A pandemic-proof job for a designer/builder: Design/build things that enable your clients to escape society. Business is booming for Chewy Design Co., an Austin-based van-to-home conversion shop started by Brett Lewis, and one that's become so popular it's featured on an episode of "Van Go" on the Magnolia Network (see bottom of entry).
Lewis himself spent years living out of his Sprinter van, giving him the experience to know what makes living out of a van viable on a budget. He insulates the structures of his clients' vans (everything from tiny Nissan NV200s to decommissioned school buses) with Havelock Wool, adds ventilation fans and A/C, wires up electrical for refrigerators, water pumps and lighting, hooks up solar panels on the roofs, and builds out the interiors to suit the clients' tastes and lifestyles.
Lewis also offers a "half build" option aimed at DIY'ers who only want to do the fun parts of the build. "Let our team push you off to a strong start by taking the frustrating first steps out of the way," he writes. "The half build will take your van from a stressful tin can project to a beautiful canvas for you to finish-out however you see fit." With this option, the headaches--insulation, wiring, HVAC, solar panels, bed frames, windows and floorings--are taken care of by Chewy.
As mentioned above, Lewis and Chewy are featured in an episode of "Van Go," the Discovery show dedicated to van life and hosted by Chip and Joanna Gaines. Here's the episode trailer:
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