Inside a Tiny Cabin on Wheels for Vanlife Couple and 2 Dogs

Nat and Abi Rodriguez have been living on the road for the last three years, they said in a recent interview with Insider.

Abi (left) and Nat (right) jump in the air in front of their van.

Nat and Abi


Nat, a chef, and Abi, a photographer, started vanlife three years ago after getting married, they told Insider.

They share their tips and travel stories on their YouTube and Instagram accounts, both called Let’s Play Ride and Seek.

 

Inspired by nature, Nat and Abi converted their sprinter van into a tiny cabin on wheels.

Abi and Nat hold hands while walking out of the van with their dogs laying on the ground outside

Nat (left), Abi (right), and their two dogs live on the road.

Nat and Abi


Nat and Abi said they got their van for $6,000 in 2018 and spent another $10,000 on renovations. Two years later, they said they decided to rebuild it again while reusing parts of the first build to give it a more rustic vibe.

The couple told Insider they wanted to find a way to bring the outside in, so they went with an organic, wooden theme.

Two photos show the interior from the front and the back

The interior, seen from the front and the back of the van.

Nat and Abi


“We spend a lot of time camping in the woods, so it’s nice to come into the van and still feel like we’re a part of that space,” Abi said. 

Nat and Abi have a lot of detailed woodwork in their home, and they said they really enjoyed the creative process of making unique pieces. 

Aside from the driver and passenger doors, the van has two entrances — the sliding side door and back doors.

Left: Open door shows inside the van Right: A view of the water from the bed

The side and back doors are seen open.

Nat and Abi


The doors open to the kitchen and bedroom.

When you first walk in, there’s a mosaic mountain pattern to the right of the kitchen that Nat and Abi said they made out of wood they were given.

Two interior photos highlight wooden detailing

The mountainscape is seen on the left and the kitchen is seen on the right.

Nat and Abi


“We took all the reclaimed materials we could and patterned it to make this really cool mosaic,” Nat said. 

Above that wall, which separates the cab from the house, Nat said Abi wood-burned a tree, adding that their mirror is on the door to the cab just below it.

Left: Nat poses in the mirror in a blue patterned blazer Right: a view of the front of the interior shows the mirror

Nat takes a look in the mirror.

Nat and Abi


Since it’s next to the kitchen sink, the couple said they use this mirror to brush their teeth and get ready for the day.

The tree is burned over doors that open up to their attic, which they use for storage space, Abi said.

Abi shows inside a hidden storage space

Abi shows the attic doors opened and closed.

Nat and Abi


“It’s very gorgeous,” Nat said of the tree. “It’s the best piece in the van, in my opinion.”

One side of the kitchen has a fridge and a sink with storage cabinets above.

A wide view of the kitchen

One side of the kitchen.

Nat and Abi


Nat and Abi said they keep their coffee and teas in the storage space above the sink, and their fridge can hold two weeks’ worth of produce at a time.

 

Next to the fridge, there’s a hidden floor-to-ceiling pantry that slides out when needed.

Two photos show pull out pantry opened and closed

The pantry slides in and out of the wall.

Nat and Abi


“Being a chef, I wanted to have space for spices and things like that,” Nat said. 

The other side of the kitchen has a stovetop, oven, and counter space.

inside the kitchen

A view of the whole kitchen.

Nat and Abi


Nat said that she likes to make elaborate meals, so the full kitchen is essential. 

Nat and Abi use vertical space to store things too, like their knife collection on the kitchen wall.

A view inside the van shows the kitchen, living space, and bedroom.

Kitchen essentials are stored on the walls.

Nat and Abi


It seems like there’s storage everywhere you look in Nat and Abi’s rig. 

Below the oven and above the couch next to it, there’s even more storage for kitchen supplies and books.

Left: Open hidden drawer under the oven Right: storage shelving above the couch

Additional storage space in the kitchen and living space.

Nat and Abi


Aside from books, the shelf above the couch holds various items like salt lamps, Nat said. 

Past the kitchen is Nat and Abi’s living space, which they said can fit four people and two dogs comfortably.

the bedroom and living space

A wide view of the living space.

Nat and Abi


Each couch can comfortably seat two people, according to the couple. 

One couch has storage underneath.

storage drawer under the couch

Storage slides out from under the cushions.

Nat and Abi


Abi said she keeps her electronics, like cameras and other photography equipment, in the couch storage space. 

The other hides their compost toilet. As for the shower, they have an outdoor set-up.

Nat sits on the toilet laughing with a book on the left and Abi stands in the back in a towel with the shower head

Nat uses the bathroom while Abi prepares for a shower.

Nat and Abi


Nat said she and Abi built the composting toilet themselves, adding that one gallon of water will get you 15 minutes in their outdoor shower. 

Above one of the couches, there’s a hidden sunken cabinet that holds jewelry, incense, and essential oils.

Two photos show hidden storage cabinets opened and closed

The sunken cabinet is seen opened and closed.

Nat and Abi


Because they have windows throughout the whole van, Nat said she and Abi were willing to compromise this area for additional storage space. 

On the ceiling, which is made of cedar, artificial plants appear to be growing into the space, making it feel more like the outside, Nat and Abi said.

The whole interior viewed from the bed

A view of the whole interior from the bed.

Nat and Abi


The cedar ceiling brings a natural smell into their space while repelling bugs, the couple said. 

On the rooftop, there’s a deck and three solar panels, allowing them to go off-grid for weeks at a time.

The roof top deck with blankets and pillows on it overlooks a body of water to the right

The rooftop houses a deck and solar panels.

Nat and Abi


A short wall around the deck keeps the couple safe from falling if they fall asleep up there, Nat said. 

The other side of the roof holds three 100 watt solar panels, Nat said, adding that this and their battery bank allow them to stay in the middle of the desert or mountains for two to three weeks at a time. 

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