Two years ago Zack Both left his job as an art director to follow his dream of filmmaking. His passion for travelling across the United States to discover and tell stories of the fascinating people he meets, gives him a nomadic life. Both decided to take his van and turn it into his mobile production company.
The filmmaker purchased a 2003 Chevy Express from an electrician in Vermont. Both did not have any carpentry experience before taking the conversion project. Instead, he relied on the power of instructional videos.
It took him almost 10 months to complete everything from beginning to end. The work was done on and off as Both was working, he estimates it would have taken him about three months if that is all he didn’t have any distractions.
Both found his future van on Craiglist, the 2003 model had 200k miles.
The van had never been vacuumed and already had a fair amount of rust on the surface.
After spray painting the interior in a white glossy finished, insulation templates were glued on.
Both used spray foam for the cracks and crevices. He found working on this project during the summer months helped as longer days and warm weather kept him more productive.
He did 70% of the work by himself with the remaining 30% with the help of his dad.
Both said that transforming the van meant he had to try to make every part inside have more than one function. His future bed for example was designed to also be his couch and storage space.
Both found that he had to learn to be less picky or everything would end up taking three times longer.
He sketched the layout of the interior. This helped him to see what the limitations in the interior were. The completed layout stayed very close to the original design.
The kitchen area was built using plywood. The kitchen was designed and built with it the additional purpose of also being the dining and desk area.
The bed is a used futon from Ikea. Both’s mom made a cover for the “mattress” to make it more presentable.
The ceiling panels were bought from Craiglist. They use to belong to a Cleveland church built in 1886. Both also cut a hole in the middle of the van to install a ceiling fan.
The stool by the bed doubles as a trash can as well. Both thinks this is the most functional element in the entire van.
Both painted the entire interior. It took him 10 days to complete this task.
Both installed solar panels and a cargo rack that used to be part of a Hummer. Wiring was also done for the electricity required for the small appliances like the fridge
A removable, custom-made table was made. When not in used, it is hidden behind the driver’s seat.
The board panels were converted into message boards using chalk paint. LED lights running across the edge of the wooden panels were installed.
When the table is opened, the mini stove is revealed. Notice the spice racks attached to the inside board.
Father and son pose proudly with the newly renovated van. Both said that after the congratulatory hugs, it was time for his adventure to begin.
Both loves the freedom his mobile home gives him. He found living in a small space forces him to live with simplicity, removing the nonessentials of life.
The mobile home has been named the Rocket van.
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