shelly the sportvan gets a makeover

Some projects grow. Some projects spiral out of control.  Some projects implode and some explode.  This is the story of Shelly the Sportvan, and the Great Makeover of 2013.

Shelly is a 1994 Chevrolet Sportvan that I picked up in Texas last May.  Here she is the first week I got her.


Almost as soon as we became partners I knew that she would need to be painted. I mean come on, if I’m going to travel the country in a Big Van, I really should travel the country in a BIG AMAZING HIPPIE VAN.  It is really the only reasonable thing to do.

So this December I decided to begin painting her.  I wanted to break the ice, but start small, so I decided to paint the website on each side.  One side would say “” and the other side would say both “” and “Living the Fairy Life.”  Nothing too extravagant yet.

So I painted one side.


The next day I painted the other side.  While I was out in the drive working, my friend Fix-It Fabian wanted to look at a few things for me: a squeaky break, a whiny belt, and a temperamental break light.


And that’s when things got interesting.  The whiny belt was actually an alternator with worn bearings that needed to be replaced. Fix It Fabian! The temperamental break light was the result of some faulty wiring that kept shorting itself out instead of grounding properly.  To fix that Fabian would need to get behind the inside panels.  Which meant completely unloading everything, taking out a platform, and taking out some panels.  Well, I had always planned on remodeling the inside, and getting rid of all the boring beige everything.  So if we were unloading things for one project I said alright then lets unload Everything, lets take out ALL the panels and lets redecorate!

I am pretty sure this is when Fix-It Fabian was wondering what he had gotten himself into.  Yup, I ate up almost all of his week of holiday vacation playing in the front yard and remodeling Shelly. Here are some photos of the process.

Gut the interior
Paint the panels green
Custom light covers you say?
Custom light covers you say?

Honestly, I had a great time with the project. It was one of the most fun and relaxing Christmases I’ve ever had, and the time Fabian spent helping me make Shelly so beautiful was really one of the best gifts I’ve ever gotten.  We enjoyed our success for a day or two, but then I had to put Shelly back to work and load her up.  What a happy, full, and beautiful travel partner she has become.

An empty Shelly
An empty Shelly
New Lights! They even have a LIGHT SWITCH to turn them on and off!
New Lights! They even have a LIGHT SWITCH to turn them on and off!
My traveling living room
My traveling living room
I love my new fabrics, colors, and lights
I love my new fabrics, colors, and lights

Love from the Road,








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