I only wish we would have been writing this blog from the beginning so that i had a log of all the various designs, drawings and conversations that got scrapped along the way...but, we weren't and i don't.Suffice to say that the design had many, many iterations over the course of the last year and a half from sketches on bar napkins to 3d mockups to cardboard place holders and a half-way constructed camper that we ripped out and started over. Trust me when I say it's hard trying to beat old german engineers when it comes to space planning!
Our first camp in the bus was literally an empty shell, some pillows and an inflatable mattress. Luckily a fellow Vdubber on that campout had a pump or we wouldn't have even had that. As it turned out we didn't for long...we still had our buddha in the bus from tje move and one of his fingers popped the mattress about 20 minutes into the night. Okay, scratch inflatable options off the list.
I was still traveling a ton for the first year we owned the bus, so every flight seemed to be a good few hours of sketching and making lists of the typical camping needs. I had sketches for everything from a kit that we could remove entirely in the winter to a collapsing trundle bed and a U-shaped couch/lounge that had a drop down table to complete the bed.
Not for lack of creative ideas... but it just didn't seem possible to beat the typical westy setup. Tried and true for decades, and we already had a foldout seat/bed that could simply be reupholstered. Seemed easy enough, but we also realized we needed more storage than the typical westy, so we cut our bed down from the typical width to about 2/3 of what most have. It's just the two of us and a dog...and lets face it we all love to snuggle. Storage space quickly trumped extra room in the bed.
We started building the frame and spent most of the summer trial loading things into it to get a feel for the space. Didn't take us long to realize that while the westy layout is functional, it's really better suited for a weekend trip. Our hope was to eventually be able to do something much longer term. Scrapped that idea and ripped everything out about half way through.
Back to the drawing board, this time with focus on maximizing storage. We always wanted to have a lot of storage and a few drawers in the back but couldn't figure out how to gain enough length for the bed up front. I started mocking things up in 3d and finally resolved the issues with relative comfort that things might work out in real life. We started with the need to keep the walkthrough, with tons of storage in the back and with hopes of creating more of a comfortable lounge space for sitting and relaxing in the bus or even entertaining the occasional guest.