If you ask me, you can’t have a custom van without a custom interior. The interior on my van was trashed and mostly gutted when I got it. Since then I have been slowly (very slowly) rebuilding it from scratch. I picked up speed slightly once it was painted and over the last year I have made some real progress. This update covers the addition of a wrap-around sofa bed and custom captain chairs to my van. I did all the work myself. Originally I planned to send the front seats out to a professional upholstery shop but eventually I felt confident I could do them on my own. I have been teaching myself upholstery using an old Consew industrial sewing machine. It can sew through 1/4″ plywood, not to mention leather, vinyl and other upholstery materials. Check out the photos and let me know what you think.
I spent a long time designing the wrap around sofa bed. This picture shows the frame for the bench along the driver side wall. I decided rounded corners would go best with the curved center piece I had in mind.
The passenger side is just a shorter version of the driver side.
Once the framing was done I had to source and install the bending plywood to form the outer skin. I tried kerf bending luan but couldn’t get it to work well enough.
I still want to use my van to haul things sometimes. The design allows for plenty of room with the center section removed.
Here’s another shot of the left and right sofa bed pieces.
The center section was a little more complicated than the side pieces but turned out ok. The speakers will most likely be hidden 1970s period looking grill. I’m using fender guitar amp grill cloth.
This front side shot of the center section shows where it will be in “bed mode”. It slides back to be used as a sofa or maybe even a dinette. I’m not decided about the use of a table back there.
With the sofa bed lower structure completed it was time to make the cushions. One down, seven to go.
Good news! The cushions fit and look pretty good.
The seat cushions match pretty well to the walls.
Here’s a shot of the finished cushions in “bed mode”. The smaller cushions come out and can be used as arm rests or pillows.
Here is a shot of the mostly finished sofa bed. I still need to wrap the base but am waiting until I get some other stuff done.
I was initially afraid to do the front seat covers but finally decided to give it a go. They came out pretty good for my first car seat covers.
Here’s a shot of the back of one of the captain chairs. I could have left these smooth but think the added detail is nice.
I was able to fabricate some adapter plates and mount the seats to my swivel bases pretty easily. Overall I’m really pleased so far.