Fold-Away Bed Enlarges This Well-Crafted Van Conversion (Video)

View out the back of the van

Rydawell Woodworks

Van conversions are intriguing studies in small-space design. But even with the most careful of configurations, one often finds that the bed is the item that takes up the most space. Some may loft it up to make some storage space underneath, but this still gobbles up valuable floor space.

Seattle, Washington woodworker Ryan Wells of Rydawell Woodworks converted this high-roofed Dodge Promaster into a portable home that he can take with him on work-related trips, building things for clients. Wells takes a familiar but fresh approach to the problem of the space-hogging bed: he makes a fold-away Murphy out of it. Watch this tour via Alternative Homes Today (seen here previously and offering a van conversion course that Wells took a couple of years ago):

Converting a Van

Murphy bed folded down
Rydawell Woodworks 

This is one of the most meticulously crafted van conversions we've seen thus far, utilizing some mad skills and high-quality wood materials (some of it offcuts salvaged from Wells' woodshop).

Exterior of the van with the side door open
Rydawell Woodworks
Open back doors of the van
Rydawell Woodworks 

Fitting Amenities

The van has two zones situated on either side. To one side sits the fold-down bed, held in place with pins, and when deployed, uses a couple of feet that screw in to support it. The kitchen with its distinctive, striped butcher block counter, made with offcuts, and curly maple cabinets, is also situated on this side. There's a small propane stove here and sink connected to a 5-gallon water tank underneath. No space is wasted: there is a toe-kick drawer and more foot-level storage on this side.

Small sink and cooktop
Rydawell Woodworks

On the other side sits the big storage wall that hides a fold-up table and two seats, plus a lot of cubbies for holding personal belongings. Behind this wall of storage cubbies is where the wiring for the solar system runs, leading to a hidden battery and control panel that's conveniently located on the side.

Storage wall with cabinets and shelves
Rydawell Woodworks
Small table and stool
Rydawell Woodworks

The van (financed as Wells' business vehicle for his company) plus renovation costs brings the cost of this project to around USD $40,000. Thanks to its hidden bed, the van's interior feels extremely spacious, leaving a lot more room for Wells to carry equipment, materials or what-have-you. Very well done.

CORRECTION: A previous version of the post incorrectly listed Ryan's last name.