Spacious Self-Build RV over San Fransico Lifestyle

Hey, we are Matt and Amanda. This is our
home, Teziree. And we are The Van Project. It’s a 1964 Clark Cortez. Maybe you’ve
never heard of that before. It’s a bit of an American classic. It was a second RV
that was ever launched in the US and there’s only about 3,800 of them. It was
made by Clark Equipment which is actually a forklift company. San
Francisco’s awesome, we have great friends there, but it was really
expensive to live there. The amount of work we’d have to do to afford to live
in San Francisco comfortably it was just like that would be our whole life. We
know people that live that way and it just doesn’t seem super fulfilling.
When we first started talking about this idea it was kind of about finding a way
that we could downsize our lives, work less, and enjoy life a little bit more. This is Teziree. This is our 1964 Clark
Cortez RV. We found it on actually a Cortez group online. Amanda and I saw it,
we fell in love with it, obviously. It’s so classic looking. We were like, “this is
the vehicle for us.” And the price was right too, we paid 7,500 bucks for it, so
we were like, “this is the one. It’s in good shape, it’s been maintained, we got to go
get it.” So we called up this guy, King, we said, “we want it”, and that same day we
bought a one-way flight to Portland Oregon, flew up there. He picked us up at
the airport in the RV which was totally awesome. We fell in love. We had to have
it so that’s, that’s the story. We did all the renovations ourselves. All in,
we haven’t done math exactly, but I think we spent about $4,000. We have a rear
door so we didn’t want to block that. We opted to put the bike rack in the front
and if you want to peek down here you can see we we had to get this custom
receiver added to the front. That wasn’t standard on the vehicle, but it’s awesome.
It let us put our Thule rack on the front and we’ve got a pair of touring bikes on
here. Right behind the bikes, I don’t know if you can see, we’ve got the
grill and you just pop that guy open and that’s where the oil goes. I know this
really well because I have to put like a quart of oil in this thing every 250
miles. We’ve got these vents right here. This actually used to
be where the refrigerator was set up in the RV so now this is just a vent for
fresh air so we actually have an air register cover like you’d have in
your house that we can open and close on the inside. So when we turn our fan on
and open the vent to this we have a nice fresh air, can come right into the RV.
Come down here, we’ve got gas tanks in there and so this is, this is interesting.
This compartment here used to be where the propane was stored for the RV,
but we only needed a small propane tank to run our hot water heater and our
stove so we actually converted this to our solar battery compartment and I’ll
open this up and show you. You can see we’ve got two 12-volt deep cycle
batteries. We’ve got a couple fuses and I also keep some some tools in here. I’ve
got a tool bag with some sockets and wrenches and electrical stuff in case we
need to do repairs on the road. The back end here, this is one of the ways we get
in and out of the RV. Full-size spare tire here. On this side of the rig we’ve
got, we’ve got something that’s really important and luxurious for us. This is
an on-demand hot water heater. It’s propane powered and we can actually
enjoy a hot shower. This also gives us hot water in our sink whenever we want
it which is really nice. Water filling spot. This is the cockpit. This is where
the the captain sits and drives. When you have a 50 year old vehicle things are a
little different. You can see it’s got kind of a
classic appearance. Oil pressure, engine temperature, those are two really
important things to look at because a vehicle like this does not have a check
engine light. You have to keep an eye on those things to make sure they’re in the
right zone when you’re driving. We’ve got a choke right here kind of like a
lawnmower or a chainsaw so when it’s cold sometimes you got to use the choke to
get the RV started. Got a heater lights, you know some of the standard
stuff, got my tachometer up here so I can keep an eye on my rpms. Even 50 years ago
they were making the swivel seats. I can turn this thing around and face the
back or the side if I want. So here’s the front bench seat, converts into a bed,
which is awesome for having guests. There you go. Instant guest bed.
Welcome to the inside. This is our home. We knew we’d be cooking a lot, like we
both like to cook, and we trade off cooking duties and so we wanted a
kitchen that was enough space and that had everything we’d need for cooking. And
so we have a two basin sink over here, we have plumbing, and a hot water heater,
which gives us hot and cold water. We have a two burner stove. This you can
remove. We ended up, most of the time we don’t. It runs off propane. We
built like a little wooden stopper back there and so the legs sit in the stopper
so when we’re driving we can actually leave it in. This is really convenient to
have a cutting board that fits over the sink so one of the things that’s like
useful is you can, if you need more space, like kind of put it over here and have
more space to cook. We have lots of storage in this area so we keep all of
our coffee stuff, like that makes a coffee every morning, coffee, tea. These
stay closed with magnets so we have two magnets on each side. We built in the
kitchen area so we have two drawers. These are the only two drawers we built
and I actually built them myself. It was like one of my proudest moments. I was
newer to the carpentry and stuff than Matt and so like for me that was a huge
step, but they are normal 3/4 drawers and we have catches to keep them shut. That’s
very important when you’re building you need something to keep everything shut and
in place. I’ll open up and show you just how much storage we have, we have a lot.
In this in this area under here is where our 30 gallon freshwater tank is. You
can’t see it, but if you look in from the side we can see how full it is. And this
is our fridge. As mentioned this is one of the purchases we thought maybe,
“should we get a cooler? Should we get a fridge?” Amazing purchase. We had a table.
This is a table that we spent a lot of time making and a lot of love. It’s actually
a really beautiful table, but it kind of didn’t work for us and so we’re
eventually gonna get rid of this. We don’t need a table to eat. That’s one
thing you’ll learn along the way is you learn things in your space, it’s like any
home, you learn how to rework it and fix it along the way. Matt’s clothes. That’s
been another thing for being two people in this small space.
Matt’s area where he has his clothing and stuff is more up here and mine’s in
the back area and so that works really really well because then he has this
space to get ready and I have that space and we don’t like get in
each other’s way. Matt already showed it to you, but that’s the original bed for
this vehicle and there were two. There was like a bunk bed set up and living as
two people in this, it’s very small, it’s actually smaller than twin sized and so
we knew we wanted a bigger bed and so that’s what we have here. It’s a
queen-size bed, which we went with a queen. It’s like not that much bigger
than a full, but it definitely makes a difference. We also wanted a lot of
storage and so we store tons of stuff underneath the bed too. We have like
climbing gear bins, Matt’s huge, big tripod under here, and we have the heavy weight
gear under here, but one of the things we added toward the end was this bookshelf
and that’s been like I’m so glad we did that. Having this bookshelf and having a
couple open storage areas have been really awesome like we have all of our
climbing guides here and books that we’re reading. A lot of times we’ll like
pick up a couple books along the way and then get rid of them, give them to
friends and like trade off. One of the things that we didn’t think we were
gonna have was a toilet and so we do have a toilet, we kept it, and it’s been
awesome. The original bathroom was much bigger so
we did a huge renovation. The bathroom went out about to here and there was a
second sink. And here we have some electric stuff so this is where all the
solar components go. That’s our inverter. Inside is the charge controller and this
is our DC fuse panel and then here’s my clothes. It’s not super clean, but that’s
okay because I try to keep it just in one corner.
My old roommate used to make jokes that I would leave Amanda bombs all over the
apartment and I still do that but I don’t do as many because there’s not as
much space. It has a USB plug in it so this is usually how we charge our phones.
This is a really long cord and so it’s long enough that you can sleep on
either side of the bed. That’s one benefit of having our bed in this
orientation too is like we can change the direction that we’re sleeping so if
you’re a little bit off kilter one way or the other, we don’t have to level, we
can just change where our head goes. Yeah, here’s a little bit of extra storage
space that we made use of this little spot over here. One of the scariest things I did, for me,
was leaving my job. I worked at YouTube. I worked at, the company is like,
everyone wants to work at that company and it’s a great place to be but it was
not the place for me. I was not exceeding there. I was not
pushing myself to do everything I could creatively. I was not learning as much as
I could. I had to do that scary thing like I am so much happier now. I had to
do that thing that really, really scared me. That’s part of my message too is that
fear can hold you back and everyone has their fears and so a lot of it is
about combating that. You have to be really persistent if you want to do this
and also simultaneously make a living on the road. You can save a bunch of money
and then just stop working and live like this or you can try and live like this
and also work simultaneously or you could work intermittently and travel, but
you have to figure out what way is going to work for you realistically. You know I
think you just have to be open to challenges. You have to, you have to be
psyched about taking on challenges to live in a van or RV. There’s gonna be
challenges no matter how adaptable you are. It’s not easy, but the rewards are
just incredible. Thanks for watching this week’s episode. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did be sure to LIKE comment and subscribe and thanks most of all to the
Patrons I really appreciate you guys for supporting the channel. Thanks for
watching guys. If you want to find out more you can find us on Instagram @van.project, our website is and we also have a YouTube
channel that you can check us out on at Have a
great week, peace!


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