There can often come a time when you realize your current lifestyle isn’t fostering happiness, and something has to change. For couple Charlie and Josh who met in London, that was in 2019. Both Charlie and Josh lived busy lives, doing the daily 9-5 grind and commuting long distances. In 2019, they decided to make a change and began saving their pennies to explore the van life. They wanted to quit their jobs and travel Europe in their campervan over the 2020 summer months.
Charlie and Josh started their van life journey by purchasing a 2006 Mercedes Vario 614D with 83,000 miles on the clock from eBay. It had spent its life as a council minibus in Scotland with 17 seats and a wheelchair lift, and they had big goals of removing all but two seats and installing plenty of travel comforts.
However, as most people have discovered, the COVID-19 pandemic that started spreading throughout the world at the end of 2019 put a spanner in the works, so they had to come up with Plan B.
With no homes of their own, savings still firmly in their pockets, and still wanting to travel, Charlie and Josh decided to transform their bus into a house on wheels. They have now spent two years living in it and have visited all 15 national parks in the UK.
London-based couple Charlie and Josh wanted to try van life, so they purchased a 2006 Mercedes-Benz Vario 614D from eBay. It was a 17-seater previously owned by a council in Scotland.
When they first purchased the bus, it had 16 seats plus a driver’s seat and was in original condition.
The bus has undergone a complete transformation, with none of those passenger seats remaining. Their main living space is where they have their bed and most of their storage, including two larger drawers for clothing.
Charlie and Josh’s bed is a full UK double with a 12-volt heated mattress. The heated mattress is one of their favorite features as they only have a diesel heater that can be hard to regulate the heat with.
Light, natural colors are present throughout this bus, with rattan-style cabinets encompassed by white cabinetry. The bus also has a beautiful piece of sweet chestnut that they sourced from woodland near Cornwall. They mounted it with a lagoon leg and can use it for work, play, and dining.
The kitchen is as well-equipped as many you would see in the average small apartment. There is plenty of meal preparation space on the beautiful wood countertop and a full-sized sink. The sink is paired with an extendable hose tap so that they can position it outside for an outdoor shower.
This meal preparation space also boasts a pull-out wine rack, drawers, a pantry, a Duplex oven and grill, a two-burner hob, and a 110L Dometic fridge. It’s also hard not to notice the striking combination of black cabinetry with natural wood contrasted against the white wood ceiling.
Josh and Charlie are fans of natural elements, which is why they chose to incorporate rattan on the fronts of their overhead cabinets. They use these cabinets for all their kitchen essentials, including spices secured with magnets.
During the design stage of their house on wheels, Josh decided he preferred to have a larger bathroom. It’s tucked away behind a beautiful white cladding door that blends in well with the rest of the bus.
Josh and Charlie thought long and hard about the type of toilet they wanted to include in their Mercedes-Benz. They decided on a slide-out composting toilet that would see them not being restricted to disposal in camping grounds due to chemical waste. The sliding feature is to ensure it remains dry while they shower, and they have also installed 12-volt computer fans and ventilation holes to suck air out of the bottom of the bus.
Josh and Charlie’s bathroom looks akin to those you’d spot in any prestigious home magazine. They fiberglassed the bathroom first then installed beautiful flooring and crisp, clean white walls. They also have a waterfall shower head, handheld shower, and 500L of water with an instant boiler. This provides them with ample water for at least two or three weeks. A roof vent and window provide adequate ventilation, and there’s a diesel heater for warmth and drying.