EJ and Florrie Bleendreeble's

Fergus the Magic Bus

Design Philosophy: 3

The story so far ...

If you've been following this narrative with bated breath, don't unbate just yet. Let's summarize what had happened so far:
  • We were stuck with a low-roof Transit and with no prospect of that roof getting any higher in the foreseeable future;
  • However, because he was a low-roof model, he fitted under the house ... cool!
We had contemplated driving Fergus to Indiana or California to get the Sportsmobile options we wanted. But suppose we were better off without them ...?

What do you actually do in a van?

Well, one thing's fairly clear. Most of the time, you sit down.

The moment we accepted this, Fergus's entire interior pretty much designed itself. We knew that we wanted one bed, with the possibility of another if we were camping together. We knew that we needed a desk to work at - both Florrie and I have jobs in the software area. And we knew that that desk would become the second bed when needed. So the key dimension on which everything else would depend was this:

How high should a workdesk be?

There's no short answer to this. You get hold of the human beings who are going to use it and you try it out. Here is Bleendreeble himself, sitting on a stool that is too tall, figuring out the answer for him. Between us, we worked it out to be just shy of 26 inches.

It may be worth mentioning here, for those people who are trying to determine whether to get a low-roof or medium-roof Transit, Bleendreeble's own dimensions. I'm 5'10" tall, and sitting on a stool of the correct height (in other words, not the stool as pictured), at a desk that is 26" high, my head is well short of the roof. If you are 5'11" or taller, our low-roof solution may be too low for you to sit comfortably at a desk.

Time to start cutting things up!

The desk would be 26" high. So, therefore, would the beds. Opened up, the beds would be 2'10" wide (because Fergus is about 5'8" wide at a height of 26".) The one bed is permanent and would be one piece of 3/4" ply. The other folds into a desk, so it would need to be cut in two lengthwise and fastened with hinges. (Actually, both beds were made this way because it had not yet occurred to the Bleendreeble brain that one bed would always be in use.) So storage crates would need to be purchased that would fit neatly under that height of desk. We got translucent Sterilite crates, which we have found are better quality than Rubbermaid (and much better quality than Home Depot's own brand).

And that's it for the design philosophy

No bashing or drilling holes in Fergus. A conversion that could be reversed at any time. A design predicated on the idea that most of the time you're in a van, you're sitting down. A commitment to remain with a low-roof van that will fit under the house, at least for the time being. These are the guidelines that formed Plan B.

But man proposes, God disposes. Plan B created some interesting little problems along the way, and we deal with those one by one elsewhere on our site.