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Couple Converted Van Into Mobile Home Using Recycled Materials, Made a Business Out of It
With capitalism making us believe we need to buy lots of things to be happy, people have slowly disconnected from what really matters, like mother nature and the planet we live on. A couple from France wants to help people looking to embrace the minimalist and sustainable lifestyle by building mobile homes using recycled or reclaimed materials.

Couple Converted Van Into Mobile Home Using Recycled Materials, Made a Business Out of It

2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materials2010 Renault Master van converted into mobile home using recycled materialsNissan Homy "Woody"Nissan Homy "Woody"Nissan Homy "Woody"Nissan Homy "Woody"Nissan Homy "Woody"
Their builds are functional full-time living spaces that come packed with all the creature comforts one would expect from a conventional home but are also environmentally friendly. The fact that they use recycled materials in their conversions doesn’t save them time or effort, but it does save money. And the planet, actually, which is probably more important for them and their clients.

The mobile home bug entered René Brink’s and Yasmine El Kotni’s life in 2017 when they traveled around New Zealand in a Nissan Homy van called Woody. They bought it already converted into a motorhome, but they had to rebuild it was it didn’t meet their needs.

The couple from west France then bought a 2010 Renault Master van for around $7,600 (€6,700) in 2019 and spent another $3,400 (€3,000) on materials to renovate it and turn it into their first mobile home. It was a do-it-yourself project that took them two months to complete.

The couple’s goal with this project was to use as many sustainable resources as possible and create a space that would allow them to take longer trips. They stuck to their plan, as 90% of the van is made from recycled materials.

“It was a challenge to work with what you find, but we liked the creativity that came out of it,” they confess.

For the sleeping area, they decided to go with a comfortable fixed bed rather than a sofa bed, as they wanted to avoid the hassle of folding it away every morning.

The camper van includes a kitchen equipped with an oven, a large cooking bench, a tap, and an 80-liter pump. The water pump is, actually, one of the few luxuries they voluntarily spend a little money on for all of their conversions so that their clients can make use of fresh running water. The 80-liter pump usually lasts three to four days before needing a refill.

There is also a lounge and dining area, as well as a painting workshop with a desk. This was an important addition to the van, as Ren works as an artist.

As for the van’s power needs, there is a 100-watt solar panel that the couple uses when they stay for more than one day in a certain place, and the automobile’s alternator, which they rely on while on the move, to help recharge while they’re driving.

They like to include some organic elements in their builds, too, like small plant ledges or shelves and driftwood pieces.

After building their first van conversion out of recycled materials, they lived in the handcrafted mobile house for about six months. The van’s maiden journey was a three-month trip across France, Spain, and Portugal.

After that, the couple eventually decided to build recycled vans for a living. According to their business’ Instagram account, they have worked on transforming 15 vans until now, all with custom designs based on their clients’ requests and budget.

To sum up what living in a mobile home and reconnecting with nature means for the couple, we’ll leave here what they wrote on one of their social media posts. “There’s nothing more magical than waking up in the middle of the trees, up on the mountains, gazing at this wonderful nature we live in, drinking hot coffee with the one you love.” Couldn’t have said it better myself!




Editor's note: The photo gallery also includes images of the first van the couple used to travel around New Zealand.

 
 
 
 
 

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