When I was growing up, McMansions were the Next Big Thing in real estate, and plonking massive, boxy structures onto ordinary-sized lots seemed somehow luxurious. Today, though, the trend is the opposite.
Tired of managing an abundance of possessions, people are now opting for itty-bitty micro-homes situated on somewhat larger pieces of property.
But for Adam Croft and Nikki Pepperell of Gloucestershire, England, their choice to move into an amazingly small space was motivated by something far more practical: the high cost of rent.
“The main idea … is that we found it far too expensive to rent here,” Croft told The Daily Mail. “Pretty much all of our wages were going.
“At the end of the month, once we had paid for the running of the car and living costs, we wouldn’t really be left with anything. We were thinking about how we could live without struggling.”
Inspiration began to dawn when the couple went to New Zealand to visit Pepperell’s sister and her husband and then discovered that they couldn’t afford to rent a place to live when they returned home.
“We joked [about], and then seriously contemplated, the idea of living in a van,” Croft wrote on his blog, The Van Diaries.
That contemplation became reality when Croft saw a Ford Transit Luton on eBay for £3,500 (roughly $5,500 at the time). He and Pepperell lived with relatives and spent an additional £6,500 ($10,200) on retrofitting the vehicle.
“We were working and building it in our spare time,” Croft said. “We did it completely ourselves.
“I haven’t done any building work and it was the first time Nikki had picked up a drill. It was just about getting on with it, watching YouTube videos, and learning as we went.”
The two got plenty of bang for their buck. However, finishing the project wasn’t easy.
Croft recalled how “we had a massive struggle because we were doing quite a lot through the winter. We found we had a leak.
“We couldn’t get stuff on the roof to cure the leak because it was always raining. We also didn’t have a garage to store it in.”
In the end, though, it was worth all the effort. Their “van-sion” boasted a fireplace, toilet, shower, kitchen, reading nook, and bunk bed, as well as wood flooring.
Since completing it, the pair has ventured from their native Gloucestershire to places such as Barcelona, Spain, and Carcassonne, France.
Living inside a van might seem a little confining, but for Croft and Pepperell, the whole world is their backyard.
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