Bed / Bench Seat
New storage space idea
(OK, new to me - I'm sure many other designs have this!)
Over the last couple of years, I have found that the space under the bed is useful, but not very easy to get to. The cushions don't make lifting the lid very easy, and if you have anything on the seat, then it all has to be moved to get into the space.
Also, when the bed is made up, I have move out a supporting leg/strip to support the extended leaf. This has always been a bit iffy.
The solution to both problems....drawers! Here is a mock-up - excuse the wonky drawing - the hope the real thing would be square!
By installing drawers below the seat/bed, nothing on the seats have to be moved to get to that storage area (although the floor space has to be clear!!!). By cutting the front support beams of the seat (leaving enough to support the lid still), the drawer can be made to use the full height of the space. This will leave a small space either side of the drawer when it is closed, but that area could be filled with things that are not used often - jump-leads, cables etc. Wooden strips can be screwed to the floor under the seat to guide the drawer in and out.
The front of the drawer is made to the height of the extending bed section. With the drawer open, the front then becomes the support for the extended bed. A neat replacement from the original extra leg/strip.
The drawer can be fastened in wither position by a simple bolt latch. The face of the drawer can be wider than the actual draw, to cover what is left of the original seat supports.
The drawer itself sits on the carpet, so can be made of light material which doesn't have to be all that strong (3mm ply?) it is only there to contain the items. I suggest some 20mm baton in the corners to allow the side and bottom panels to be screwed and glued together.
In the Suzuki Carry, the floor drops down along the van. Under the seat, I have my battery and electrics. This would not be practical to turn into a drawer. However, I could have a half-width drawer at the shallow end, and have the drawer front the whole width, giving the effect that the drawer is full size.
If I get this working, I'll post some more photos to explain!
This section has a gallery of images which show the van in it's various modes - seat, bed, with table etc. see below.
The van has a bench seat down one side which is wide enough to have a snooze on without extending the bed to it's full width. The bed is 6 feet long (the length of the load space of the Carry). The idea is that I could have a kip without a lot of re-arranging of the content on the van (as sometimes happens with a rock-n-roll type bed.
The bed/seat has storage underneath. The height of this depends on which part of the van floor is built over (see the floor section for details). The bed is split into 3 sections. I decided that one single lid to the storage rear would be hard to lift when the cushions were in place. By sitting the length up, each section can be lifted independently. You can just see the sections in the photo above as the cushions were not quite cut to size in that photo.
To make life a bit more comfortable, the bed hinges out to fill all of the available width of the van. The animation here shows how the double "lid" to the box sections opens up to access the storage under the bed, but also can extend out (with a supporting leg) to make the bed wider. The animation stops after 5 goes - refresh the screen to view again. The seat cushions are the same size as the seat panels (note the top panel is actually smaller than the main panel, so is the cushion as well).
Under the rear section there is enough height to store a few items, and enough height to store food tins on their sides (see the section of the plan about sizes and heights). The mid section has some space space along with the battery power pack and the leisure electric (see the electrics section). The front section is the deepest and most useful space. This can be used to store hold-alls, rucksacks etc. Access to it is from a removable panel in the door way, or even easier access from the driver's side sliding door.
If the driver's seat is moved forwards on it's slider, and tilted forwards, then a useful amount of space is gained. It us quite nice to sit in the main seat and rest up against the driver's seat in that position with your legs pointing down the van. This main seating position (the front-most of the three) also lines up with the table when in place.