks to it, we laid it on the worktop and pencilled out the cut shape we needed.

Scary. SCARY! And an expensive mistake if it went wrong!

It didn’t go wrong though, and despite the, quite honestly, horrific jigsaw blades we had (bought new and supposedly “for the job”!), the holes were cut.

Can we have a sigh of relief, please?
Can we have a sigh of relief, please?
Can we have an even bigger sigh of relief, please?!
Can we have an even bigger sigh of relief, please?!



And with the drawer in (front to be added when doors are done), it’s even MORE awesome!

It’s a huge step in the right direction and quite a weight off my mind. There’s still so much to do.

Wardrobe, bathroom (*shudder*), cupboard doors aplenty and the seat boxes to trim (and measure for seating/bed cushions!) as well as curtain rails to make, curtains to sort, the list goes on and on and on.

Here’s to another busy day tomorrow… around the Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP races!

Meanwhile, I’ll just leave this here and a poignant reminder to the hazards that motorbike racers deal with on a daily basis. Such a tragic loss of someone so young and with so much to live for.

Ride free, Luis.

Luis Salom Moto2


A quick (probably not) update of stuff, things and whatnots

How’s that for no useful search engine keywords?!

It’s not even been a week since my last post, but we’ve been super-busy so I thought I’d update anyway.

Jake has had his first maths (higher) exam and he seemed quite pleased with how it went. There were some questions towards the end (the A/A* ones) which he said he couldn’t do but he was confident he’d done enough to pass the paper, which is the best we can hope for. Considering he’s only been studying properly since January, I’m super-proud of how he’s done. He’s got a short break from exams now (it’s half term so there aren’t any) before he has both English papers and his second maths paper the following week. There’s a bit of work to do before then, but I’m sure he’ll be fine.

Work is getting very hectic. It’s been pre-TT so everyone needs everything weeks ago (because, you know, their bikes won’t work without that sticker/screen/insert-random-vanity-trickbit-here)

We’ve started using “Drop & Go” at the Post Office which has definitely been a blessing. Being able to just drop the postbag in, rather than queueing, is AWESOME!

Busy work means that van business has had to wait until after tea or weekends mostly. This weekend, being a bank holiday (and, dare I say it, good weather?!) has been productive already.

We’re on lots of finishings at the moment. Wallboards, felting and suchlike.


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The overhead lockers that went in are now felted around the inner edge (and one at the back – just so we could see what it is going to look like!) and silver panelled both on the fronts and underneath. We need to run a trim along the back (wall edge) underneath and the front where the silver panels meet but it’s looking good, and we could finally mount those lights which sit above the sofa area.

As you can see, we’ve also fitted both wall panels on that side, the window trim and the inner window ledges and sides.

Wall panel with window cut-out and edging trim
Wall panel with window cut-out and edging trim
And with its sill and inner sides
We also did the kitchen wall and window
We also did the kitchen wall and window
Looks pretty darn awesome!

Can I just take a moment to say a little about routing?

Oh. My. Goodness! What a hugely messy job.

By our second window, we’d resorted to using multiple taped sheets, but it still got into every nook and cranny.


Messy, messy, messy!
Messy, messy, messy!
Man-at-work shot!
Man-at-work shot!

Routing these boards in situ is scary. One false move and the panel is ruined, so it’d be one expensive mistake if that router slipped!

Added to that, we’d had to build up the inner edge with plywood so that the cut-out was slightly in from the window itself, allowing us to add that edging on the wallboard. This also meant we had to create slightly more curvy corners out of cut wood so that the edging would go around the corners better. It was a tricky thing to do but it worked out really well in the end.

As well as walls, we also faced the kitchen unit. Another exercise in how much you have to cut out to make stuff look good!

Furniture board glued to the front of the kitchen unit
Furniture board glued to the front of the kitchen unit
and after routing!
and after routing!

Hopefully, the cut-outs will be useful for panelling other bits or that’s a lot of money sitting as leftovers!

As well as panelling, we also tested the water system. We filled the fresh water tank (mounted underneath the van) and checked that the water level registered on the gauge.

It did. Phew!
It did. Phew!

We fitted the kitchen and bathroom taps onto the pipework and pressurised the system. The pump worked beautifully filling the pipes and the hot water tank. Then we opened each tap, one at a time, checking they all worked and making sure we had no leaks.

Taps, pipes, buckets and sink!
Taps, pipes, buckets and sink!

There was one small leak on a joint in the (secondhand) hot water tank, but easily fixable.

We also tested filling the bathroom sink and draining it to see if the waste pipes worked OK. The bathroom sink and shower waste actually merge before going through the van floor to the waste tank and despite our efforts, we were worried that the sink, when emptied, would flow back through the shower waste and up the shower plug hole.

We were right to be concerned.
It did!

So, one non-return valve ordered and the problem will be sorted. At least we know now.

So we have a felted bed-end, walls, windows and overhead lockers.
So we have a felted bed-end, walls, windows and overhead lockers.

That photo was taken before the overhead lockers were done underneath, but it’s certainly starting to take shape.

And there’s a whole other day tomorrow!

Tomorrow’s plans are to finish the underside of the overhead (still with me!) lockers, to fit the kitchen strip LED lighting and to felt and panel the side sliding door. I insulated the sliding door today (which is why we’re working ’round the back of the van so the side door can be closed) so it’s ready for covering.

We’re felting it around the edges and into the window (because old work vans looks dinted and bumped!) and then we’ll panel where the van panels have been in the same board as the walls so it’ll all coordinate with our “lounge” area. The removable table will probably be stored here too so we need to sort out how we’re doing that too.

So much to do…so little time!

Maybe this blog should be called “when van is everything”?!

I’m kidding, obviously, because we’re not spending every hour on the van (chance would be a fine thing) but it sure feels like it’s the only thing I post photos of. That, in fact, is due to the kids not wanting their photos taken and the van doesn’t object.Eliot used to feature in most of the photos on my phone. Sadly, those days are long gone.

Fortunately, there's one who doesn't mind posing!
Fortunately, there’s one who doesn’t mind posing!

Anyway, apart from the usual work and school, there’s not much occurring, but I did want to post a quick van update before it became too long and I lost the will to do it.

We’ve kind of reached a stage where stuff is going in and staying in, and it’s all getting a bit real now.

The overhead lockers were dug out of their storage place (where they have literally been for over half a year; they were done and stored by the beginning of November!) and the silver finishing board was cut and glued on and then the openings routed out.


We had to remove a row of screws from the roof panels because these were along the line to which the top baton of the lockers fixes. We had to make sure everything was secure and solid and then screw back to the walls and up to the roof (no mean feat!)

The white paper is just holding the silver board to the wood while the glue dries

We’ve tried not to use too much in the way of tacks/nails because they’re a bit visible (although inevitable) but they’ve actually come out pretty good.

The locker partitions are done and the bed end is on!
The locker partitions are done and the bed end is on!

The router is terrifying! These locker holes were done on the work bench but the windows have to be done in situ!

Window cavities were panelled out before the wall board finish is added

It was a complicated process because we then had to add a temporary further layer of board and sound roundy corners to make sure that the router followed a nice line just inside the window line (so we can run an edging strip around it)

Wallboard glued and lightly tacked to the wall
Wallboard glued and lightly tacked to the wall
Routering it out
Routing it out
Looks good!
Looks good!

We also bought the kitchen worktop this week. Previous converters have laminated a thick piece of ply but we decided that a piece of 28mm worktop would do the job. It’s only a 6ft run and once the hob and sink and drainer and cut out, there’ll not be much weight left!

I initially looked at the B&Q 28mm stuff but our store didn’t stock it and we couldn’t be bothered to drive to the nearest store that did, so we looked in Howdens, borrowed a friends trade discount (thank god we did! They’re EXPENSIVE in there!) and found the perfect worktop to match our wallboard. It’s cut to length and currently being used as a workbench!


There’s so much more to do though.

Nik keeps saying that we’re nearly there but it honestly feels a mile away! Still, baby steps, I guess.

We did get some garden work done over the last week too (by “we” I mean “Nik”, of course)


He hoed over the veggie plot so the weeds done go all crazy wild!
He hoed over the veggie plot so the weeds don’t go all crazy wild!

The peas are all staked and netted now so they should be good to go, and the potatoes have doubled in size already since I took that photo!

The nice weather has been great for the garden but it’s a bit of a pain having to take away from “van time” to get the grass cut or the garden hoed!

The garden always looks good when the grass is cut though!
The garden always looks good when the grass is cut though!

Apart from that, nothing much is doing. Jake’s approaching his first exam so he’s concentrating on making sure he’s as maths-crammed as is humanly possible, but he’ll be fine. He’s a bright kid. He’s come on so much in the last 6 months that he’s almost a different person now.

He’s independently getting himself to and from work on his scooter and he’s come out of his shell a lot.
I’m excited to see how he grows and learns over the next few years.

I’ve switched Eliot’s school from focussing on Maths to concentrating  a bit more on English. He did some writing and currently we’re reading his book and every so often I’ll read out a paragraph and he’ll type it. We’re using it to develop (and test!) his spelling, and I’ve been surprised actually at just how reasonable his spelling is.
Usually, the only things I see him type are social media posts, so the like and it’s reassuring to know that he actually CAN spell!

It’s a big weight off my mind.

So yeh, all updated, I think… until the next time!