DIY Tiny House Turns Cargo Van Into a Serene Retreat

How Tos & Tips

“Happy is he who is at home anywhere, except wherever the sun shines and the stars light. Life is a journey, and the journey is truth, and truth is life.” ~Dipak Vsudezdejsi

Dipa Vasudeva Das is rather mysterious. A Slovak man with a yogic belief system, he creates and transforms the mundane into the beautiful. Working with spun-wood and two-dimensional imagery, he is probably best known for converting ordinary cargo vans into fabulous tiny houses. In fact, he lives in one himself.

The following photographs depict one such transformation:

The Exterior of Dipa’s Van


This is Dipa’s high-topped cargo van. Upon her complete makeover, she was named “Earthship.”

From Humble Beginnings

He began with a completely gutted cargo van, as seen in this photograph taken from the front.

Interior From Front


It is also shown in this one, taken from the back.

Interior From the Back


He then began to build up the walls. This provides insulation for temperature regulation, as well as an even surface on which to work.

Building up the Walls


Then, Dipa added wood paneling to the walls and roof. It is on this base that he became truly creative.

Wood Planks Added to the Walls and Roof


He started working on the frame, of what would become the various levels of the tiny house. This type of layout is visually interesting, and offers unique storage options, as well as the illusion of more space.

Off to the Right Start

Dipa Vasudeva Das is ever mindful of his craftsmanship. His spiritual philosophy reminds that the manner in which something is created–and the love with which it is infused–is integral to what it becomes.

Dipa Hard at Work


This photograph shows the base of the interior of what will become the loft for the bed.



Here, you see the loft for the bed, in the back under the window. This provides abundant room for convenient storage by way of the many drawers.


With the skylight, and several decorative, yet functional windows, there is plenty of natural light to brighten up the space, and make it appear larger.

A Welcoming Exterior

Where most van conversions neglect the exterior, Dipa brought his vision outside. The side door provides a hint of the design inside.

Side Door


The rear barn doors were decorated to demonstrate the tiny house’s name: Earthship. It seemed appropriate.

Artistic Touches


The fold-up window shown is the one at the head of the bed loft. When opened, it allows the cool night air in, while he sleeps.

Hidden Storage


Every inch has a purpose. The space in the back is perfect for storing a bicycle, or other outdoor equipment.

A Cozy Interior

Here is the Earthship after its transformation into the cabin-like tiny house that it is. The kitchen and dining areas are quaint and offer plenty of cabinet and counter space.

All-wood Kitchen


The wood-burning stove provides heat, as well as a convenient method to cook. With this stove, he could live off-grid as long as he wanted.

Wood-burning Stove


With yogic austerity, the furnishings were minimal. This not only adds to the atmosphere, but also means that there is little to clutter up the space.

Dining Room


The small dining table is easily removed, when it is not needed.

Living Space Viewed From the Loft


Curtains help divide the area into separate rooms. This allows for open spaciousness during the daytime, and privacy at night.



Every space was given as much attention to design and detail as every other. The bathroom is more reminiscent of a spa, than the generic contemporary ones found in most motorhomes.

More Than Enough Room

With the unique design elements, various levels to define rooms, and clever use of space, there is more than enough room.

Enough Room for the Dog


The loft–usually used as a bedroom–makes a perfect place to entertain guests.

Enough Room for Friends


Plus, storage is found in the most unusual places. The musical instruments go in a cubby under the floor.

Musical Instrument Storage


There is even a full-width slide-out storage located under the side-door. Similar to the basement of an RV, this area stores out-of-season items, tools, and outdoor equipment, which are easily packed out of the way here.

Under the Floor Storage


All the additional places, for storing his belongings, ensure that Dipa’s living space remains clean and clutter-free.

A Peaceful Place to Sleep

In the back of the van is a peaceful oasis where Dipa’s minimal needs are met. His mat rolls up easily to be stored out of the way during the day.

Dipa’s Bedding


When spread across the width of the loft, the mat provides plenty of room to relax without taking up too much space.

Queen-sized Bedroom


At night, he can turn it lengthwise, to enjoy a full-sized mattress where he can stretch out.



There is definitely more than enough room, and without a conventional mattress, he has the flexibility to adjust it to fit whatever suits him in the moment.

Practical and Personal, the Space Fits His Tastes


With ultimate versatility, the loft makes a perfect place to rest, but is also attractive and comfortable when entertaining guests, or even engaging in yoga poses.

Living the Dream

Dipa’s philosophy embraces a deliberate and calm lifestyle. He has what he needs, and has created a space that reflects his personality.

Relaxing With His Dog


With each detail of his tiny house painstakingly crafted, he surrounds himself with the beauty of his handiwork.

Expanding the Space


Beautiful two-dimensional images are often displayed in an adjoining tent, to further demonstrate the art of the Divine Factory.

Dipa’s Earth ship


In this photograph, you see how he extends his space to include the outdoor, allowing nature to be part of his home.

Boondocking in Style


Earthship by name and demeanor– what started as a humble cargo van has become so much more. Although this may not be feasible for everyone, it definitely demonstrates a unique perspective on DIY van conversions. Tiny houses are renowned for their restricted carbon footprint, and with the minimal use of modern conveniences, this cabin-van fits the description. Also, these minuscule abodes are famous for their clever use of space to make the most of the reduced square footage they are allotted. With the many built-in drawers and cupboards, Dipa has fulfilled that requirement, as well.

In Conclusion

Whether you prefer an RV with all of the modern “bells and whistles,” or you like the idea of a rustic oasis, this handcrafted cabin shows that there is something for everyone. The most important thing is to find inspiration, and choose a style that works for your personal needs. If you are going to be spending time in it, it should surround you with an environment you love. I’m sure Dipa Vasudeva Das would be content knowing that you were inspired.