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Definition of faux
not real or genuine: such as
a : made to look like something else that is usually more valuable : IMITATION, FAKE faux leather/fura string of faux pearls… faux is the French word for fake, but it's a very chic fake. Faux marble, for example, is found in the best of homes.— Sylvia Sachs

I have been a builder, mechanic, teacher, mason, DIY canoe maker, wilderness traveler, and a bit more. I am like most of you who are on here building a campervan. We may be at different places in our path through life but I hope we share more than we differ. I am me. I don’t try to be something else. I want the things I make to be as authentic as I am. I am confused about products, materials, and processes that seem to be one thing and in fact are something else.
Some of those things exist for their beauty aided by modern technology. Strip Cedar canoes are an example. They are Faux in the sense they look like a thin layer of wood but in fact are a composite of fiberglass, resin encasing wood. The wood shows but the boat is really something else.
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RD and family in the North Maine woods, circa 1982, my first canoe build.

We live in a world of Faux materials. IKEA not many years ago, made almost all their products from birch woods and veneers. Veneers are Faux but have come to be accepted as quality materials. Clearly Faux and quality are different things.
Faux does not mean modern as Formica and Linoleum have been around for several generations and are faux, replacing materials like ceramic tiles, stone, and Terrazzo itself a faux stone floor.
Faux gets a bad name when it is used badly to poorly represent a product of quality and is in truth junk. Usually anyone can see the difference. In deciding on what to use picking something that may be seen to do that is reflective of the quality of the whole product despite being well done in itself.
Why does this matter in our vans? First of all the van is a very small space and the difference between a quality hardwood plywood and some sheets of sawdust and glue composite will not make an appreciable difference in cost when the camper conversion is done. Second, most authentic materials last better, wear better and offer a sense of natural comfort. Modern aluminum and gloss material can offer that as well and are being seen in some quality builds.
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I was careful to build a campervan that when done still looks like a van inside. The materials are generally what they look like, the cabinets are hardwood plywood, The ceiling is automotive headliner, the walls are the origional (but optional) panels that came with the van, the floor was painted plywood but has carpet now, the countertops are formica. No one that steps in is going to be fooled by these materials and in that sense I have the result I wanted. One of my biggest reactions to nearly every manufactured van is I dislike the sense that nearly everything is Faux. I am not sure what that is exactly but like most of you I know it when I see it.
 

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I think what you are trying to say is that you have a pet peeve with van conversions that are made to look like a hotel room in aspen, like this?

My van is'nt designed this way because its impractical to use the same building elements that we use in our homes in our vans. For example a full depth cabinet with ceramic sink with full size faucet and endless supply of hot and cold water might be perfect in a home or apartment. From 20+ years of travelling in a van I know that the best system in a van is a 7 gallon water jug with an adjustable sprayer on the end of a flexible hose with a foot operated switch so that I can wash dishes with 2 cups of water and bring the water jug inside when its going to freeze.

IKEA has a large variety of products and its unfair to say that IKEA=low quality when in fact IKEA has affordable high value (cheaper construction) options and premium options, for example no particle board or veneer on this bed: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/bjoerksnaes-bed-frame-birch-luroey-s09247573/ but not everyone wants to spend $550 on a bed frame.
 

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In my defense, I didn’t have ANY conversion in mind and I really think I would need to see your conversion in person but then I would be too polite to seem critical. It may be a peeve, although I don’t really know where it comes from. They used to say "De gustibus non est disputandum” latin for “Theres no accounting for taste", mine of course in this case.
IKEA does in fact make some great products, I have some in my van and in my home. I even have some of the crappy sawdust and glue stuff but for my wife not me! LOL.
You sound like you have centered yourself and know your needs and ascetic. I applaud that. In fact your van would not fit the category of Faux to me as it looks like what it is.
Thanks for contributing.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
LOL ^^^^^
 

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I think what you are trying to say is that you have a pet peeve with van conversions that are made to look like a hotel room in aspen, like this?

My van is'nt designed this way because its impractical to use the same building elements that we use in our homes in our vans. For example a full depth cabinet with ceramic sink with full size faucet and endless supply of hot and cold water might be perfect in a home or apartment. From 20+ years of travelling in a van I know that the best system in a van is a 7 gallon water jug with an adjustable sprayer on the end of a flexible hose with a foot operated switch so that I can wash dishes with 2 cups of water and bring the water jug inside when its going to freeze.

IKEA has a large variety of products and its unfair to say that IKEA=low quality when in fact IKEA has affordable high value (cheaper construction) options and premium options, for example no particle board or veneer on this bed: https://www.ikea.com/us/en/p/bjoerksnaes-bed-frame-birch-luroey-s09247573/ but not everyone wants to spend $550 on a bed frame.
I follow that guy on instagram ^ I think the difference between his build, and others that look like luxury apartments/condos are usually those people are living in those full time which in my opinion usually dictates the design aesthetic.
 

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I follow that guy on instagram ^ I think the difference between his build, and others that look like luxury apartments/condos are usually those people are living in those full time which in my opinion usually dictates the design aesthetic.
I have an entirely different view and you're not going to like it... Im on a couple of the facebook vanlife groups with over 75k members and even meet some van dwellers In Real Life (IRL as the kids say). Its apparent to me that the majority (certainly not all!) of those living in their van full time are actually doing this out of necessity and not by choice and they are living full time in vans that those of us on this forum wouldn't consider worth converting. Lithium batteries, radiant flooring, carbon monoxide detectors are not items to be found in those vans. In other words they are poor, sometimes they are poor by choice, ie working at a ski area for the lifestyle, but many are really struggling to get by and they see living full time in a van as a way to get by in a situation where the financial math just doesn't make it possible for them to get by otherwise.

Think about that "ghost" van and who will buy it, if he sells it (i bet he will and the videos are kind of a pre sale-advertising). What kind of person will have $80,000 or more in cash to spend on that van? My opinion is that van was built to appeal to a buyer with a large amount of disposable income who will use it for weekend getaways and short trips, I dont think that anyone that can afford that van is going to actually live out of it for anything longer than a 2 week vacation and they probably get a hotel every few nites to make things easier.
 

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... I was thinking Jared was/is in the business of making a living ... the building and selling of custom vans with 'features' is growing... many times the buyers are not really thinking through living in a van ... meaning is it a way of life or is it just a way - of expression say... ... a lot of $ invested/financed for flip (one or two a year, no more) ... but his 'business' is youtube (videos) imo.


All this just to expose more of the variety of thinking available on this board...
 

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I was careful to build a campervan that when done still looks like a van inside. The materials are generally what they look like, the cabinets are hardwood plywood, The ceiling is automotive headliner, the walls are the origional (but optional) panels that came with the van, the floor was painted plywood but has carpet now, the countertops are formica. No one that steps in is going to be fooled by these materials and in that sense I have the result I wanted. One of my biggest reactions to nearly every manufactured van is I dislike the sense that nearly everything is Faux. I am not sure what that is exactly but like most of you I know it when I see it.
RD, is it the idea that people are trying to make a van,...not seem like a van inside by essentially overbuilding with the same materials and processes you would see an an actual home?
Or is it the materials themselves they are using?
Or both?........or neither?
 

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RD, is it the idea that people are trying to make a van,...not seem like a van inside by essentially overbuilding with the same materials and processes you would see an an actual home?
Or is it the materials themselves they are using?
Or both?........or neither?
Good question I now think both. I admitted I am confused by a lot that people do. In this thread I was trying to guage the feelings people have about things that are Faux in the meaning of the definition. That is, to use something that looks like a high quality product but isn’t really. I don’t see the reason why we would do that in our vans. My post is intended to get us all to think beyond the number of solar panels, the type of Potty, or the kind of heat. You know those kinds of questions constitute the bulk of the discussion here. We don’t consider the satisfaction that comes from the materials themselves, the spaces we create to find comfort in this little tin box. I had friends build a tiny house not much bigger than the van and she was trained in Feng shui and also had a sense of texture and color. Until I saw their home (now moved to Oregon) I underestimated the sense of calm, comfort and beauty that can be brough to 72 sq ft.
 

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You guys have way too much time on your hands:cool: I'm heading south for the winter to work on my manuals, wheelies, strapless heelside to toeside and vice versa, foot switches, jumping and perfect Baja Fogs - among other things. And of course, I'll be living in my van. Cya'll when I return!!
 

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You guys have way too much time on your hands:cool: I'm heading south for the winter to work on my manuals, wheelies, strapless heelside to toeside and vice versa, foot switches, jumping and perfect Baja Fogs - among other things. And of course, I'll be living in my van. Cya'll when I return!!
Ok, I see where you're headed now.
I wasn't quite sure from the first post.
I can only give my perspective and goals. I totally understand the point on not skimping on anything, as it is a small space. Meaning, trying to save a few pennies on the dollar for material for a 3000 sf home adds up to a significant amount. But, what is the sense of going through the effort to use a slightly less expensive and possibly inferior material when talking about 72 sf?
However, as you said, taste is a matter of taste.
For me, I see beauty in function. Which may not always be appealing to others. I also have a bit of a hang up for frugality. Which of course almost never works out on any project. But the times that I'm able to pull off the ultimate combo of making something functional, have it be handmade, have it turn out decent looking and managed to pull it off underbudget or even repurpose some material, I get that same rush of satisfaction that I imagine my wife gets when she pulls off one of her coupon heists (she gets pretty excited when she scores goods for a significant discount,......whether we need them or not!)
Also, as much as I love natural wood and love working with it, I'm not sure how much I want to incorporate it into the build. So, as much as I appreciate yours, KOV's and many others, even the ones with full-on cabinetry, high-end flooring, T&G ceiling, etc, that wouldn't fit my goals or how I want to ultimately use the van.
So, I will likely use a lot of materials that aesthetically and quality-wise may not be my first choice, but my goals will dictate a lot of the choices made.
Which right now is to make the van as insulated, quiet, lightweight, fuel efficient as possible while making it as comfortable, functional and frugal as possible withought sacrificing too much quality or durability.
If I pull all that off I will be impressed with myself and get that "I won a prize" or "I beat the system" feeling and the van will be beautiful to me in my own special (crazy) little way.
But I'm always aware, or try to be, of your point. Which I believe is: at a certain point you are spinning your wheels, trying to save a few pennies when, for a relatively small extra expense, have a much nicer build in such a small space.
The devil is in the details. I think that no matter what materials used or what look you're going for, as long as things are done well and the build ultimately serves it's intended purpose for the individual, then it falls back on taste being a matter of taste.
 

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afox,
I do hear you and you raise good points about vanlife at the edge. Thanks.
 

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Great thread RD . We build to get it done , build to impress ourselves , build to show off our handiwork .
Use materials at hand , get the best as budget allows , go over the top . To thine own self be true .

PS, I won " Most Original" in the DIY contest at the Adventure Van Expo . I don't mean to gloat but that recognition for my organized scrap pile was the best compliment I could ever get . Not the "best overall" , or most luxuriant , cheapest ? maybe . I entered the contest so I could park on the lot . Now I hold my head high (as I can in a low top )
 

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Ok I think I understand the question(s) now;

Faux Materials / Material Choice / Design / Feng Shui (so basically aesthetics & style & taste)

For me; I do not recall using any “faux materials”. All my taste may be in my mouth 😳. There was definately thought that went into the floor plan for ergonomics, flow, serviceability, longevity, maintenance, and ease of alterations. Thinking back at things I design & build, I rarely choose any faux materials ( ie I may have cabinets that are plastic laminates, but never a plastic laminate with a simulated wood grain pattern ). I suppose I might buy a vinyl floor that has a simulated plank wood floor pattern for the van, but even there all I did was stain and clear coat my BB 3/4” plywood as a real “wood floor”.

I am definitely not attracted to factory built camper vans. The cost benefit is not there for me & we dont want all the bells & whistles. Further, they detract from the experience of “road trip” or “camping”. We go on a road trip or camp to get into nature and see a different part of North America & to explore. To go into the woods with our “real wood” camper van, not simulated plastic wood camper van. I guess maybe if I think about it longer, we would not be interested in camping in a faux forest of plastic trees & simulated rocks

I guess I am not attracted to faux materials. Although I have not been conscience of steering away from faux, I do not seem to have any in my van🤔. Maybe I am too utilitarian.
 
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