From a dated 80's factory fit interior, to a beautiful and cosy home from home.
Meet Florence and the Morgans
When the Morgans set out on their van conversion, they had no idea what they were taking on. With no relevant skills, they set themselves the arduous task of completely refitting the interior of their 1990 Fiat Ducato Camper van, in just 6 weeks, with an impossible budget of only £1000!
A Labour of Love
There is no denying that this effort was a real labour of love, this can be seen in the attention to detail applied to every part of this build. The affectionately named Florence was more than just a van to Scott and Ellie Morgan, it was a tribute to their dream of Florence, changed by a profound life experience they went through together. Just a few months after they walked down the aisle, ironically to Florence and the Machines; 'Dog Days are Over', in an intimate wedding ceremony in Scotts birthplace - Clifton in Bristol. This small space, they had created together, gave them a new sense of direction, a purpose, hope and ultimately peace. Exploring with her off grid in stunning remote locations.
Florence and the Morgans – A story of love, life and loss
What they achieved in just 6 weeks with only £1000 is unbelievable!
The old bed set-up
a fixed bed was a luxury they craved
No comfort is spared in this bright, clean and surprisingly spacious van conversion. The Morgans spent a great deal of time trying to find an example of another custom refit in a Fiat Ducato or the identical Talbot Express, as inspiration for their own design, but could not find a single example. They could not understand why this had never been done before? The Talbot Express factory fit interior could be viewed as practical. It just wasn't working for the Morgans though. They found it a chore setting up the bed and putting it away every day, a fixed bed was a luxury they craved. The toilet/shower cupboard was not used for its intended purpose and became a place for things, that didn't have any other home. In a small area; like a van, space is a commodity and so it made absolute sense to get rid of it. The corridor down the middle made the space feel cramped and dark. They wanted to achieve a space that was comfortable, bright and clean, with Florence they certainly achieved this!
A comfy new fixed Double Bed
Hand made by the Morgans
A Reluctant Carpenter
The Morgans divided up the tasks accordingly, Scott would do all the wood work and plumbing, Ellie would create all of the textiles and painting. Scott was a very reluctant carpenter. Having never worked with wood before he approached a local wood recycling centre. They had a workshop and manufactured items at cost price. Scott handed them the original overhead locker and asked them to make a copy of it in real wood, rustic in style. Their understanding of rustic, it would appear, was different to the Morgans. It was the best thing that could have happened, Scott took one look at it and thought "I could have made this!" He spent a day sanding and filling amateur staple marks on the lockers, bringing them up to a standard acceptable for Florence. He now had a grounding in what he needed to achieve and there was no stopping him. Breaking the build down into sections, so the task was not so overwhelming. Gradually day by day, a gorgeous rustic interior (the Morgans translation of rustic) revealed itself.
A love hate relationship with a sewing machine
Ellie became a dab hand with the sewing machine. She had a love hate relationship with a sewing machine, she loved the idea of sewing, but believed the sewing machine hated her! She would spend far more time picking the stitches gone wrong, than actually sewing them. But as she worked her way through the chair covers, the headboard, the curtains and blinds, all firsts for her, she discovered she was making fewer mistakes.
The Morgans both learned on the job, their confidence growing with each day of their short 6 week build. There were many late nights, many disagreements, literal blood, sweat and tears. Would they do it again? Let them answer that question after they have had some more time to enjoy all of their hard work!
Lets take a look around
The Dining Table Setup
An Extending Worktop
Having removed the fixed passenger chair, which was taking up far too much real estate, the Morgans went with a moveable, padded box bench. This has found multiple uses: a good storage box, a foot stall for the front passenger swivel chair (a favourite spot for Scott to sit and admire his hard work) and a good little seat, which moves to where you need it to be.
Ellie loves to cook and saw no reason why being on the road should stop that, she campaigned for an all in one hob/grill/oven combo opting for the retro Flavel B600 unit, which looks just adorable. It does take up a lot of worktop space though. The solution, a fold down worktop, the driver seat shunts forwards, allowing room for the worktop to fold up, providing an ample food preparation area.
A Book Shelf
Scott took the plumbing you would normally find under a sink and bought it right out on top. Creating a stylish feature. With simple push fit plumbing fittings, anyone could recreate this design, no soldering required! The gorgeous baby Belfast sink was a car-boot sale discovery, for just £8 they found the perfect sink, completing the whole look of the kitchen.
Making use of every last bit of space. Some old metal bars pulled off of some pieces of reclaimed wood, provided a simple, but affective solution for a book shelf. Containing vintage cookery books, with simple war time recipes, achievable in a simple kitchen, travel, art books and novels waiting to be devoured, make up the rest of the shelf.
A repurposed Carpenters box
A Mini Herb Garden
A discovery at a flea market made for storage full of character. The Morgans repurposed an old wooden Carpenters box, cutting it up into sections, they did not waste a piece. The box provided them with a tall Kilner Jar shelf, a cutlery drawer beneath with original handle. Opposite another box storage shelf. Scott just loves maps, the final piece provided them with a dedicated map shelf above the back doors.
Another section of the Carpenters box, beneath the light of the upper window, made the perfect spot for a min herb garden. Basil, Rosemary and Greek basil, great for cooking, but also adds a lovely aroma in the van, as well as a little splash of colour. Bringing the outdoors in really makes a space feel homely.