Woman Guts Ugly Old Van With Her Bare Hands To Make Cozy Home For Her Best Friend

February 8, 2017

All her life, Marina Piro’s goal has been to become “a self-sufficient forest fairy.”

After she rescued her Labradoodle, Odie, her dream expanded to include Odie on her world explorations.

But that meant she needed enough space for the two of them when they were out on the open road.

There are plenty of folks who prefer to eschew the well-worn path to forge their own, and many of them have created beautiful mobile homes by repurposing old school buses that take them wherever the wind blows in both style and comfort.

Piro didn’t end up with a bus, though. She ended up with a van.

Piro, who is from Italy, found herself a five-door, 2001 Renault Kangoo, which is nowhere near as large as a school bus. She named it Pam.

Still, thanks to her craftiness and creativity, Piro managed to turn it into a cozy, compact home for herself and Odie as they travel the land, and it’s not lacking in style, either. She spent two months just researching the renovations before taking on Pam’s makeover.

Living in Pam is the best option for Piro, as traveling without Odie is not an option. “Too many bus, train, and plane companies do not accept dogs,” she says, “not to mention the difficulties you might have to find a suitable accommodation.”

See how Pam went from a “moving can” to a tiny living space, and you might start getting some wanderlust yourself!

[H/T: My Modern Met]

Marina Piro and her Labradoodle, Odie, spend their time traveling and exploring in Europe.

Piro says that she didn’t initially seek out a travel companion, but when she saw Odie, a rescue, “it was love at first bark.”

But to fulfill her dream of travel and keep Odie by her side, Piro realized she’d need to go about things a little untraditionally.

That’s where Pam comes in. She’s a 2001 Renault Kangoo with automatic transmission.

From the outside, she looks like any other van.

But inside, Pam has been completely transformed by Piro into a cozy, pint-sized home on the go!

Piro removed the rear seats and installed an insulated floor.

After being insulated and ply-lined, she installed a vinyl floor for easy cleaning and low maintenance.

If she and Odie were going to sleep in the van, it would have to keep them warm in cold weather and high altitudes. So insulation was key.

Piro lined the whole thing — floor, ceiling, and roof — with a combination of bubble wrap and foil mats that she says worked out very well.

She also lined the sliding doors with carpet, which would make them a bit softer and more homey looking, and also add another layer of warmth.

She also installed wiring for LED lights in the ceiling, which allow for visibility in the dark. And since they’re LEDs, they’ll last for a very long time, use very little energy, and won’t get hot.

She also built herself a kitchenette. This cabinet houses a miniature gas tank, which is hooked up to a tiny two-burner stove. The space also serves as storage and as a work surface.

Piro stresses that when working with gas, one must be very aware of all the safety issues that come along with it. “You really don’t want to mess up with gas!” she says.

She also built an expandable sleeping platform that, when extended, can comfortably fit both herself and Odie.

A few curtains and decorative accents add both privacy and color, and now the traveling duo can go anywhere!

There’s nothing nicer than hanging out on a warm day with the back door open. Piro also likes to take advantage of outdoor space whenever she can.

At night or in bad weather, she can swing the door closed to stay warm, dry, and secure.

Piro frequently gets asked how much she can really fit into Pam. Here’s her answer!

“You would be surprised in finding out how much stuff you can carry by organizing and packing it [in a clever] way,” she says.

This is everything, from food to bedding, and from books to clothing, that she’s able to fit into the van.

From the outside, Pam looks like any other van on the road. You’d never guess what’s inside.

With Pam, Piro and Odie are traveling all over Europe, exploring both the natural beauty like this gorgeous lake…

… as well as all the magical and historic cities, like Venice.

Odie gets to climb mountains and be outside in nature, too.

Except, of course, when he gets tired.

At the end of a long day of exploring, there’s nothing like coming home, especially to one you built yourself!

You can follow Piro and Odie’s adventures on Facebook and Instagram, and see details of all her renovations on her website.

Please SHARE this great renovation with anyone who has dreams of hitting the open road.