Toronto couple started building off-grid RVs as a side business during closures

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A new Toronto business wants to make your vanlife dream come true.

The trend for tiny living seems to be strong with a Toronto man building tiny houses, laneway suites all over the city, and even a couple trying out a cubic minivan living in Toronto.

The Van Dads is a new Toronto-based design and build company that creates off-grid winter homes for vanlifers, festival-goers, or anyone who wants to escape to their own mini-house.

Van Dads can make a custom motorhome.

Like many new businesses these days, The Van Dads came out of lockdown when Gui Figueiredo and his life and business partner Jeremy Vandermeij decided to take winter 2020/2021 and build their own motorhome.

This summer they hit the road, living and working as they traveled across Canada to Tofino on Vancouver Island.

dads van

The room is small but there is a lot of light.

Van life has become a cliché with the #vanlife movement, admits Vandermeij, but the experience has opened his eyes to a different way of life.

“The world has just become filled with so many things, digital things, physical things, thoughts. And then when you live in a van, like when all of that gets blown away, it kind of lends itself to a way of life. healthier, ”Vandermeij told blogTO.

dads van

Space is tight inside, less than 100 square feet.

Space is tight and can get dirty at times, but Vandermeij says you can just open the door and the outside becomes an extra room.

After Vandermeij and Figueiredo realized they could build custom vans in an open concept and minimalist aesthetic, they decided to start a business offering something different from what’s on the market today.

The small space of a minivan, typically less than 100 square feet, is a huge design challenge, one that interested Vandermeij, who taught interior design at Ryerson University.

“I’ve always liked designing small spaces, because I like this fusion between architecture, interior design and furniture making… it’s like interior design meets carpentry, n ‘ is this not.”

dads van

The small space is a design challenge.

The Swift Chalet Pickup Truck, now for sale on their site, comes with almost everything you need, including a water system, electrical system, solar panels, refrigerator, composting toilet, griddle induction cooking and a Wi-Fi system.

They used real Baltic birch plywood for a warm feel and powder pink laminate countertops. Everything should be durable and secure to withstand vibration while riding.

dads van

The hose from the kitchen sink could be used as an outdoor shower if you open the door.

The only thing the van doesn’t have is a shower, but you can take the hose from the kitchen sink outside for an outdoor shower or use camping showers.

The solar panels provide enough power for two days on a full charge and you can plug in the van.

dads van

They used pink laminate for the countertops which is very durable and easy to clean.

The cost is high around $ 150,000, but that includes the entire installation. People can also buy their own pickup truck and bring it to The Van Dads for a design around $ 100,000.

Vandermeij says his experience of living in a van this summer made him want to bring this to more people.

dads van

Getting away from it all in a motorhome opened up a new way of life for Gui Figueiredo and his life and business partner Jeremy Vandermeij.

“It is a great experience to live in a van, especially in the world we live in, where we have recently been trapped in our homes. Having a house on wheels and finding a sense of wonder, again, this summer was brilliant and made my soul come alive again. “



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