Travel enthusiasts Edden Ram, a filmmaker, and Nicole Sun, an artist, have always had a passion for exploring the world. After years of globetrotting, they decided to take their adventures up a notch. Looking for a blend of comfort and style in their travels, they jumped into the van life trend and splurged on a 2021 Mercedes Benz Sprinter
Having shelled out $58,000 for their new van, Edden and Nicole dove into transforming it into their dream luxury home on wheels. The twist? Neither of them had ever done any DIY projects before. It was a real learn-as-you-go situation, building the whole van from the ground up. And talk about a steep learning curve! Plus, with both of them juggling full-time jobs, it took six months to get the conversion done.
A great deal of time, effort, and energy went into transforming Edden and Nicole’s new Mercedes Benz Sprinter into a house on wheels. The couple purchased the 2500 series Sprinter chassis with a 170-inch wheelbase, which gave them more space to work with than a traditional van. This longer wheelbase meant they could have a partition wall between the cab area and living space, an L-shaped sectional with dining flexibility, and a split galley kitchen with storage and a laundry chute.
The L-shaped sectional is also multi-purpose, transforming into a full-size bed for two people. When the bed is not in use, it can be a comfortable lounging and dining area for themselves and their guests. Once night falls, Edden and Nicole can push a button to release a Queen bed from the ceiling.
Even the bathroom is something special, with a separate toilet room and shower in the rear of the van.
The couple found that mastering everything from van layout to carpentry, and from electrical work to plumbing, was a major hurdle. They faced tough challenges every day. Yet, this journey taught them valuable lessons about teamwork, resilience, and handling high-pressure projects with grace and mutual respect. Their experience was so rewarding that they’ve now ventured into design consulting, eager to guide others in crafting their dream van.
After finishing their build, Edden and Nicole moved into the van and were able to work remotely while they traveled for a couple of months. However, all good things must come to an end. While they loved their experience in their cozy home on wheels, they always intended to sell the van after completing it. They invested money in the van to learn how to build and make more vans in the future.
The campervan was officially sold for $226,000, freeing up their funds to buy, build, and sell more vans in the future.
Edden and Nicole’s 2021 Mercedes Benz Sprinter looked like an ordinary van when they bought it, but it was anything but by the time they had finished it. During their van-to-home conversion, they wrapped the van they named Concrete Oasis in a Khaki Green Satin wrap to protect it and give it a unique look and color.
Living Area at the Front
Glide open Concrete Oasis’s side doors, and you’ll be greeted by a tranquil, cozy, and contemporary living space, featuring an L-shaped bench. Edden and Nicole chose to have the living area at the front, allowing them to take in stunning views while lounging on the sofa, with the side door inviting the outside in.
While many van designers opt for a strong wood theme throughout, Edden and Nicole chose something different. Hint: it’s all in the name ’Concrete Oasis’.
They used a product called microcement. It’s a thin, lightweight, and waterproof material that can be installed over other building materials. So, while their van actually is wood-lined, the floors and walls look like concrete for that cleaner, fresher, and more contemporary look.
Edden and Nicole were adamant that they didn’t want their van to feel like a van. That led them to install a partition wall between the living space and the cab area. A beautiful partition door with hand-burned artwork provides access to the cab from the interior, but it can be closed off most of the time. Otherwise, the couple can simply access the cab from the driver and passenger doors.
The arched door leading into the cab area sets the scene for other similar design elements. Alongside the arched door, there are also arched windows and other curved design elements. The couple installed opening AMA windows with mosquito nets and built-in blackout curtains for complete versatility and privacy.
And while these design elements certainly stand out, the L-shaped sectional sofa is truly the star of the show. It’s the perfect place to relax and unwind while also being an ideal dining space. The Lagun table in the center can work with any dining configuration to suit Edden and Nicole’s unique needs.
But there’s more to this sofa than meets the eye. It also has abundant built-in storage for the heater and electrical system. This electrical system offers 800 amp hours of power, enabling them to go for up to six days without needing to plug into the grid. They also enjoy charging capabilities courtesy of the 480-watt solar panels installed on the roof and a DC-DC charger. All their power needs are met with the addition of a 3000-watt inverter.
If you thought the curved windows and cab door were the extent of the ‘arch’ theme, think again. There is also a curved bench opposite the L-shaped sectional. A 34-gallon freshwater tank is tucked up underneath. There is also a 32-gallon grey water tank is also hidden in the spare tyre compartment, housing all water from washing dishes and taking full showers.
The kitchen might be cozy, but it has been well thought out for Edden and Nicole’s needs as well as those of future owners. There are two large overhead cabinets with plenty of storage and a generous sink for dishwashing. They also installed a detachable faucet connected to an undersink-mounted Waterdrop 10UA water filter system. This provides them with fresh, clean drinking water everywhere they go. The kitchen is also home to their AC unit, a Dometic RTX 2000 12-volt air conditioner to provide cool, comfortable air at all times.
The attention to detail in the kitchen can’t help but amaze all who see it. Edden and Nicole said the lower kitchen cabinets were the only thing they outsourced. They entrusted this project to a master woodworker who produced some of the nicest cabinets the couple had ever seen in a van. They then added grain-matched walnut veneer, creating a beautiful richness that contrasts against the calmer hues of the microconcrete.
The soft-close drawers are of the same outstanding quality with the same rich veneer as well as locking latches and deep bottoms for plenty of storage. The icing on the cake is the LED lighting on both sides of the kitchen, inside the cabinets, in the toe kicks, and in the nooks.
While style was undoubtedly a main consideration when designing the kitchen, functionality was of equal importance. The couple installed a microwave, a dual-induction stovetop, and a 110L stainless steel Dometic fridge with plenty of space for two-plus people. Knowing space is limited, they incorporated a pop-up countertop for more meal preparation space when needed.
There is so much extra space in the kitchen that Edden and Nicole were able to build a hanging closet and laundry chute that delivers clothes into a laundry basket in the garage.
Electric Drop-Down Bed
While the L-shaped sectional sofa is more than comfortable for sleeping, Edden and Nicole also installed a dedicated bed. Blink and you’ll miss it! They invested in an electric drop-down Queen-size bed that sits elevated above the couch when not in use. The bed can drop down at night at the touch of a button. They never have to worry about making it when guests visit. Instead, they can lift the bed and put it out of sight!
Concrete Oasis is well and truly designed for luxurious living on the road. When the electric bed is in place, The couple can lie in bed and view the night sky through the Dometic Midi Heki skylight. This dual-pane 40cm by 40cm window has a pull-across mosquito net and window shade and doubles as a roof hatch.
Most vans comfortably sleep up to two people – and you can feel cramped even with two! Concrete Oasis is different. This van can comfortably sleep up to four people. Two people can sleep in the elevated electric bed, and another two can sleep on the L-shaped sectional that folds out to a second full-size bed.
Van life is all about enjoying new environments and spending time in nature. That’s why it was important for Edden and Nicole to include features promoting indoor-outdoor flow. They installed a pull-out picnic table in the L-shaped sectional. It becomes the perfect alfresco dining environment when paired with the two bar stools with upholstery matching the van’s interior.
While the picnic table looks like an ordinary table, it’s anything but. It also doubles as a storage box. It can be the perfect spot for picnicking accessories or outdoor essentials you need to access at a moment’s notice.
Showering and toileting in a van is often a less ‘glamorous’ part of van life. Edden and Nicole were determined to buck the trend with their van design. They decided to create a shower and bathroom area in the van’s rear that mimicked a home bathroom as closely as possible.
They used the same microconcrete and walnut veneer cabinetry that can be found in the kitchen and created a luxurious and practical space for toileting and showering. The bathroom, accessible from the kitchen or rear of the van, has a full-size vanity, spacious shower, and a mirror.
This bathroom’s versatility knows no bounds, with its external access making it ideal as a mudroom, wet room, or even extra storage space. Edden and Nicole also chose to install a Nebia shower head that uses a third of the water of a traditional shower head. Steam isn’t an issue, either, courtesy of the above-shower vent.
The toilet is perhaps the biggest engineering marvel in Concrete Oasis. Edden and Nicole wanted a large shower, but they also wanted the convenience of a toilet. They couldn’t have both at the same time.
So, they installed their toilet on 250-pound drawer slides in the garage. It can stay tucked away in the garage when it’s not in use. When they need to use it, they can slide it into the bathroom before pushing it back through to the garage.
The couple also chose to install a Laveo Dry Flush toilet rather than a more traditional chemical or composting toilet. They don’t have to worry about composting or cleaning, nor do they need to endure any smells. After using the bathroom, you just click a button, and the waste vacuum seals itself. Once the cartridges are used, you can pick up the waste and throw it away like regular trash.
Edden and Nicole love having the toilet completely separated from the main living space, helping to keep their living area clean, fresh, and odor-free. This area also boasts a cold water shower head that lets them spray down all their dirty gear outside before storing it in the van.
There are plenty of incredible features and products inside Concrete Oasis, but the exterior is just as exciting. Edden and Nicole installed an Owl rear tire rack and ladder, a back step, a 12v-converted Starlink system for fast internet, and a walkable solar deck. While the solar panel receives energy from the sun, they can walk on it, sit on it, and even do yoga. The couple love sitting on Concrete Oasis’s roof, watching sunsets in beautiful locations.
If you’re considering getting a campervan built and would like some expert advice, Edden and Nicole are just a click away. Visit their website for all the details on how to get in touch. Plus, don’t forget to follow their journey and get some serious van life inspiration on TikTok and Instagram!