We nomads often reuse furniture when we build out or vans, SUVs, skoolies and cargo trailers. Kitchen cabinets and chests of drawers, stools and ottomans, bed frames and such get moved out of houses and into our mobile dwellings. But they’re typically employed as originally intended, just in a different type of home. Now and then someone will use a piece of furniture in a completely different way.

Lisa realized a bed is simply a horizontal surface raised off the floor. So when she saw a sofa back table in a used furniture shop she knew she had found the base for her bed. All she had to do was add a sheet of salvaged plywood cut to the size of her mattress. There’s plenty of storage space below, and her conversion van’s high top provided enough headroom. But even if someone is in a standard height van, it would be easier and cheaper to cut the table legs shorter than to build a bed platform from scratch.

Imagine using a desk as the base for a bed. Instant built in drawers for storage. How about a coffee table? How about a shelving unit on its back? Want a slatted bed platform for ventilation? Then how about two simple wooden ladders side by side?

However, there’s a step beyond using furniture as different types of furniture. With the insane pandemic-induced lumber prices, it’s sometimes less expensive to use old furniture as lumber. Disassemble it, cut it up, turn it into a stack of wood, fasteners and metal parts ready to be made into something else.

Lisa also found a solution for another problem: roof racks for mounting solar panels on vans with fiberglass high tops. Not many companies make them, and not necessarily for your van/top combination. But a fellow named Rebel Minor makes racks from B-channel struts and roof rack end plates. True, it requires knowhow and tools, but it can be done. Someone with welding skills could also increase the height of standard roof racks.

The point is to think beyond readymade solutions for our somewhat unique needs. After all, we nomads have already gone beyond standard issue answers for where and how to live.