12. Bed + Garage Area

Bed – When designing your van layout you will need to decide if you want a fixed bed, benches that convert to a bed, or a murphy style bed that folds down.  It was an easy decision for me.  I wanted a van that was less work and more fun.    So, assembling my bed each night was not work I wanted to do.   Also, I want to carry two bikes and have a wide open garage area.  So, a fixed bed design was perfect.

The bikes posed another problem.  That problem is bed height.  I wanted the bed to be low enough that I could sit on the bed and sit up with my back against the wall, to read or work on my laptop.   But, the bed needed to be high enough for the bikes to fit underneath.

Getting this correct was more complicated than it might seem.  Also, when we ordered our bed I expected to buy a 6 inch mattress.  Well, I was over-ruled and we bought the 8 inch mattress!  Which is really, really comfortable!    This is a link to our mattress

Now how to do the fixed bed.  The easiest way I found was to use IKEA bed rails.  They are called: SKORVA Center support beams  These bed rails are expandable; they slide inside of each other making them perfect for any width.  I used three for our bed installation.   I also used the IKEA wood slats called “LURÖY Slatted bed base

In the video below you will see that I prototyped the bed design in my garage.

Bed Mattress  

Bed Rails Beam     

Wood Slats     

Bike Storage – Another feature we wanted in the van is the ability to carry two full size mountain bikes.  To ensure we could do this I used my daughters 10 speed bikes for size.  Then I designed a drawer slide to hold the bikes.   It’s important to take into account the height of the bikes, the bed and the thickness of the drawer slide.

When installing the bike drawer slide I used Riv-Nuts some through the floor and some all the way through to the frame of the van.   The side is 54 inches long, with 500 pound drawer slides.  The sides can handle 500 pounds  – but if I only attached the slides to the floor, the fifty four  inches of leverage would lift the floor.  So the riv-nuts holding the back of the drawer slide are in the steel floor of the van.   Now you may be thinking, in order to do this I needed to remove the floor again.   Your right I did need to remove some of the floor to install the riv-nuts.   When building a van you need be OK with doing thing three or four times to ensure they are done right.

Heavy Duty Drawer Slides with Lock 52″      

Drill Chamfer   

Install Electric Bikes – Even though I designed the drawer slides and bed height to handle a full size mountain bike I always knew I would be purchasing electric bikes.  Well I found a really good deal on some electric bikes.  This is a link to the bikes.   These have been perfect for our use so far, and as you will see in the video below, they fit the drawer slide with room to spare.

Garage Sliding Doors – So, in order to access the garage area from inside the van we needed some type of door.  I didn’t want a standard swinging door since it would be in the way.  So I designed sliding doors.   Interesting thing about this is locating the tracks.  In our search everything I could find just would not work, or wasn’t durable.

When walking through Lowes one day, my wife pointed at something laying on a rack in the lumber section and said would that work for the sliding doors?  I looked at it, and thought yeah, this looks great but what is it.  It was one piece that someone left behind.  Looking around we discovered it was actually plastic lattice cap.  It can be found at Lowes Item #602653 Model #70703 Made out of plastic (polypropylene I think).  It cuts and machines well on the table saw.  It was perfect and its what we used to create the sliding track.  See the details of the build in the video below:

Wheel Well Boxes – The wheel wells pose a problem.  They are round, so not very useable.  To square them up and make the area above them useable we built boxes.  The video below shows the building of the wheel well boxes.   After construction they are insulated with polyiso insulation panel.

Back Door Panels – The back door panel of the van can be very useful.  If designed properly you will be able to install hooks, baskets or something simple to hold your shoes.   I took time to reinforce the back of the 5mm plywood with an additional half inch plywood sheet.  This way in the future I will be able to install hooks or baskets by simply screwing into the panel.  The video below shows how I created the reinforced panels.

Riv-Nut Tool          

1/4″-20 RivNuts     


Titebond III Waterproof Glue       

Water Filtration System – Having clean safe drinking water is important.  Most van builds have some type of filter.  I went to the extreme and put in a reverse osmosis water purification system.    The process of running water through a RO system wastes a lot of water.  So, when I installed the system I put in two valves, basically switches so that I have the choice of running the water through only the filters, or through the filters and the RO Membrane.  When we are getting water from what we consider is a safe source, we use just the filters.  But when the water is from a river, stream or some questionable source we can use the RO system.

Another benefit of the RO system is the pressure tank.  By having this pressure tank we always have water pressure even when the pump is off.  So, we don’t need to turn on the pump just to get a glass of water or to wash our hands etc.  The video below shows the installation and how our water system works.

Also notice that the filters, water tanks, and pumps are in a location that’s easy to reach.  So if anything needs to be serviced or swapped out like the pump or filters, it’s easy to do.  Check out the videos below:

Check Valve    

Pex Swivel     


Locking clips    You will need a few extra locking clips, these keep the tubes from coming loose!

PEX shut off valve     

Hose quick disconnect          

Drawer Slide 52” For Bike Storage        

Cabinet Drawer Slides            

Sharp Drill bits           

Low cost oscillating saw         

Carbide Oscillating saw blades          
Carbide blades cost more, but will last longer.  Creating less frustration!

Pocket Hole Jig             

Dowel center kit     

Birch Edge Banding   

Edge banding trimmer      

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