We have an amazing DIY campervan conversion for you today, as we share how Annabelle Tripp, 28, managed to turn an old minibus into a sustainable campervan – for only £20,000.
Annabelle said: “I’ve always enjoyed camping and always hoped to get a campervan one day but just thought it would end up being something that I always said ‘one day’ to but would probably never get around to.”
“However, during the summer of 2020, my circumstances changed in my personal life and after seeing a couple that had done a van conversion on social media I decided to make the most of my situation and that life was too short and to take the opportunity while I had it.”
Annabelle knew from the start that she wanted to create a homely vibe, so started by looking for a Long Wheel Base van. This would ensure there was the space for the fixtures and fittings she wanted to include, such as a fixed double bed, seating area, shower room and kitchen.
Eventually, she came across a minibus which she bought to transform into her dream ‘van. Opting for a minibus had some advantages – for instance, Annabelle felt installing windows would have been a daunting task, but they were already fitted.
However, it also meant having to take out the seats and tracks. These were bolted in place, and removing them was “probably the worst job” of the entire conversion process.
The conversion took a year to complete, with Annabelle admitting she “did have a few moments of doubt but it was always so worth it when another stage was complete and my vision was coming together.”
Both her dad and her boyfriend were also on hand to help with the build and to provide some moral support too.
Annabelle tried to be conscious of the environment with the project, using reclaimed wood where it was possible. This included reclaimed boards for the ceiling, while the worktop, tabletop and seat tops were made with reclaimed scaffold boards, which were found at a reclamation yard.
Three types of insulation were used, with the primary one made from recycled plastic bottles.
Annabelle added: “The pillows are also made from recycled plastic bottles! And I have refillable bottles in the van for all my products to reduce single-use plastic.”
Other wood – such as batons and ply – came from Wickes and amounted to £650, while sorting the insulation cost £480.
The electrics proved to be the biggest expense, reaching £4,300 – it was, however, a necessary step to make it liveable, with products from Victron Energy used for this.
The kitchen was kitted out with a Dometic mini compressor fridge and Thetford two-ring gas hob, which cost £489 and £199 respectively. A Maxxair Fan costing £299 was also installed.
To refresh the interiors, Frenchic paint was used.
The rest of the costs were a combination of little additions that added up, with the total project coming to just over £20,000.
Annabelle said: “For anyone planning to do the same thing, I’d recommend deciding what you definitely do want to include before buying the van so you know what sort of size van to get.”
“It depends how you prefer to work, some people like to plan it all down to the last screw but some people, like me, prefer to just go with the flow. So, work in whichever way works for you and just remember no matter how long it takes it will be so worth it in the end!”
“It took a lot longer than I expected, it was a lot more challenging than I expected and I needed a lot more help than I expected but I am so so proud of it.”
Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Annabelle has truly poured her heart and soul into making this former minivan a homely, gorgeous and warm campervan.”
“I especially love all the efforts she’s gone to to make sure the campervan is as eco-conscious as possible.”
Images courtesy of Annabelle Tripp
Would you like to find out more about campervan conversion? Then be sure to check out our guide to the 10 best campervan converters working in the UK today. This useful guide will also talk you through the process of how to choose a new campervan conversion.
Perhaps you’re looking for inspiration for where to go for your next trip? If so, be sure to look at our guide to the best campervan sites to visit.
Future Publishing Limited, the publisher of practicalmotorhome.com, provides the information in this article in good faith and makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement in determining the appropriateness of the advice to their circumstances. Individuals should take appropriate safety precautions and be aware of the risk of electrocution when dealing with electrical products. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future nor its employees or agents shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information. You should check that any van warranty will not be affected before proceeding with DIY projects.
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