I am not a van conversion professional or professional handyman. This is a documentation of my experience and you should make your own decisions on how to build your own van, and seek professional guidance if you are unsure. This blog post also contains affiliate links, so if you click a product link and buy from the merchant, I will receive a commission fee. The price you pay remains the same, affiliate link or not. Buying through my product links is the best way to say thanks if this blog post was at all helpful to you.


Materials Needed:

  • Dometic 12v Fridge (Buy on Amazon)

    • I am using the 40W and its a great size. I would go for the 50W over downsizing though.
  • 1/2″ Ply
  • 2×3″s
  • NRS Straps

Once the toilet was installed, It was time to install the fridge section of the bench seat. To start I built a frame out of 2x3s, topped with plywood, to raise the height of the fridge to meet the top of the bench seat. This also gave us room for small drawers for Kodas dog bowls, and toys. The fridge plugs into a 12v outlet that I put behind the toilet.

I then walled in the fridge using 1/2″ ply. I cut holes in the plywood where the fridges vents are located. You can also see one of the two rings in this photo where the fridge is tied down using NRS straps to the handles.

I then attached the lid with a piano hinge.

I also added small pieces of 1/2″ ply to keep the lid from having horizontal/sliding pressure. I also added a hook and ring lock to the door/wall so that the door stays open vertically on its own. After that, I built the drawers for the dog bowls and toys. these just slide on the floor. They don’t ever slide out around corners.

I used old climbing rope for the handles on these drawers.

If I were to do this again I would give a little more space on the sides for handling the fridge as it is really hard to tie down or remove. That said I shouldn’t have to do that much. I also might play with the idea of having a gas strut open the lid instead of attaching it to the wall (although that has been working fine, I just think it would be cool).