Couple Makes Garage Home & Camper Van A Consistent Life Combo – Bryan and Jen Danger spend most nights on the road in their converted Sprinter van, but when they’re back home in Portland, they sleep in their converted garage. They rent their 3-bedroom home (attached to the garage), as well as the garage when they’re not in town. Five years ago, the couple quit high-paying jobs (after tucking away a nest egg), rented out their home and moved into a remodeled VW van.
Back in Portland after a year and a half on the road (to Central America and back), they realized their 3-bedroom home was too big for their shrunken lifestyle and they began to focus on creating shelter in their garage. Upon discovering their remodel would qualify as an ADU (Accessory Dwelling Unit), making it free from permitting fees, the couple joined a local wood-and-metal-working shop (Bryan learned to weld) and began to craft the old parking into a 480-square-foot home. Using mostly recycled wood and steel, they lofted their bed above storage stair unit that includes a closet, washer/drier den and a built-in TV and fireplace. With he same materials, they built floor-to-ceiling storage along one wall (they don’t use all the space).
They laid the OSB floor and poured concrete into molds to create industrial countertops. A section of the counter swivels on casters to become a dining table, workspace or cocktail bar. The bathroom, the biggest room in the home, is a “wet bath” in acrylicized waterproof concrete inspired by the road trip’s outdoor showers. Not wanting to give up on travel, they sold their Westy (not reliable enough) and bought a Mercedes Sprinter van.
After adding insulation and wood paneling, they dropped in temporary OSB furniture to test run on road trips. Once they were comfortable with the layout, they crafted permanent furniture in bamboo, including marine-grade off-grid refrigerator, toilet and automated retractable awning (built to withstand high winds).
Today, the couple work designing small spaces for clients, and thanks to their light lifestyle, they haven’t had to return to full-time work even after 5 years on the road.