Massive shout out to SergSuppy, and the owner Dimitri, for making this build happen. 100% recommended!
Figuring out the interior body work was seemingly the most critical element of the build. I knew from the get-go that I would not be able to go down the full DIY path. While considerably more cost effective-
- I have no time or intent to learn the craft of carpentry.
- We live in a high rise, and our HOA would probably ban us from using the parking garage ever again if we set up a workshop in there.
- We wanted to start using the van ASAP.
The significant majority of the kits I could find were some combination of extremely expensive, ugly, required upholstery, difficult to install, and/or with infinite wait times. Then, I found SergSupply, which ticked all the boxes.
The owner of SergSupply, Dimitri is an incredibly helpful person, and worked with me directly to get exactly what I wanted. We did a lot of custom work together, which he was incredibly helpful for. My best recommendation if you want to request custom work is to measure, measure, and measure again. Even an 1/4” can mean the difference between a good fit and an awkward fit.
I also did the order in two batches, first the walls and ceiling. Then second, the custom cabinetry. This allowed me to take precise measurements for the custom cabinetry that Dimitri would be cutting for me. This ended up working out extremely well. (Some of the custom work is now available on his website too, enjoy!)
I ended up choosing the Prefinished Maple option, which seemed to be the best combination of ease, aesthetics, and price. In a perfect world I would have gone with bamboo, but being double the cost and double the work (varnish), it was just not the optimal choice.
- General Supplies
- Walls: SergSupply Wall Panel Kit
- Ceiling: SergSupply Ceiling Kit
- Wheel Well Storage: SergSupply Wheel Well Box
- Galley: SergSupply Custom Kitchen Galley
- Bench seating: SergSupply Custom Storage Bench
Walls: SergSupply Wall Panel Kit
These was the first of the interior body work I installed, which was a great intro into getting into the groove of things. The panels are cut to spec, fit extremely well, and simply look really nice. They bend to the curvature of the van walls, which is really sexy comparison to the “shoebox” look that I’ve seen in a lot of vans. The walls are pretty straightforward to attach based on the provided SergSupply instructions.
Almost as importantly, the walls are also very easy to detach. I found myself detaching and reattaching them quite a few times over the course of the build.
- The finish on these are very nice, and unlike a lot of the pre-cut wood walls, are meant to be used without upholstery
- The panels bend to the curvature of the van, which makes for a very nice look
- Easy to install and uninstall, even as one person.
- Not all the holes will 100% perfectly align between the panels and the wall’s holes, which is to be expected with each van having a few millimeters of variance. We are talking about just a couple millimeters off for a few holes. However, just a few millimeters if the difference between a screw going in easily, a screw being a pain the the ass, or a screw not going in at all. I found myself placing and removing the panels a lot, so getting the holes to fit right was key. Line up the panel and screw it on loosely where it fits. Use a marker to mark on the panels where the holes should line up exactly. Pull the panel and use a circular file to bore out the hole to where you marked.
- There is some drilling required into the pillars of the van where there is no pre-drilled hole. I would recommend to go ahead and skip drilling, as there is a curved structural metal element behind those pillars that is extremely challenging to drill through. In hindsight, I would have used a strip of heavy duty Velcro in these spots instead.
Ceiling: SergSupply Ceiling Kit
The ceiling really has a “wow factor” when installed. I don’t exactly know what about it does that, but literally every person who has walked into the van has commented on how nice this ceiling is. It was honestly the most time consuming part of the interior body work installation, but it was worth it. The time comes from having to align and attach each row together. Because the rows are so long and cover so many screw-in points, a minor variance in measurement means a lot of work as well. This is the biggest part of the job of the interior body work, and took about a full day to get it done.
- This kit puts some serious “wow factor” in the van. It simply looks great.
- The fit is very good along where the ceiling touches the walls, and leaves just enough space to access wiring you may be running, but not enough space to look ugly.
- No squeaking sounds that tongue and groove ceiling builds have issues with.
- Alignment during the process of connecting the panels into rows is a precision job that requires a lot of care.
- Alignment of the rows onto the ceiling is non-trivial. This is not due to a lack of precision in the kit, it is just the nature of the row based design.
- See tip #1 for the wall installation. A Dremel with a sanding bit works a bit more efficiently with the thicker ceiling panels though. Wear a mask for that.
- Connecting the panels into rows can be a one person job. Attaching the rows onto the ceiling is a two person job.
- Be careful to not scratch the ceiling panels when connecting them into rows. I put a few scratches into mine from sliding them around. Dimitri @ SergSupply was able to quickly ship me news ones, but it would have been easily avoided in the first place.
The floor finish I took was actually against the full recommendation of Dimitri, and I do concur with him that it was maybe not the best choice. I went with a custom pre-finished birtch, which ended up scratching a bit more easily than I’d like. Dimitri suggested ordering an unfinished product and that I could apply an epoxy coat over it or put a cover over. That was more work than I wanted to do at the time, but this is the only part of the van build that I am actually considering redoing a few months later.
SergSupply now offers a drop in finished floor with pre-drilled holes, which is fairly innovative in this realm. I am glad to see this is available, because this was a very tough installation. Between the drop in product and the drop in insulation, one of the most complicated parts of a build becomes a few minutes worth of work. In the event that I replace my current floor, I will certainly be ordering this drop in product offering from SergSupply.
Wheel Well Storage: SergSupply Wheel Well Box
These storage boxes get the job done, and they look good while doing it. I had them made to a custom lower than typical height (26″). The reason being, I wanted a bit more head room on the bed, with this being a standard roof van. Also, because Jess and I’s climbing gear storage tends to be fairly minimal compared to most van uses (no bikes, surf boards, etc), we didnt need too much vertical space under the bed for gear storage. If I were to do it again, I would have actually cut down an additional 6” on the storage cabinet height (20″).
The installation of these were pretty easy, but took me a bit of thinking to figure out how to do the least amount of damage. I didnt want to use self tapping screws because I figured these would come on and off a few times, which proved to be the case 100%.
Overall, these are super nice storage cabinets and it is kind of a shame that they are covered up by the bed. I may flip the opening direction of the doors for easier access in the future, which does require a bit of work. I would be shocked if SergSupply couldn’t do this upon request.
- Sturdy platform for a bed
- Provides plenty of storage space while covering up the wheel wells
Cons (more like, things to consider requesting upon ordering):
- No actual “cons”.
- The default height is a little high in my opinion for a bed. That is easily customized by SergSupply.
- The direction of the door openings is a little challenging to access with the bed installed. Flipping the doors’ opening direction resolves that. That can likely be easily customized by SergSupply.
Installation tips (step by step):
- I pulled the wood wall panel and found the most structurally sound walls were. I took some general measurements and marked the locations on the metal, knowing that there would be a little bit of play in the mix.
- Without the wood wall panel installed, I lined up the cabinet where I wanted it exactly and placed blue tape on the floors for realignment later one.
- Using the measurements and markings from step #1, I used a small drill bit to drill straight through the storage cabinet and the metal walls. These would be my alignment holes.
- In the cabinet, I drilled 1/4” holes from the alignment holes made in step #3.
- In the metal wall, I bored out holes for rivet nuts (to be installed in a future step).
- I reinstalled the wood walls. I aligned the cabinets to the floor’s blue tape from step #2.
- I drilled a 1/4” hole through the cabinet holes from step #4 into the walls. This should align with the holes from step #5 now.
- I removed the wood wall, and installed rivet nuts in the holes from step #5.
- I reinstalled the walls, aligned the cabinets, and screwed them in! Easily done!
This was actually a bit of a problem for me, as with the custom height of the storage boxes that the platform bed with sit on, I needed to have a custom platform cut. I ended up sending the wrong dimensions to SergSupply, and not being able to fit the platform bed in that I received.
A local Ace Hardware ordered a couple panels of 3/4” baltic birch and did the cuts (including the notches for the rear and sliding door pillars) for free. I was concerned about having flex/bowing without any central support, but the 3/4” baltic birch proved ridged enough for my wife and me to sleep on with zero bowing.
Galley: SergSupply Custom Kitchen Galley
This was by far my most customized part of the van’s interior build. I needed to accommodate a few very specific systems, specifically to reduce the complexity of the overall electric and plumbing systems:
- Tecvan Sink and Fold Down Faucet (review here)
- Superior RV Portable Fresh Water and Grey Water system (review here)
- Dometic CFX3 45 Powered Cooler (review here)
Because all of these systems are very specific in sizing, I needed to work with SergSupply to engineer a near-perfect fit, but with enough tolerances to account for any variances in the systems/appliances themselves,
- Follow the same tips as the Wheel Well Storage.