We’ve lived on and off in a van for four years and watched countless hours of YouTube videos. Therefore, we have a pretty good idea of what we want to do with and in our new van. However, cutting holes into the van seemed like a scary first project. Enter: installing the Scopema swivel seat.
What’s the Swivel Seat’s Purpose in the Layout?
Vans have a limited amount of space inside. We have a Ford Transit with a 148 wheelbase, but not the full extended length. If we build a partition wall between the cab and the living space, then we decrease that potential living space drastically. There is no right or wrong way in separating the cab or not; it is just a matter of preference. For this size van with two people, we decided we wanted the option of having this space.
As we were working out the van layout challenge, we knew that sometimes we would want “separate” work spaces. Often, Karma and I will be in the same area working on two different projects. Sometimes we’re both working on laptops and other times we might be crafting. By having the passenger seat swivel, we will create two “separate” work areas. One of us can work in the swiveled seat and the other can work on the bench seat we are designing by the back wall.
Including this swivel seat will also decrease the amount of time we will spend working or reading on the bed. In small spaces, I find it helpful to separate sleeping space from working or awake space. I find that if I do too many projects in bed, I have trouble sleeping there. My mind begins to associate that space with projects instead of rest.
The First Project and The Order of Projects in a Van Build
After doing a rustic build out on Glen the Van, we came to the conclusion that some type of order should exist on when to do projects. For this van, we knew that cutting a hole in the roof for the fan and cutting a hole in the passenger door for a window would come at the beginning. We wanted to get those out of the way before we build the ceiling, walls, or scuff up a new floor.
However, cutting holes in vehicles is pretty scary. Do we really want our first project in the van build to be cutting a hole???
That was our plan. Until the Scopema Swivel seat that we ordered came unexpectedly early. It was actually one of the few items that was not back ordered due to covid. Therefore, we thought it would be the perfect first project as a warm up for cutting holes.
Why only swivel the passenger seat?
We had two reasons behind only making the passenger seat swivel. First, it took us a long time to find a new van. When we did, the e-brake came as a pull up option on the floor next to the seat. If you’re curious about the troubles we had locating the van, I told the story in How to Buy the Ultimate New Van.
But, back to the e-brake. Because it is located on the floor of the van between the two seats, we would need to move and re-wire it. While I have found explanations and tutorials to do that, I just did not think it the greatest idea. Karma agreed. Ford Transits do have an option for the e-brake elsewhere, but we had such trouble finding the van that we snatched it while we could.
The second reason, I alluded to in working out the van layout. We want an indoor shower option inside the van. After drawing out all the spaces we could put the shower, we kept returning to having it behind the driver’s seat. I say that lightly, but it was actually months of us tinkering. Sometimes it was with whether or not to have a full shower stall verses a convertible shower. Also, we debated about having it next to the bed in the middle on either side.
When we decided to make it a shower stall instead of a convertible shower, we both landed on having it behind the driver’s seat. We felt that having a stall in the middle of the van would segment the van in a way that would not flow well for us.
Swivel Seat Information
If you’re curious about why we purchased this particular swivel seat, check out my post on the Scopema Swivel Seat (coming shortly). We include easy instructions to follow if you are installing one yourself. AND, Karma came up with a very helpful hack if you’re having trouble with a particular bolt hole line up!
If you have any questions, drop me a comment or use to contact form below to send me an email!