Arts and Crafts


Through the edits and re-writes, it’s come to venturing back to Greymouth to write. Well, actually, I didn’t come here for the writing. Let’s call it a trip back to Monteith’s Brewery for the source of my flavorite New Zealand beer and a peaceful environment to jot my notes.

That being said, I did sort of put things together this morning on the drive south from Picton.

Instead of boring you all with the details of what I did to the van over the last month, I’ll just say a few lines and jump to the photos. The title actually comes from what I told whomever I was staying with at the time, what I was up to for the day: “Arts and Crafts.”

After coming back to Hawkes Bay in early April, I had a few ideas for changes to the Bango. Chiefly important was getting the wheels aligned. During the Northland trip, I backed out of a car park wrong and knocked the alignment out of whack. I decided it wasn’t too critical and pushed another month around Northland. What I thought was going to be a major issue– and after visiting 3 dealerships and two repair shops– turned out to be a few hours worth of work. Whew.

Next up was getting power in. All the research I did made things more confusing (e.g. Solar charge vs. Alternator) and ultimately I chose a very awkward business interaction that cost me $1200 USD.

Finally, I added some lighting, 2x 6″x9″ speakers (thank you Ryan), painted the kitchen area, added a few Art Deco motifs, and re-arranged the way I cook.

The end result is something more comfortable, capable, and in-line with what I wanted all along.


At Muriwai Beach, first trip with Bango V1
In Rotorua, Added “Cutty Sark” green and went for an Art Deco pin stripe; Done with the chilly bin. 
Before leaving Hawkes Bay. Reomved the gas cooker shelf an rerouted the gas bottle to the right side. Added hand-painted “Coffee” and “Cocktails” in Art Deco font; pressed tin (plastic) backsplash; pine moulding; kitchen cabinet; and hidden LED strip lighting. 
2x 100AH 12v batteries, 300W AC to DC inverter, and 12v LED Dimmable Controller. 


Had to run the 12v wires and 240v extension cord through the under-bed storage, which was a pain in the ass, in its own right. 
Pre-fitted the Waeco Cool Pro 21L fridge into place to get an idea of how big the cabinet could be. 
Step Two: Build base and top for runners and to suss out how to build the sides.
Step Three: Build and fit the side legs, drawer, and runners.
One challenge was making a square cabinet that fit into a concave wall, took up the least space, and allowed for (almost) complete opening of the fridge.


Step Four: The wine cellar. Laugh at me now, but it works! This set-up allows for three magnums of wine to be stored securely. I borrowed the idea to use broom holders from a Pinterest post which used similar clamps in a caravan. 
Interior picture with everything but the bedding reinstalled. 
Best picture to show the effect of the lighting. Used 1650mm rails with over 120 LEDs (each rail) mounted up, working with the concave roof to make for a beautifully soft interior. (Note: wrenches are holding the rails to brackets for gluing) 
Kitchen view with lights on. Since I only had one LED controller, the brightness in the kitchen is the same as the main cabin. 




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