March 10th a new day for a van build

The van build is coming along well! In the last week, it feels like we have accomplished a good bit. Despite the rainy weather for most of the past week, we were still able to get some stuff done on Raven. The last few days, however, the weather could not have been any more perfect.

We wanted to share a few of the things we have accomplished since our last Journal post.

The Floor is In!

We finished the floor! It is down and boy do we love it! Natalie pretty much tacked this project all on her own. Mind you, this is the first time she has ever laid a floor like this. Despite that fact, it looks as though a professional installed it. We love the blues and grays of the grain. It feels good to walk on. It looks great and will allow an added layer of sound and insulation.

Once we get the counters, cabinets, and sofa completed with our color palette, it is going to look phenomenal! We decided to install the floor from wall to wall and from front to back. The entire floor is now covered with this lock-tight tongue and groove type of installation. All that to say is that it will not be shifting or buckling. We decided to cover the entire floor, even under the bed, cabinets, and sofa in the remote possibility that we decide to change up our floor plan a little. The very back of the van, under the bed, or what we are considering the garage, will have a rubber protective mat.

Our Flares are framed and upholstered

We built our window frames inside of the flares. This is something we really had to figure out on our own. The company we purchased the flares from wanted an additional $800 for the trim kit, We just couldn’t imagine spending that on a few pieces of plastic knowing we have the resolve and tenacity to make something on our own. There are no YouTube videos describing or instructing how to do this. So, like with most of our skoolie and van build, we figured it out on our own. We have to admit, we love the way they fit and look.

We were having a hard time deciding what we wanted to do to the inside of the flares that were just fiberglass. Do we insulate? If so, what do we insulate with as there isn’t that much room and the fiberglass is curved? What do we cover the fiberglass with to give it a “finished” look?

We considered refinishing it a gel-coat. Gel-coat is what many boats are finished with. It would be a smooth but hard surface that could be painted or tinted, but we decided on something we felt would be a little more warm and cozy since that is where our heads will be resting while we sleep.

We decided to go with a leather or leather substitute. No reason to go slaughtering any cows or deer just to make our van look nice. We went to Joanne’s Fabrics and found a nice looking blue “pleather” fabric that turned out great. Now, if would only ship us our slider windows that we ordered and paid for in December, we could finish these flares out completely. The latest update from them is that they should arrive today and be shipped to us next week sometime. Only three months to complete that order. Oy ey!


Today, we are working on our ceiling. We chose to do cedar tongue and groove. It looks nice, smells good and is a natural water repellant and pest deterant. The cedar boards we had picked out and purchased from Home Depot a couple of months ago turned out to be a dud. They locked in nicely long way, however, the ends would not “butt” up or lock in to make a seamless smooth transition from one board to another.

So, we opted for a different brand of cedar tongue and goove and it is going to work out very nicely. The previous cedar we chose had a very warm reddish tint to it. We thought it would have been a nice contrast in color to the other woods and colors we have chosen for our color pallette. The cedar we are actually installing has a more natural “blonde” look to it, so we have decided to put a stain on it to give a little more color.

We dediced to go with a darker blue stain. We can make it as dark as we want by the application, but like the idea of a darker ceiling. We have not seen a skoolie, tiny houser or van build with a blue ceiling before. Most ceilings are a darker brownish or the natural blonde color. We love the idea of having a ceiling that is different and original from other van builds. Besides, the dark blue ceiling is going to look amazing with our fiber optics starry starry night ceiling.

The celing installation is going to be quite different from the one we installed in our bus. We used faring strips anchored to the ribrails and sinmply screwed the tongue and groove pine boards to the faring strips.

This time however, we are going to use plus-nuts anchored into the roof rib-rails and attach 1/4″ plywood sheets that already have the cedar planks and fiber optics already installed. We are hoping that this will not only be easier and quicker to install but should greatly reduce the amount of cursing and arguing between us.

Window Tint

The two side windows we installed a while back as well as the two rear door windows have a bit of tint already to them, but not as much as we’d like for them to have. There was some leftover tint we held onto from our bus build that would be just the right percent of tint to not only give us a little more privacy, but keep things a little cooler in the hotter and more sunny climates.

I am no professional tinter by any means. In fact, that bus was the first time I had ever tinted a window and it took a few trial runs on those windows before I got good enough to where it was acceptable. The two side windows were fairly simple to do. The driver side window looks almost perfect in fact.

The two rear windows however were a pain in the ass since they have a slight concave curve to them. I had to cut a seam towards the lower 1/3rd of the the glass to keep it from “bulging’ or “bubbling” up. It is done now, and I would rate the completed job as “acceptable”.

Today is a beautiful day in North Florida and we are excited to see what we get accomplished.

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