You see a lot of people building their own interior and their own kitchen. We don’t have the time, the experience or the machinery so we decided to take the Ikea route.
If you want some inspiration Van Tourist has two great videos on how he has built his Ikea kitchen:
Our kitchen is 60x120 in our minimal viable van, but it will be smaller in our final build. You can save about 5cm because of the amount of space “behind” the default ikea drawers.
Building the basics for the kitchen took about 1 day. The kitchen is mounted to the base of the van with plates, running trough on to a frame underneath the kitchen. I did not want to use our final countertop for this temporary build. We want to cook on a Diesel cooker, but that will be installed in the future. But for it to be deemed a camper you need to install a stove which will be screwed to the top of the countertop, ergo the temp version. The kitchen is strengthened with extra corner plates.
The countertop consists of two OSB3 plates screwed together. When you use a fine blade and saw slowly you get a smooth edge. Since this was sawed at the hardware store the edged was rough and required sanding and some varnish. The top got one layer, the sides required 2. I also made a temporary table from the same material.
I hoped the soft close system of the drawers would keep them closed when driving through corners, and this was the case, most of the time. The “most of the time” made me search for a better closing alternative.
I decided to install some grabber latches (just like van life outfitters), but that’s a tricky job. What you should do is measure out a frame, the location of the grabbers and install the hooks onto the drawers before you assemble the whole thing if you want to do a nice job.
I already assembled everything, so the job was not that nice at all. It does all work, and it’s will hold everything together for our holiday, but for the final build, I will change a few things.
1- The back of a drawer has one screw-hole. When you mount the hooks there they can turn under pressure. So you need glue or kit + the screw, to mount them solid.
2- The back frame where you mount the latches on should not have too much flex, should be mounted straight and the placement of the latches themselves should be accurate. You have millimetres to play with but if you don’t mount them right, the drawers will stick out too much, won’t close with that satisfying click and won’t align in s straight row.
That’s it for the kitchen build.
Making sure we have a simple setup for running water is next.
The latches do the opposite of what they are supposed to do when driving. When you take a left turn gravity pushes the latch, basically open the drawer. This makes it very easy for a drawer to open completely on a right turn. Back to the drawing board.