So I'd been talking about doing this for quite a while: Fixing the interior layout to better fit my needs. We love the van, but there's a bit of a "10lbs of crap in a 5lb bag" problem, and some of the decisions I made early on have caused problems down the line.
Most specifically, I really hated that I was never able to find a perfect arrangement for the fridge. I knew I wanted it somewhere behind the driver's seat or under the bed, but lack of overhead height meant the latter was a no-go, and getting any chest fridge to fit behind the seat either wasted a lot of space or forced me to relocate a BUNCH of stuff every time we stopped to camp. Not good. The whole point of this is for things to be easy.
I spent a lot of time (like literally 2 years) moving things around, building different fridge mounting boxes, and trying to make things 5% more efficient. During this time I was also hanging out at the Samba and daydreaming about how much interior space the Westy VW guys have. There, I got exposed to "the new hot thing" for their kitchens - a Danfoss swing-compressor replacement for the finicky old Dometic Absorption fridges that Westfalia originally installed. Mechanically, they're the same hardware as all the good "chest" fridges the Overland folks are using, but in upright "front loader" footprints. The VW guys are loving them because they can slot right into place in the original westy cabinets, but actually hold more food, since the swing compressor takes up less space than the old heat-engine system. Better yet, they run efficiently on 12v batteries and don't carry all the problems of a propane-driven 3-way.
Templates were transferred to 1/2" baltic birch ply. I cut these with my ancient Black and Decker skill saw (still refuses to die!), and then machined with the Kreg pocket-screw system.
Instead, I went to what I know, and built the drawer the way I used to build my fighting robots. I started by mitering 4 lengths of aluminum 1" x 3" angle stock on my chop-saw.
The only thing holding the drawer sides together is the tight joining to the baseplate, but this works really well if the tolerances are good. The result is a drawer box strong enough to stand on, but weighs less than half a pound. Over-engineered, probably, but the recovered drawer volume will be important later.
Another advantage of drawers that assemble with machine screws is that you can take them apart for easy installation of drawer slides. Note the guide sticks that make it easy to make sure the drawer is installed level.
The fridge is a Truckfridge TF-49, sourced from Karl at Westy Ventures. Karl was great to deal with and has good prices with free delivery.
I have a plan for treating the fridge door to make it more aesthetically pleasing. The "Truck Fridge" line seems to be marketed originally towards people installing them in the sleeper-cabs of 18-wheelers.
This has proven to be "big enough", and come cocktail hour, the Mrs. is always happy that we have a freezer box, because now there's ice for the G&Ts!
120mm computer case grill - an easy way to add a clean vent without significant cabinet work.
It will be nice to have an indoor surface for playing cards, etc. if we ever find any weather, but I suspect mostly my kiddo will use this for coloring. I may eventually build a slightly larger table surface and do something special, but for $14 at Ikea, this jumbo size cutting board was a good first pass.
I've yet to remove the auxiliary heater core (never used), but the shelf over the top of it now holds a basket with extra TP, tank deodorizer, and hand-sanitizer.
Having the toilet stored here is a HUGE improvement for us, for a couple of reasons:
First, up until now we've been limited to the smaller Thetford 135 with a two-gallon waste tank, because that's all that would fit between the front seats. Usually it was full up by the end of even a short weekend trip. I built this cabinet big enough that we can fit either a Thetford 550 or a Dometic 976 series - either of which will hold FIVE gallons+, which should give us enough overhead to get through a weekend without fear of filling it.
Mostly I suspect the burner will be just stored here, but I'm glad to know that in a pinch, I can boil water, make coffee, or heat small meals inside the van.
While I'm sure this seems obvious to anyone with a Westy or Sportsmobile, it's a revelation for me. After spending nearly five years unstrapping and moving the fridge every time I wanted to deploy the bed, (and then reversing the process to break camp), I'm absolutely thrilled with this project.
As usual, more detailed photos are available in the album.