News Home & Design Couple Builds a Smart Van Conversion With Shower This stylish van home-on-wheels comes fully equipped. By Kimberley Mok Writer McGill University Cornell University Kimberley Mok is a former architect who covered architecture and the arts for Treehugger starting in 2007. our editorial process Twitter Twitter Kimberley Mok Published April 13, 2021 Updated April 13, 2021 04:19PM EDT Fact checked by Haley Mast Fact checker Harvard University Extension School Haley Mast is a writer, fact checker, and conservationist with a certification in sustainability. Our Fact-Checking Process Article fact-checked on Apr 13, 2021 Haley Mast Vanlife Conversions Ltd. Share Twitter Pinterest Email News Environment Business & Policy Science Animals Home & Design Current Events Treehugger Voices More and more people are opting for alternatives to traveling by airplane – whether it's brought on by environmental concerns, an interest in slow travel, or just plain wanting to explore places a bit closer to home. Not surprisingly, some are choosing to do it in style – and to live a less carbon-intensive lifestyle – by traveling in converted vehicles like vans and buses, which have been transformed into bespoke tiny homes on wheels. It's a fascinating trend brought on by the convergence of technology and remote work, soaring urban housing prices, and interest in minimalism and tiny living. Not only is the phenomenon growing in the United States, but the same thing is also happening across the pond in the United Kingdom. Based out of Essex county, Vanlife Conversions UK is one company that is skilfully transforming various vehicles from Peugeot, Citroen, Fiat, and Volkswagen into fully equipped living spaces. Founded by former army captain Oli Arnold, and his partner, former doctor Emily Cotgrove, the pair started out by converting a van of their own in order to travel through France, Italy, and Switzerland. Upon returning home, someone asked Oli if he could convert a van for them too. Intrigued with the idea of starting their own business together, Emily left her career in medicine to help jumpstart the venture, and now the pair work together to convert vehicles into custom-designed homes on wheels. One of the company's recent conversions, done out of a long-wheelbase Mercedes Sprinter, features all the basics – a kitchenette, bed, storage, composting toilet – and even a shower! Check out the company's video tour of the Stacia van conversion: The exterior of the WiFi-equipped van features a retractable Fiamma awning to provide shade as needed. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. In addition, there are side panels that can be added to the awning to create an outdoor room. Besides these elements, there's also a 50-inch LED light bar at the front of the van to illuminate dark roads or campsites, and solar panels on top of the roof. The van's entrance features a convenient stepwell that has been clad with a rough rug-like material, perfect for storing and cleaning off shoes. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. In addition to the driver's seat, the front of the van has two seats that can be swivelled around to either create more passenger seating, or as a sofa-like spot to sit and lounge around. A curtain has been added here to ensure privacy. Right behind the driver's seat is the bathroom and shower. Done as a wet-bath set-up, with the shower and composting toilet all in one space, it includes a full-length mirror on the door, a skylight, on-demand hot water heater, wooden slatted floor, and it even has a heating option to dry out the space. As a lightweight alternative to conventional tiles, the bathroom has been clad with a lookalike acrylic wall panelling from Reco. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. Beyond the bathroom, we come into the central zone of the van, where the kitchen and upholstered bench seating are located. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. Here we find a small, propane-fuelled oven range, a mini-fridge, as well as a small sink that has a cutting board cover, which helps to increase counter space. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. There's also a handy fold-down extension at the end of the kitchen counter for extra room to prepare food. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. We also have a control panel of sorts behind the stove, which includes gauges for monitoring things like freshwater, wastewater and propane levels, as well as a touch-sensitive panel for dimming or changing the color of the integrated LED lighting throughout the van. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. There's plenty of differently sized drawers and cabinets for various pots, pans and utensils, both in the kitchen area, and under the bench and elevated bed platform. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. Here we also find a slide-out table that lines up with the upholstered bench, perfect for eating or working on. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. At the rear of the van we have the cozy sleeping space, complete with overhead storage cabinets and helpful lighting integrated on both sides. The thick blackout curtains at both ends of the bed to block out light. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. Underneath the bed, we have the van's "garage," which has panelled doors to hide clutter. There's an external shower point here for attaching a sprayer to take an outdoor shower or rinse off muddy items. Vanlife Conversions Ltd. Oli and Emily have pulled off truly a top-of-the-line van conversion, and in addition to Stacia, they have recently launched Kunu, a signature model that they say is optimized for off-grid and all-season use, and includes standard features like a fixed bed and storage "garage," solar panels, hot shower, composting toilet and flexible seating. Kunu is now available for pre-order, so check out Vanlife Conversions UK and their YouTube and Instagram to find out more details.