A Micro-Home on Wheels
Location: Sydney, Australia
Size: 4 sqm
Status: Complete, 2019
Photography: Liv Green
The Weekender is our smallest footprint to date; experimenting with micro-living in a Volkswagen Transporter.
The small scale of the project provided the opportunity to take on the role of both designer and builder. During the week, the vehicle operates as a work and surf van with additional storage space. Come the weekend, the flexible design allows the space to convert into a campervan that sleeps two. The van is equipped with a pull-out kitchen drawer and large hatch compartments for storage of an esky, wetsuit bucket, and bags – all concealed under a long bench seat. Additional hatch compartments store picnic chairs, gas burner, and stove amongst other camp gear. To allow longboards to be stored down the centre spine of the van, the bed base can be removed and stored above the kitchen drawer when not in use.
When the van was purchased it was set up as a trade vehicle. Demolition of the existing condition saw us remove the cargo cage, worn plywood floor – that would be later recycled - and clean out any remaining rubbish and dirt. With an empty shell, we looked to insulate the walls guaranteeing the vehicle could be habitable in any climate.
We chose a Polyisocyanurate (Polyiso) Foam Board to ensure the highest insulating rating. Polyiso is a non-toxic and cost-effective product with an R6 insulation rating. On reflection we would use Sheep wool insulation for future projects, forgoing the high rating in favour of a more environmentally friendly, natural material that can be recycled. The walls were then lined with a 7mm C/D grade plywood finished in white-wash paint coating. For the floor, we laid a ComCork rubber over a plywood substrate ensuring easy maintenance, durability, and providing additional acoustic and thermal insulation. In an effort to reduce the weight of the van – and subsequently improve its efficiency – the joinery was built of E-lite plywood with an Osmo Poly-X Raw oil finish.
The existing plywood floor and off-cuts of E-lite plywood were donated to the local Woodturners Shed in Narrabeen, who used the timber to make possum shelters in the wake of the 2019-20 bushfires.
Finishes: Plywood and MDF: Bruynzeel; Insulation: Solartex; Cork: ComCork
Fixtures: Coat Rack: PlyRoom; Drawer handles: Auburn Woodturning.
Responsible Design Principles: Passive Design, Low-Toxicity, Sustainable Materials, Resource Efficiency, Reduce Waste, Minimalism.
"The van is equipped with a pull-out kitchen drawer and large hatch compartments for storage of an esky, wetsuit bucket, and bags – all concealed under a long bench seat."