Monday, 17 November 2014

Welcome to My New Home!

Way back in December 2011 I posted a tour around my 1995 German motorhome. Now finally I've again got around to showing off Klaus the Knaus, who's just had a makeover to revive his nineteen year old fraying upholstery and holey flooring.   For anyone who stumbles upon this blog for the first time, Klaus is for the moment, my main abode.  I co-parent my eleven year old son, Louis so, for half the time, he lives here too. Luckily the main site where we park up  is right on the school bus route.

When the door to the main living space is left open, I've realised that  there's a bit of a gallery thing going on for the benefit of passers by.  I thought that I was going to treat myself to the lovely 'Light Living' letterprint by Lesley & Pea to hang here but it wouldn't have fitted when framed up. Instead I've improvised and there's a jolly 'Take Hart' thing on view. Those pictures that Lou brought home at the end of the school year has been blu-tacked up. After all,  It's nice to have  reminders of my kid  at the times when he's back with his dad and experiencing the contrast of living a conventional life in a brick house.

I found out that it's blooming difficult trying to photograph the inside of the van.  I hope I've done it justice.  In reality it's way lighter in daytime than these pictures suggest. This was taken from the  bed above the cab and shows the main living area,   Mr Metrosexual reckons there's a bit of an Austin Powers thing going on but I beg to differ. It's funky retro, yes, but in an understated calming way.

The king sized bed is where Lou sometimes holes up to read or game. He's been known to fit six of his mates up there with him.  It's supposed to be my own little peace and quiet zone. Is nothing sacred? You'll notice that neither of us like to skimp on fluffy pillows! The tray substitutes for a bedside table though needs a squirt of sealant before I use it to put my morning cuppa on again. A leaky spillage didn't do that pristine white bedding any good at all.

This is Lou's own cosy sleeping space, which, like mine is reached by a ladder.  The great thing about the design of my van is that there is no need to make up beds by messing about with table heights and retrieving bedding from cupboards.  Climbing up and down isn't at all onerous for us nimble footed travelling types. That London Underground duvet set was chosen by Lou from George at Asda.  He's taken to asking me to name a couple of stations, he finds them and then sees how many routes there are between them! The furry thing is Bart, his bison from Yellowstone.  There's a cuddly Dennis the Menace and some rats around somewhere too.

Other toys are kept under one of the seats.  With their love of technology kids don't play with lots of things these days. Lou's not making up games to play with his bedding because he feels deprived! Other than a phone and computer he has a bike, sports gear, cards, a few Nerf guns, loom bands and a couple of board games. They seem to be all he needs. He does his homework on the back table.  It's working well though let's hope he's not asked to make a paper mache scale model of the Colosseum anytime soon.

My bathroom is compact and bijou.  I wanted to say Mostyn but that would have been so cliche. The space for ablutions is nowhere near as small as the cloakroom at my substantial Brixham house. There, the door butts against your knees as you sit on the loo and water splashes upwards from a teeny tiny washbasin.  Not ideal.

Here, there's space to swing a larger than average kitten and even a secret shower. The tap pulls out from the sink to reveal a long hose that can be hung on the wall.  It's never used though as it would be too heavy on water consumption.  Instead we do a runner to the shower block in our dressing gowns and come back to dress in the sub tropical van. The small electric fan heater from Lidl that is tucked under the main table more than does the job as far as heating is concerned.  If there is a power cut or no hook up a bottled gas powered central heating system acts as back up.

This space is a bit clinical at the moment. I'd like to see if I can make it more homely.  I've tried adding ceramics that I've made myself and some pretty hanging bags but it needs more than that to create that cosy touch.

Here's a different view of a substantial part of our living space taken from its rear end!  That seat in the cab with my hippy poncho hanging on it swivels to give more seating for guests. There's been a few of those since I moved in.  Seven of us continued the revelries here after Sugar Plumb's Dia de Los Muertos party.   Someone was even grateful enough to leave me a full wine box type thing full of rather good organic cider! I've had a reiki treatment on a dropped down table and Scary Secretary stayed over after Thursday's Passenger concert. She is sorely jealous of the small amount of cleaning that such a compact living space warrants.

I'm not showing off the cab at the moment.  Phase two of the revamp will see its seats reupholstered by the Stitching Workshop in Exeter.  David who owns the company once made a bag for Sean Connery that 'stars' in a James Bond movie. How's that for a recommendation?  I'll also have a new removable footwell carpet made in a muted chocolate colour that will match that newly laid funky vinyl which is a light reflecting silver with tiny chocolatey dots.

Here's my kitchen with its nifty folding worktop.   My two ring burner is on display. Am I the only person thinking that sounds a bit rude?  That's the second lot of 'Carry On' innuendo and quite enough for one post. Let's get back to sensible talk.

Underneath the drop down portion of the worktop  is a sink. The tap above is a bit of a giveaway. The unit houses a cupboard and a fridge that's fairly substantial in the motorhome scheme of things. Above are more cupboards for provisions. I also keep veggies in a plastic box under the back seat. Once Red Mel slept there and said that there was an awful smell.  I put it down to an olfactory hallucination until I found a six month old cabbage that I'd forgotten about. You live and learn.  My quartermastering skills have improved since then.

Storage has been thought out so that extras, over and above what would be taken on short trips can be accommodated.  I've worked out that you can never have too many hooks or bungees!  My entrance area is now the place where underwear, coats, keys, shoes and rubbish is stored.  It works well. I think I've got homes for all my kitchen stuff sussed to perfection too. It's all about keeping utensils and gadgets to a minimum, substituting similar ingredients in recipes to use what I have, shopping little and often and not taking advantage of too many of those multi-buy bargains.

Other areas need a rethink.  I still haven't quite got the wardrobe space sussed so that getting clothes in and out are stress free. A new cubby hole for bed linen and miscellaneous bits and bobs in a void above the cab also needs work. I'm sure I'll get there. Without all that routine house maintenance to occupy my brain there's plenty of scope to come up with clever solutions.

Inevitably there's some niggles about this way of living that I'll share in a later post. Again I think I'll find ways around them. However time and money savings and the ability to move my home to places where the view in the morning is this good definitely more than make up for any small inconveniences.

It's a strange thing to say but living this way feels very dignified.  Not sure why but this is the word that keeps coming to mind.  I hope that I've shown you that this is not about sacrifice but rather I am very privileged to be able to call this beautifully quirky and versatile small comfy space,  home, sweet home for both me and my boy.


  1. Love it. Great photos!

  2. It looks great. Please may we have a photo of the outside? Just to check that it isn't actually the Tardis!

  3. Will do a feature post on the outside once I've cleaned it. I promise it's a van and not a Tardis! x

  4. Really clever use of good as a cottage. Better, you can move in a minute! And the idea of less cleaning certainly appeals...

  5. It looks fab and very cosy. Love the upholstery fabric!

  6. It looks marvellous. I am sure that you will find just the right places to store things as and when you use them; all new accomodation takes time to get used to.

  7. Glad you all like it. I'm chuffed! x

  8. Love it! Am I imagining things or are there two tables / seating areas?

  9. Yes there are two seating areas! This layout is quite unusual and lends itself to being divided up and lived in by more than one person. Even though the space is quite small there seems to be room to 'escape' from each other when that's needed. x

  10. Hiya, sorry to be late posting, have only just got internet.
    Thank you for sharing your lovely 'van. The new upholstery is really fab, can't see the detail on the flooring, but I am sure it makes a real difference. You have inspired me to get ours done, maybe next year. I was surprised to see two table areas but as you say it works well in your situation. Your bathroom is bigger than ours - which is the same as your 'house' cloakroom, we knock our knees when sitting down, but we do have a good size, almost domestic shower which is perfect when we are staying on aires.

    I understand your minor frustrations about still having areas to sort out, I am still not completely adjusted to our new layout (since May); we were able to 'evolve' in our previous motorhome as it started off as leisure vehicle then adapted for full-timing. The trouble is that for the first 5 months of us owning this 'van we were working full-time (and had the use of the awning) and since then we have been travelling, so the 'tweaks' will now have to wait until we get back to UK next spring. Hopefully by then I will have more of an idea about what is necessary and how to do it!

    Have a lovely break - I would say I am jealous with you being in France, but we are in southern Spain, in the sun, just about to cross into Portugal for the next couple of months, so don't think I have much to complain about!! Take care, and thanks for sharing. X

  11. My daughter who is 13 loves your son's bedding! I love your nook, and would almost look forward to a rainy day where I didn't have to leave, and curling up there with a book. envious in Minnesota, USA.

  12. love it , have you watched any of the tiny house programmes ? lots of useful ideas for storage and multifunctonal space over there :)

    1. Yes it's a bit of a favourite of mine these days! x