The kitchen frame needed to house a fridge, sink, stove and some storage. This was really where we learnt our lesson about building a unit prior to securing it.
THE SINK & FRIDGE
We attempted to build the kitchen unit straight to the sides of the van, into the uprights we’d installed to attach the lamberia to, but found that we just couldn’t get it square. We tried this a few times but the maths nor the results were matching up. Frustrated, eventually we decided to just build the frame and then attach to the uprights. This worked much better and we ended up getting a square, functioning unit from it.
We picked up a few nice pieces of scrap wood from a local market which we trimmed to size, sanded and varnished for a (we think) truly awesome kitchen bench. It’s solid, has amazing grains and the character that resembles recycling.
We just used OSB as the backing to the unit, a little tricky, but cut to size and then screwed into the support beams.
We took some extra time and made an effort to use every little bit of available space we had; most notably the drawer and the little ‘secret, that isn’t so secret’ cupboard that is on the right side at the rear of the bench. The frame of the kitchen unit resembles two rectangles sitting side-by-side. As the fridge is not an ideal height for a bench, we decided to install a drawer on top of it, and then the rear of this could also house the sink; a very cute little goulash pot we found, rusty & dusty in the garage, used by Zsu’s grandmother back a few years. Above the sink we have attached a small chain that stretches the width of the bench to hang all our kitchen utensils from. Attached to the underside of the shelf above, we have a white 50cm LED strip light.
We were stunned when we thought we were going to have to fork out 20,000 HUF (€60) for a kitchen tap. We asked and searched for a good few days and were told that it wouldn’t work to use household items – and that they were just as expensive. Further research gave us enough confidence to try using the household items anyway, persuaded maybe by the fact we found some garden taps at the local hardware store – simply bolted into the lamberia, which we’d strengthened behind with some wood – for 2,000 HUF (€6). We attached a bendy drain pipe to the sink and the left storage unit contains our kitchen grey water tank – simply a 5L plastic container.
Still to this day, the fridge – a Waeco MDC65, bought off a lovely couple that had used it only a handful of times – is the best find we made. A quiet, super energy efficient compressor fridge.
As the thought of screwing the lamberia came about, we began to think about the amount of space that was being wasted between the van’s wall and the lamberia. We decided we could make some awesome little spice shelves to fill these gaps. It was much easier in the end than we first anticipated. We literally just left a square hole when we put the lamberia up, measured the space we had and built a little box to fit inside. We then attached it to the lamberia uprights and screwed string across the front to prevent anything falling from it.
We like eggs. We go through a fair few of these oval gems, so we decided we needed an egg tray. It was very simple really, and saves us a tonne of space these buggers would take up if they lay on the ground. We just made a drawer from a piece of OSB and then made some ‘guides’ – for lack of a better word – that would keep in place a 30 egg-tray and then sat it on some rails.
THE GAS UNIT
We built a separate unit on the sliding-door side of the van to use for the gas hob, and to house our gas bottle. We decided on this area so any heat, smell and splashes would escape easily to the outside.
Our time was running low though and we didn’t want to fork out €220 for a ‘campervan’ gas hob, so we looked to buy something that was cheaper – but this meant that we had to contend with very clear signs “for outside use only”. This really tripped us up a bit so we looked harder and harder, without success. We spoke to a few people about our idea, and most had the same opinion – that if the door is open, it won’t be an issue. Eventually we bought a 2-burner camping gas hob, made for outside use. To ensure we do our best to stay safe, we’ve installed it on a pull out tray, right by the sliding door and only use it when the door is open. As extra precautions we have carbon monoxide, gas and smoke detectors to help keep us safe. Remember, safety first folks.
As we were running out of time, once we’d bought this online we used the dimensions given to build the unit. You guessed it, when it turned up, we realised we’d failed to account for the knobs! So we took the unit out and extended it, literally by 2 or 3cm to enable it to fit the burner on. The frustration!!
Other than that, it works a charm and has seen use every single day since. We have an 11kg bottle which will last us about two months, or even longer, just for cooking. We fill with LPG at gas stations when needed and have the appropriate regulator for LPG usage. As this burner is the only thing that requires gas in our van, we just have a short hose that runs directly between the two.
Aside from this, we built a couple of cupboards, and used some more recycled wood for the bench top.
…our finished results…