How I built a home for £750

A van is the best way to travel around Europe with a paraglider. I have traveled by plane with my paraglider and its not much fun. My kit is really big and pretty heavy. A van is the perfect answer, not only do I not have to carry my kit as much, but I can also drive to launch sites.

Day 1 — Buy the van

When making a big purchase, whether it be an expensive handbag, a laptop or a car I always view and compare 3 similar items. Minimum. This allows me to make an informed decision on whatever I am spending money on. It also gives me leeway to haggle as well as an easy way out of any pressure to buy then and there.

Saturday morning was spent on Gumtree finding vans that were available to view that afternoon. I lined up 3. The first had suspension problems, the second was a definite no and the third had a heavy clutch. Not wanting to waste any more time I bit the bullet, shook Fred’s hand and was given the keys to my new home — A £650 red Renault Kangoo. (the third).

The Kangoo in Spain

Day 2 — Build the bed and side unit

I know absolutely nothing about woodwork, building and DIY. I spent Saturday evening sweet talking a couple of friends (Scott and Lewin) to help me build the bed and unit. Sunday morning involved a trip to Wickes where I bought the following;

1 x OSB2 (orientated strand board) — £15.75

5 x CLS Studwork — £10.50

2 x Foam sheet — £30

1 x Hooks — £4.49

5 x Screws £2.45

Total — £63.19

The following items were also used, but were either free or found in the tool box!







In the afternoon interior measurements of the van were taken, Scott built the frame of the bed using the batons, glue and screws. Using the same wood he added the legs and finally cut the OSB to size and screwed it in place. Meanwhile Lewin also used the batons for the frame of the unit. We then found some cheap ply wood in the shed and used that for the work surface of the unit. The total time spent building — 5.5 hours.

Day 3 & 4 — Make the van into a livable space

After spending £34.76 in Ikea I had storage boxes, fabric, Swedish biscuits and some other little nik naks. I was ready to set to work;

Step 1 — Glue the foam to the bedframe to make a mattress. Put a single duvet on top (for comfort). Staple gun fabric over both to keep in place.

Step 2 — Cut fabric to fit over interior side panels in van. Sew 3 pockets onto the panel above bed for extra storage. Staple gun fabric panels to wooden panels.

Step 3 — Drill holes into bed frame and kitchen unit for hanging storage basket.

Step 4 — Regret not doing step 3 first. So much sawdust to clean up.

Step 5 — Attatch washing line to windows and unit for curtains.

Step 6 — Make and attach curtains.

Step 7 — Cut and staple gun fabric to ceiling of van.

Step 8 — Make room tidy for storage

Step 9 — Remove washing line from rear windows and replace with Velcro. (washing line and curtains are too heavy for sticky back hooks to hold up).

Step 10 — Add Velcro to curtains and put up.

Step 11 — Use blackboard paint on one of the panels.

Step 12 — Make cushions

Step 13 — Final hoover and clean, make bed and put cushion in van.

Step 14 — Load van up with EVERYTHING needed!

Goal 4 — Show off, admire and drive the van to France!

Total cost

Van £650

Materials £63.19

Accessories £34.76

Total — £747.95