A woman who says she had ‘no knowledge or cars or construction’ has built herself a camper van, documenting the entire process in a fascinating time-lapse clip.
In reality, however, it took the woman – known only as Chris – almost three years of work in order to convert the regular Chevy goods delivery vehicle into a comfortable home on wheels.
Posting the video to YouTube Chris explains how proud she is of the two-year-and-eight-month task, which she was only able to accomplish during her spare time.
Queen of the road: A woman, known only as Chris, made this epic camper van from scratch. It took her almost three years to make
Starting out: Chris had no prior experience in construction, electricity, solar, or plumbing, but took on the project anyway
Overspend: The original budget for the van was $15,000 but Chris said she went past that just buying the van itself and the solar equipment. She lost track of how much she spent after $20,000
The video, which has so far racked up 50,000 views online, races through the entire conversion in just four minutes.
But away from the camera lens, Chris explained that her life was proving to be exceptionally demanding, as her father suffered from dementia and she even had to move house during the time the video was filmed.
She refused to let that keep her away from her pet project, however – despite having to teach herself all of the necessary skills from scratch.
Writing on her personal blog, Chris states how she had no knowledge about cars, construction, plumbing, or electricity.
Plans: ‘I wouldn’t change anything about the design. I built things, tried them out, and redid things along the way and adjusted the layout to what suited me. The initial design had the bed in the loft, and I hated that,’ she wrote
Hitting the road: Ultimately, Chris hopes to travel around the country in the van along with her boyfriend
Distraction: ‘During those 32 months, I was working, taking care of my dad who has dementia (let me tell you, that is absolute hell) I renovated my condo, and moved,’ Chris wrote on her blog
Step by step: ‘I found that I take a long time to build things. That’s just how I am. I can’t be rushed when I’m building stuff or I make mistakes’
‘All it takes is imagination, dedication, and a willingness to learn! I took a 2004 Chevy Express van and transformed it into an amazing tiny home on wheels,’ she wrote enthusiastically.
She also states what the video does now show including the ‘hours she spent on the internet, learning about stuff’ and the hours spent working at her day job to be able to afford the project.
The construction started in March of 2013 and was completed in November of 2015.
The project didn’t come cheap. Chris tells how her initial budget was $15,000 but lost track after spending $20,000. ‘I blew past that pretty quickly but I’m okay with that. It was sort of a false limit,’ she wrote.
She wrote how she can now cook, shower, sleep, work and keep food cold and froze in her van.
‘I can actually live in my van. And I don’t mean camp, I mean live — in comfort!’
Life lessons: ‘I don’t really mind the expense because I learned so much during the build, and working on the van took my mind off of some of the weightier emotional things that were going on in my life at the time’
Time out: Chris completed the project whenever she would have some spare time in her schedule
Helping hands: Chris said she designed and paid for everything but that her boyfriend helped in the contruction process
Sleek look: Chris covered the walls of her van with wood paneling and added sleek low-voltage lighting
Other facilities include a projection video screen for her to watch movies.
Chris has also taken to Reddit to answer questions from interested followers who asked they the project took so long.
‘During those 32 months, I was working, taking care of my dad who has dementia (let me tell you, that is absolute hell) I renovated my condo, and moved. And I found that I take a long time to build things. That’s just how I am. I can’t be rushed when I’m building stuff or I make mistakes.’
She wrote she is happy with the final product but that her vision changed over the years she was building it.
‘When I first started building, I had envisioned my build to be sleek and modern, but I realized that I’m not really into sleek and modern. I’m into homey, comfortable.
Frugal: Chris says she was focused on the project buying items for the van and not eating out or buying new clothes for a few years
Best laid plans: ‘When I first started building, I had envisioned my build to be sleek and modern, but as you can imagine, my vision evolved over the years. I realized that I’m not really into sleek and modern,’ Chris said
‘Functionally speaking, the van is set up for the way my boyfriend and I like to live.’
Chris said her boyfriend assisted her during the build but that the van is her project.
‘I paid for it, I told him what to do, where to stand, how to hold things, how to use the tools, etc. He now calls me “little boss” now, and I like it.’
Offering advice to other budding buildings she says to expect a project of this scale to exceed all of your time, budget, and knowledge limits.
‘Expect to stumble a bit. Embrace it and learn from it,’ she said. ‘Understand lead times, and order your supplies well in advance so that you’re not waiting for them to arrive with nothing to work on Join forums and ask lots of questions.’
Home from home: Chris says that she is actually able to live in the van and that it is extremely comfortable
Now showing: The van includes a video projector which she can view by drawing a curtain across the center of the van
Cosy: ‘I built this to be perfect for me and the bf, and it is. I’m really happy with the final product, although I’ve looked at enough builds to know that it’s a very unconventional layout,’ Chris said