Over the years that this was a project I was ‘working on’, it was actually something I wasn’t able to physically work on much. It was about 400kms away for starters and life got in the way.

But, it wasn’t often far from my thoughts. I couldn’t actually do much to work on the space, but I could work on the ideas. Even before I took possession, I had started exploring ideas using Google Sketchup. Look, I’m visual and detail-oriented so 3D design software just made sense. If I have an idea, I want to see if it will work. So, here is the progress of my ideas over time.

These are screenshots of 3D models from 2012. I think measurements were a bit more approximate then (it is all a bit boxy). Clearly I was playing around with the idea of keeping a similar layout to the original van – with a toilet in the middle and a kitchen space.

Here in 2013 I’ve clearly decided to get rid of the toilet and open up space in the centre of the van.

For a while I played around with the idea to build an extension between the caravan and the bathroom. I was also trying to work out how to fit some large glass windows and sliding doors I had salvaged. That one ended up in the ‘that’s too hard for me to build’ basket.

I even got fancy with space saving ideas and designed a table that could sit over the top of kitchen cabinets and then roll completely away to be used as a dining table.

I was also playing around with the idea of lining the floor with panels of plywood.

I didn’t think I would be able to have a full bed, so this plan has an IKEA day bed.

Later in 2013 and things are a lot simpler. More open space, but still a kitchen.

In 2015 I stopped trying to fit a kitchen into the van and focused on making it an open studio space.

This was one of the final interior sketches in 2016, mainly to check that my final ideas would work – fitting in my actual queen size bed frame and a bookshelf.

You can see I have continued playing with what would work outside (that was an idea for a shed/cupboard).

I’ve played around plenty with exterior ideas as well – veggie patches and orchards have moved and changed.  And of course I have lots of ideas of what to build on the block and how to lay it out. One day.

Looking through all the Sketchup files, I am really not sure how much time I’ve spent playing around making cupboards, decks and trees. A lot. But I’m a dork and I find it fun. I can happily get lost in it for hours at a time. Plus I really feel like I have ended up with the most practical and simple resolution for the van space, for me. And sometimes it takes living with it, trying and discarding solutions to get to the one that works best.

I still have not resolved what I eventually want to build on this mostly empty piece of land, so there are many hours of sketching ahead I’m sure.