After realizing that her limited income as an artist is not much to maintain a house and pay the mortgage, Claire decided that having something small and beautiful would make her feel better than having an empty house and a mortgage.
So, the 64-year-old artist sold her house, paid the mortgage, and started living in a van.
Claire devoted nearly a year to reading, studying, and looking at other tiny houses to create her own tiny house in a van.
She visited many tiny houses and took inspiration from each to create her unique layout.
She drew up the blueprints and said she designed it to the millimeter.
After searching for a company to build her mobile house, she finally settled on Roaming Wild Campers (Campervan Conversions) in Mudgee, Australia.
The converted van is a 2016 model year Fiat Ducato Maxi turbo diesel van that measures 19.5 feet in length.
It cost her $26,000 to purchase the van, and the modifications to turn it into a mobile house added another $45,000 to the total cost.
Claire calls her tiny house “Mouse House.”
The house looks like a regular van if its main door is shut. Opening it will reveal a cute door and two windows of a beautiful house.
Behind the window is Claire’s office. It is a tiny cabinet with lots of storage that doubles as a computer table.
Claire said that the first three drawers of her cabinet are what she called her office, and the one at the bottom is her toolshed.
Next to her office is a tiny door, which she hilariously said will take you to Narnia. But that door is her access to her cab. The door has a heatproof curtain to keep the heat from the cab away from her home.
On the other side of her van is her tiny kitchen.
“I love to cook, so I have lots of spices and knives,” Claire said.
Claire has a spacious pantry where she keeps a lot of spices, sauces, oil, and other cooking necessities.
The kitchen has a three-burner stove, oven grill, and several hanging cabinets.
Her kitchen sink is made of an old French copper preserving bowl, taps she found in the garden, and an old enamel sink, and the countertop is made from a live edge cedar.
“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,” said Claire.
The van has a 70-liter tank for fresh water and another tank of the same size for gray water.
The kitchen counter folds up, revealing her tiny bathroom with a composting toilet. She can also hang a temporary curtain for the shower.
Clair’s bedroom is located at the back of her van. It has a large, warm bed and a skylight over it.
Under her bed is a pull-out table where she eats her meals, and next to it is the fridge under the sitting area.
Claire lives in an entirely off-grid van using a solar panel with a 200 amp-powered lithium battery.
“To work out what I needed in the van, I wrote down what I did each part of the day from when I woke up to make sure I had those things,” she said.
Clair said she thinks other people like her will agree that the only downside of living in a van is when it rains a lot.
She also said that she is fortunate to do a lot of work with photography and, sometimes, small film, so she is occupied.
Talking about the safety of a solo woman living in a van, Claire shares that the good idea is to have access to the cab from the house so you can drive away.
“If you park somewhere, you are unsure of, do not put your awning out; just be ready to drive away,” she added.
Take a full tour of Claire’s “Mouse House” and how she enjoys her life living in a van by watching the video below:
If you want to see more videos like this visit Jon Osmond’s YouTube channel.