64-year-old woman enjoys life living in a van after selling her home and getting rid of her mortgage

Claire decided that having something small and beautiful would make her feel better than having an empty house and a mortgage because her limited income as an artist is not enough to maintain a house and pay the mortgage. So the 64-year-old artist sold her home, paid off her mortgage, and moved into a van. Claire spent nearly a year reading, studying, and researching other tiny houses in order to design her own tiny house in a van.

Claire, an artist living in a van, carving a wood outside her house.

She visited several tiny houses and drew inspiration from each to design her own layout. She drew the blueprints and claimed to have designed it down to the millimeter. She finally settled on Roaming Wild Campers (Campervan Conversions) in Mudgee, Australia after searching for a company to build her mobile home. The converted van is a 19.5-foot-long Fiat Ducato Maxi turbo diesel van from the 2016 model year.

The van cost her $26,000, and the modifications to turn it into a mobile home added another $45,000 to the total cost. Claire refers to her tiny house as “Mouse House.” When the main door is closed, the house resembles a regular van. When you open it, you’ll see a cute door and two windows of a lovely house.Claire’s office is located behind the window. It’s a small cabinet with plenty of storage that also serves as a computer table.

Front view of Claire's Fiat Ducato diesel van.

Claire described the first three drawers of her cabinet as her office, and the one at the bottom as her toolshed. There’s a tiny door next to her office that she claims will take you to Narnia. However, that door provides her with access to her cab. The heatproof curtain on the door keeps the heat from the cab away from her house. Her tiny kitchen is on the other side of her van.”I love to cook, so I have lots of spices and knives,” Claire explained.

Claire has a large pantry full of spices, sauces, oil, and other cooking necessities. There is a three-burner stove, an oven grill, and several hanging cabinets in the kitchen. Her kitchen sink is made of an old French copper preserving bowl, taps she found in the garden, and an old enamel sink, with a live edge cedar countertop. “Personally, I use a bowl in my sink, and if there are dry patches on the grass, I’d rather throw my water out than hold it in a tank,” Claire explained.

Claire's office, kitchen, and the door going to her cab.

The van has a 70-liter freshwater tank and a gray water tank of the same size. Her tiny bathroom with a composting toilet is revealed when the kitchen counter folds up. She can also hang a shower curtain as a temporary measure. Clair’s bedroom is at the rear of her van. It has a spacious, warm bed with a skylight above it.A pull-out table under her bed is where she eats her meals, and a fridge under the sitting area is next to it.

Claire sitting on a bench in her dining area and showing her pull-out table.

Claire lives in an off-the-grid van powered by a solar panel and a 200 amp-hour lithium battery. “I wrote down what I did each part of the day from when I woke up to make sure I had those things in the van,” she explained.Watch the video below to get a full tour of Claire’s “Mouse House” and how she enjoys her life living in a van:

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