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The Chaletvan Is How You Turn an Old Fiat Ducato Into an Alpine Chalet
Faced with adversity, man will adapt. Early in 2020, humanity was faced with a situation it had not experienced in the last century and least of all suspected: being home confined. Adapting, many travelers came up with ways to take their home with them on the road.

The Chaletvan Is How You Turn an Old Fiat Ducato Into an Alpine Chalet

The Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional artThe Chaletvan is an Alpine chalet on wheels, a Fiat Ducato conversion meant as a piece of functional art
Of course, the reality of what happened in 2020 and still happening now, as we’re drawing toward the end of 2021, is far more complex. Today, at the very least, we can look back on the previous year and remark how it taught us how to love nature again, to reconnect with our loved ones, and learn new ways to experience the joys of travel.

One of those new ways (for most) was through campervans, RVs, motorhomes, and even tiny homes. Since international travel was pretty much prohibited, people who had never before dreamed of giving vanlife a try were suddenly interested in it. More so, they were actually doing it.

Filmmaker Lara Hewitt was one of them, though she had other goals in mind, as well. She is the owner of a campervan known as Chaletvan, which is dubbed the only Alpine chalet on wheels in the United Kingdom and is now offered for rentals like an Airbnb, so others too can get a taste of what vanlife in a unique camper is like.

Chaletvan is a 2018 conversion of an old Fiat Ducato van. Van conversions are pretty common these days, and this is also due to the developments of 2020, but this one stands out for being a rolling piece of art as well. Take that in the most literal sense, since Chaletvan was converted by designer and artist Barry Stimson, as a “one-off piece of functional art.” It’s done with humor, even when it comes at the cost of functionality, and with some good taste, and in the end, it stands as proof that even old Fiat vans can make for relatively convincing Alpine chalets.

The basis for the Chaletvan is a 2008 Fiat Ducato. Its rear end was covered with real timber, in the manner of chalets: Stimson even added a little mock terrace upstairs, under the slanted roof, cute curtains to all the windows, flowers, and even a fake door. All that wood and embellishments surely add weight to the rig, but presumably, with a camper so cute, you’ll want to travel slow enough to allow common folk to take it in properly.

The interior is plywood and, to an extent, in keeping with the chalet theme of the exterior. You get a U-shaped galley right behind the front seats, with everything you need to make a short stay at camp comfortable: a sink with electrically pumped water from a small water tank, a small cooler, portable burner and, due to considerations of space, a slide-out portable toilet in one of the cupboards under the sink. The kitchen area also includes plenty of storage for foodstuff and dishes.

The four-person dinette turns into a two-person bed at night by simply dropping the backrests from the sofas so that the gap between the two sofas is closed. The bed is neither very wide nor very long, but it’s supposedly perfect for two adults, if they happen to like cuddling. When entertaining – a somewhat funny thought in this small camper, but possible nonetheless – you can position the portable table in the middle and host a dinner party for four. The galley is functional even with the bed extended.

For ventilation, the Chaletvan has only a roof vent to rely on, and the windows. The rear windows are factory tinted, allowing for privacy from the outside world.

After Stimson built the Chaletvan in 2018, he sold it on eBay that same year, with Hewitt being the buyer. At the time, the Fiat already had plenty of miles on the clock, but the unique designed turned the conversion into somewhat of a local celebrity. Hewitt used it continuously as her home for a couple of months in 2020, shooting a Brexit-themed documentary called Goodbye Europe, which saw her take her last trip as an European in the campervan.

Now that Hewitt has completed the journey, Chaletvan is available for rent out of Preston, Lancashire. So, for £65 ($89 at the current exchange rate), you too can experience the joys of living in a chalet of wheels, the kind of tiny mobile home even Heidi would approve of. Or so Hewitt hopes.



Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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