If I’m going to live in the van, I suppose I need some furniture in there to make it feel like home and hold all my stuff. First of all, I had no clue how to attach anything to the sides of the van. I know it can be done, I mean work vans have shelves built in and all, so I figured we’d find a way. This was a problem for future Mary.

Surprising, I know, but less work sounds nice to me unless there’s a real benefit to more work. This translates to seeing if there’s any prefab stuff that would fit, so a trip to IKEA! I have a love/hate relationship with IKEA.


  • The food! Free coffee that magically tastes like melted coffee ice cream with my perfected balance of add ins? Giant breakfast for less than $5? Making a meal of kids’ sides? That yummy jam? What’s not to love.
  • The stuff! Wandering through IKEA is one giant impulse buy waiting to happen. People hate on IKEA but all my stuff from there has held up just fine for a decade thank you very much. It all goes together, too, so one less thing to worry about.
  • Putting stuff together! I don’t mind assembling. It’s easy for the most part. and makes me feel accomplished in a short period of time. I admit it’s crazy to disassemble, but I wouldn’t even know where to start if I needed to take apart something of higher quality so what’s the difference.
  • The price! So affordable.


  • The people. Oh my god the people. Standing in the aisles, not moving, blocking everything, children running everywhere…, That said, the people watching is gold. Witnessing from close but far enough the demise of a relationship due to IKEA induced argument is like a free movie.

Anyway, we went first thing on a Saturday morning, and it was Jane’s very first time at IKEA. Prepare to be amazed. We had breakfast in the restaurant so we were inside when the store opened and before too many people. We wandered the aisles, measured, pondered and planned and ended up with some cabinets, peg board, and other odds and ends.

We took them all home, I assembles them all, and discovered that one cabinet wouldn’t actually work due to the curve of the van but most of the rest is a good fit. We attached a bunch of cubes together and added some extra screws to make it more stable.

We modified a piece of the original bed frame that came with the van to create an anchor for the furniture. We attached the wood frame to the van floor with brackets to a bolt in the floor and to the subfloor, and then attached the cabinets to the wood frame with more brackets.

Jane graciously built some shelves to go above the cubes using some leftover wood, and shaped the edges to fit the curve of the ceiling. She’s a master. It fits snuggly and adds to the stability and will hold so much more stuff. I think I’ll be able to hang some things behind the backing or shove some things to store in the gap between the wall and the shelves.

Going to try to make the last taller cabinet from IKEA into a sink, and build a fold out table on the side of the cabinet by the sliding door, as well. It’s coming together!

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