IKEA offers an almost infinite amount of space solutions for any type of abode — for one couple looking to convert an old van into a home on wheels, IKEA products were their saving grace. Ambitious couple Grace Aquino and her husband Marlon were on an extremely tight budget when they decided to turn their old van into a full-time home so that they could travel the world. As impressive as it is shocking, the couple managed to create their beloved Flippie van for just $1,000 using IKEA products and doing the work themselves.
Van conversions are nothing new, but creating a custom living space on wheels isn’t always as cheap as people expect it to be. Whether buying or building, the cost of living, dining and bedroom furniture can add up quickly. But for one ambitious couple looking to create a bespoke living space within a very compact 60 square feet, everyone’s favorite Swedish furniture brand, IKEA, helped them customize their new home, which they managed to do by themselves for just $1,000.
When they first decided to embark on a nomadic lifestyle, Aquino and her husband planned to contract professionals to convert an old 2017 Ram ProMaster 1500 Cargo Van into their roaming hut on wheels. However, when they realized that the cheapest estimate given would run them $15,000, the couple decided to take a more practical, DIY route. Accordingly, their first stop was IKEA.
“To our surprise, the cheapest quote we were given was $15,000 for a very basic build without a platform for our bed. So our only practical choice was to do it ourselves. While doing our research, we were overwhelmed at the amount of work it takes to convert a van. We didn’t have the tools, the space and the skillset needed. My husband had really only built Ikea furniture in the past, so we thought why not visit Ikea to get some inspiration? Once we found a few things that we knew would work for our van, we decided to fully commit to building just with Ikea,” Aquino explained to Lonely Planet.
Except for the flooring, power station, insulation and ottoman, all of Flippie’s furnishings came from IKEA. First, however, the couple had to make sure that the space was comfortable for living in full-time. Therefore, they started by insulating the 60-square-foot interior with styrofoam insulation covered with a foil liner, which they bought from Home Depot. Later, the van’s flooring was topped with exercise floor mat puzzles purchased at Walmart.
Once the main envelope of the van was customized, the couple headed straight to IKEA to purchase space-saving, affordable furnishings. First, they purchased a large sofa bed that pulls out at night, but folds up during the day to create more space. The couple also added storage where possible, including a spacious overhead cabinet that was installed over the bed.
At the back of the van, two large doors open up into the compact but functional kitchen, which was built using Raskog Cart and Pantry unit that cost just $29.99 and a Sunnersta mini-kitchen set that costs $121. In this area, the couple also installed a pressure shower system for the faucet and added various baskets for storage. A unique back wall is covered in pegboard to hang utensils, paper towels, etc.
Across from the tiny kitchen is the couple’s work space, which includes a Besta Burs desk and a Top Trones storage unit. A large ottoman pulls double duty as extra seating and extra storage.
In addition to the IKEA products, the couple splurged a bit on an Eco Power Station ($700). While the company is still developing a solar panel, the couple uses shore power to charge the battery so that they can charge their phones and laptops.
Images via The Sweet Savory Life