8. Kitchen

Refrigerator – There is a story about our refrigerator.   We decided to take a  protype trip before the van was complete.  Which I highly recommend, so you can make adjustments.    The floorplan was set, everything installed.  Just the walls and ceiling were not in.  Everything worked, it just did not look very good.

The plan was to get a 12 Volt refrigerator freezer.  But time was short and the cost was high ($3000).   So, I decided for this short summer trip I would buy a standard 10cu ft frig. which was the same size as the 12 volt fridge I had planned on.  Interesting thing was the that cost of shipping the 12 volt fridge from the dealer was about $300 and the total cost of the fridge we purchased was less than $300 from Home Depot.

Since this was a standard AC refrigerator, and not 12 volts I thought we might run low on battery power to keep it running.  This was a last minute decision, and  I had not even attempted to calculate the power usage.  My thought was, if it doesn’t work we could gift it to  relative to use in their home or office.

Wow, I am happy we gave this a try.  It worked, and worked well.  We still use it in the van.  The electrical easily provides enough power for the refrigerator.   You see the compressor in the refrigerator does not need to constantly run.  Once the food is cold, it can easily maintain that temperature.  It’s also easier for a full refrigerator to stay cold.  A full refrigerator has less air space to cool , once the food is cold it’s easy to keep it cold.  It’s also nice to know that if it ever fails it will be easy to locate a replacement at a relatively low cost.  This is something to think about in your planning.

Ensure that in your design, that the refrigerator can be easily removed.  You don’t want to disassemble your entire van if your refrigerator needs service or replacement.

You will see in many of my videos how happy I am to have a real freezer.  Relative to most van builds we have a very large refrigerator and a large sink.   I highly recommend both – it was the right choice and I have no regrets.  Love the ability to have a Popsicle from that freezer on a hot day!

The Sink – There are a few things that stand out in our build.  Most notable the large refrigerator, large sink, marine hatch, and the roof deck.  In this case, I am talking about the sink.  Our sink measures 25” x 22” x 10 inches deep. I wanted a sink large enough that our spaghetti pot would fit inside.   Is see many van build with little bar sinks.  That was just too small for me.   Our sink has a track that allows a cutting board to be placed inside.  Giving us ample counter space.  It also eliminated the need for a countertop.  This worked out really nice!

I highly recommend a large sink, that can incorporate a cutting board or colander.   Our came with a drying rack which I thought was nice, but we found we don’t use it.   In actual use we keep the colander and cutting board in place.    Be sure when buying a sink it has what I call the “Crumb Catcher” that fits in to the sink drain.  This keeps large debris from entering your grey tank.

Sink Sprayer – We don’t have a standard sink faucet.  Actually we don’t have one at all.  We use a special sink sprayer with can be always on, or just the spray function when pressed.  This is much better than a faucet that could be left on!   You need to remember this is a van with limited water.  To many people try to make it like a house!    Check out our Sprayer at this link

Sink:                 Pumps              UV sterilizer 


Sink Grey Tank – That brings up another design consideration.  I placed a 5 gallon grey tank under our van.  It works great, no problems.  You can do this, or place a 5 gallon jerry can under the sink.  Our van has a dedicated 5 gallon grey tank for the sink.   It is mounted under the van up between the frame.  This grey tank can be drained with the flip of a switch using an electronic ball valve.  For information about installing the grey tank see the plumbing section of this guide.     Link to Ball Valves

The Oven – We selected a propane oven and stove top.  The reason for using propane – It was an easy way to get an oven in the van.  If you want to bake some cookies, a pie, or even Pizza – you need an oven.  Also, what if there was some type of electrical problem?  I don’t want to rely only on one system.  Having both Electric and Propane provides some flexibility.  This is a link to our oven.  The stovetop grate, and oven shelf are the only things that rattle and make noise when we are driving.  The solution to this is placing a towel under the glass stovetop cover.

The Oven

Oven Surround –  After creating the frame for the sink and oven I went to work creating a surround for the oven.  This may be more than needed.  I used hardy concrete board and cut panels to completely surround the oven.  This was done for two reasons.  1. To isolate the heat away from the seat, wall and lower drawer.  2. If any grease or other liquids spill I did want them soaking into the surrounding area creating a fire hazard.

Oscillating Tool Kit w/standard blades          Carbide Oscillating Blades    

Water Filtration – We have a reverse osmosis water system installed in the garage area of the van.  It filters and cleans our water.  For more information on this system see the plumbing section of this guide.

R.O. Water Filtration   

Laundry Chute – Something that many forget to include in the layout of their van is a place for dirty laundry.  We included a laundry chute.   It’s a flip down panel that leads into the garage area.   Inside we have a waterproof bag that is held into place with large binder clips.  When it’s time to do laundry we take out the bag from the garage area.

Hinges      Used for the Laundry Chute.

GFCI Outlets       This brand of GFCI works well with inverters.

AC Timer      I used this timer for the water heater.

AC with switch     This switch was used for the UV Sterilizer.

DIY EASY Store Cookware Materials

Blue Diamond Pans       

Safety Glasses         

 Face shield           

Angle Grinder       

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