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I am a Primary School teacher just about to move to the Bristol area and after two years of posting very little I am going to make an effort to post a little more often.

Building Rory (Updated June 2012)

I recently discovered that some pictures were missing so I have just added the pictures back onto the page but there are no captions as yet. Any questions ask in the comments.

Kelly bought Rory (a VW transporter T28 84bhp in white) at the start of July 2011, we had both very busy with work, moving house and doing assessments so buying a van had dropped on the priority list. Suddenly we had 20days to find buy and convert a van ready for 4 weeks holiday. 

To see the whole building process we have been through then just keep reading or to see the latest changes scroll down to June 2012.

Carpet from Megavanmats
Vinyl from Megavanmats
Leisure Battery from This Ebay Seller
Insulation from B&Q
Wood from Powells in Cowley, Oxfordshire
Lights from HMS Marine Supplies

Enjoy, please leave comments or questions at the bottom!!

Starting to remove the ply.

After giving it a good wipe and sweep out.
Measuring up some silver matting for under the floor

Adding a layer of sound proofing and insulation using ...(memory blank)
Adding insulation (Earthwool)
Behind the thin grey ply is no all insulated, the roof has not been done yet.
Reshaping the ply in order to maximise the
interior space. We gained  6" of width  in places.
The big smile is because its a new toy.
Kelly using the power tools...scary stuff.
Marking out the carpet ready to be stuck to the newly shaped ply.
Just about the only dry day before we went away!!! Kelly
was at work so I tried to crack on as much as I could. Thankfully
we were living in a flat with a large flattish car park.
Whether it is the official technique or not it worked for me. Lots of snips in the edge allowed the carpet to follow the edge of the ply closely. If its an opposite bend then do lots of snips as above then cut every other flap off.
Kelly got back just in time to finish the last piece of ply.
Very pleased with her work.
One of the most frustrating sections as we carpet line the interior metal was re-attaching the rubber door seal.
Carpeting finished for the day, a bit of a headache but very pleased with the outcome. Still a couple of bits to finish off.
2 days before we are due to leave, we finish
 the carpeting. and attach the carpeted ply back onto
 the van. the two tone colour being admire by Kelly.
Having been pretty ill for 5 days previous I was
pretty pleased to be outside even if i did need to run
 back inside every so often.
Kelly checking she does fit inside...where am I going to fit?
Kelly cutting the vinyl to cover the floor.

The door has not been fully finished as we are going to get a
window put in there at some point.
We are pretty pleased with the finish so far... this was taken the afternoon before
we  were due to leave.

During the evening and the morning before leaving we made a bed in an L-shape which had the bottom of the L part being a solid, fixed piece whilst the rest was able to be pulled out in 3 stages to form a 3/4 sized double bed. 

Whilst we were away for 3.5weeks we decided that the bed needed to be changed, it worked OK but was a little bit fiddly. When back I dismantled a futon which we no longer used and that has made into the bed which still pulls out but is much more fluid.

Bed pulled out.

Bed pushed away

During a recent trip away biking in south and mid Wales we have decided to redesign the interior to make it more suited to us, we have bought a bike rack for example, so now the bikes will never need to be inside the van, this has given us a load more space to play with. I am pretty excited about the new design and will update this as and when it happens.

The plan below was changed, scroll past this part to the latest update (we are nearly there).

Jan 2012

Work has now started to change the interior set up. The plan is to:

1) Move the L bottom from behind the seats to the barn door end. this will have a storage flap on the drivers side but the passenger side of the L will be on a hinge so it can be folded out the way to allow for the occasional longer load.

Making a mess
Perfect mock up.
 2) Add a fixed cooking unit, where the bottom of the L is currently that will be built up a little to give storage underneath and a space for the stove to sit...it will probably be built to allow for an upgrade to a Smev unit.

3) To add a wardrobe/cupboard behind the drivers seat to reduce the 'living out of a bag' feeling.

If I was to give someone a suggestion it would be to make a very simple basic bed and then give it a few trips of trying to think what works best for you before committing to a full on build..

While Kelly is Away

Kelly is away this week as part of her PGCE course, the Pyrenees, so I went to have a window fitted at Banwy Vans. They were fantastic, I had arranged to be there by for 9.00, I got stuck in traffic and roadworks so it was gone 10.00 when I got there, I was made tea and then following a quick conversation the van was straight into the workshop. I went off on a bike ride and had a great time whilst Rory had some loving. They knew I was planning to camp out that night before collecting the van in the morning but I got a text message to let me know that I could collect it that afternoon. Superb service and their work its fantastic. 

I will take a picture in the morning to add to here.

June 2012
We have eventually installed the lights that we bought back in January, I need to take a better picture of them but they look really good and light up the van well. Thank you to Sarah at HMS Marine Supplies for your good service. 

We took a trip down to my grandparents house last week to do an overhaul of the van. We are very pleased with the results and are really looking forward to getting out with it very soon.

Van emptied of all woodwork. You can see
 the lights at the top of the 3 panels.

We were running short on time (and patience) and forgot to get shot of just the boxes in.

The boxes, that back support above and bed leg have now all been painted and it looks 'awesome'. All Kelly needs to do know is upholster it.


  1. You are both mad...ever heard of a hotel ???


  2. What a great site! We're about to do exactly the same thing and it'll be really helpful to us :) Can I ask what you did all your insulation with? Thanks

  3. @smithsonthemove: The insulation was a form of recycled glass wool from B&Q. It wasnt the cheapest but it is supposed to not absorb water and therefore reduce risk of rust from condensation.

    Any other questions just ask.


  4. What material is covering the ceiling? It looks so smooth :)

  5. looks a little familiar!

  6. has kelly been pumping iron?

  7. No, she has been to busy screwing!

  8. Dave.
    Good job do far.
    How did you attach the new side panels to the van

  9. The carpeted panels are screwed to the metal work, but not the outside panel. Just make sure you don't use screws that are too long. It was also recommended to use drywall screws, they apparently go into the metal work better, I used them and they went in fine, if you drilled a pilot hole in the metal work first I'm fairly sure that any screw will work. For the barn door and sliding door, someone had already used some corner blocks to secure some ply against them so I just used them again. not super tidy but as the holes were already there and we weren't sure on whether to have window put in or not we kept it simple.

    Thanks very much


  10. Nice job and hope you are enjoying the van. Like the blogg too.

  11. excellent blog given me loads of ideas thank you very much.
    bill k.

  12. excellent blog given me loads of ideas thank you very much.
    bill k.

  13. how many metres of carpet did you use to line the complete van

    1. Tan, I can't remember how much we bought but MegaVanMats do have a 'kit' for carpeting vans out. I bought an extra metre or 2 in the end I think...

  14. and is it the same material on the metal as it is on the ply

    1. Tan, No the materials are two different types, on is more stretchy (metal work) and the other is not stretchy. I was concerned that the stretch one would not be as hard wearing but two years on it still looks great!

  15. Hi Dave,
    I'm planning to line below decks on an old sailing boat using Mega Van Mats Mega Stretch and am wondering how strong the glue fumes are, as I'll be working in a very confined space.

    I understood that you can use a heat gun to mould the Mega Stretch over awkward areas although I can see no mention of this on their web-site. Did you use heat, and if so does it make any fumes significantly worse?


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