Storie'z from the Build: The Sink

November 18, 2020

To sink or not to sink? A question SO basic you may have skipped it altogether. We actually debated this one quite a bit as our van build first began to take shape back in 2018.


Why? Honestly, including a grey water system in our surf/camping van initially felt like a huge waste of our very limited space. We’re pretty partial to the Boy Scout system of using dirt and minimal amounts of water to wash dishes when we’re camping. It’s efficient, resourceful and, truthfully, makes us feel a little badass. It wasn’t until we started to entertain the idea of more urban van living that we conceded to the fact that a sink would be necessary. 

Once we accepted that we needed a sink, the search for materials began. Piecing our van’s interior together from bits and pieces of reclaimed materials had been like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. Over 80% of what we've used in our van build has come from used items that we've been able to repurpose. 

The only thing in our sink area that doesn’t fit into this category is the metal frame which Arturo welded up out of some 1” angle iron.

Suggested Reading

Our search for the perfect adventure vehicle started in the Summer of 2018. At the time, our daily beach driver was a 1981 VW Rabbit. Arturo had welded up a roof rack for the veedub with surfing in mind but taking boards in and out of bags and on and off the rack always made the whole process of getting into the water feel a bit more arduous...  Read More

The Pre-Van Life

Septemeber 27, 2019

Keeping our van build cost effective and eco friendly has driven many of the decisions we’ve made along the way. Of course, using reclaimed materials sometimes has its downsides. For example, the five-gallon water tanks we're currently using are shorter and fatter than many six-gallon tanks we've seen on the market. That means they waste valuable space under the sink. 

Although we saved some money and reduced the van's carbon footprint by using these secondhand items, the extra space that new water containers would give us, would allow for a larger, refillable propane tank. Ultimately, this would mean we could stop relying on single-use 16 oz propane cans. All of this to say that, using our four basic questions to guide us isn't always as straightforward as it sounds. It's a constant balancing act.

Another complication that made us rethink our sink build, was the addition of a bubble top. When we started designing the sink area, the countertop was only 28" high. Later, when we installed the bubble top, we decided to go for a standard counter height instead so we could prepare dinner without hunching over. Rather than welding up a new frame, we decided to add some wooden cubbies at the bottom to serve as extra storage as well as a height booster. The result was some super-functional storage for our cast-iron pan and a few pairs of shoes.

Our water pump and hoses were recovered from an old, broken water cooler. The pump already ran on 12 volts so all we had to do was hook up the power to the pump and get some some fittings and attachments to hook up the outlet hose to the faucet.

Storie'z from the Build is a new section of our website designed to walk you through the thought process behind different design elements of our van. Want to know why we made the decisions that we did? Follow along to find out!

Without a proper table saw, router or even a jigsaw, we had to get pretty creative when it came to fabricating the cabinets and drawers. Our skill saw did a lot of of the heavy lifting and Arturo was able to revamp an old chisel and finish the lap joints by hand.

Before we get started, the first thing you should know about our build is what factors we take into consideration in the design process. There is a lot to consider but, for us, these are the big ones. Once we decide to add a new element to the van, we often start by asking ourselves these four questions: 

#1: Is this the most efficient use of space?

#2: How much weight is this adding to the build?

#3: Is it possible to incorporate repurposed materials in this part of the build?

#4: Is this the most cost-effective way to get the job done (well)?

This design (light frame and no back) allowed us to cut down on weight while still keeping it super strong and making good use of our upcycled wood, sink and granite. Even the drawer pulls on our cabinets were salvaged from a friend’s kitchen remodel!

The final touch? This maple butcher's block that had been sitting in Arturo's parents' basement for over a decade got cut down to a custom size and added into the metal frame a few days before we left on our big trip across the country.

Though these questions may seem pretty basic, our sink planning started with an even simpler one:

To sink or not to sink...

If you have any additional questions about our sink build, feel free to contact us directly on Instagram @2kooks1van 

or shoot us an e-mail at