Ever wonder who the professional van upfitters are that use Havelock Wool? We’ve met a lot of them over the years and everyone has a unique story and process. A particular favorite of ours is Brett from Chewy Design Co. in Austin Texas. He does all kinds of custom camper van conversions with a particular focus on creative builds that challenge basic assumptions about how van designs should be. We recently caught up with Brett and got some good insight from him.
Can you tell us what makes Chewy different from other professional upfitters?
The biggest difference between Chewy and other builders is our love to think outside the box. I personally believe we aren’t in the business of building out vans. We are in the business of art. By being creative and pushing ourselves to the limits of what is possible to create in a van. I started doing this for the sole purpose of building. I didn’t really know what I wanted to build until I was introduced to the idea of building out a van 10 years ago. I loved the idea that there were no rules when I opened the doors. I could put the bed, cabinets, whatever anywhere I wanted. I could make the walls look however I saw fit. It was like a new frontier to dream about. The possibilities were and still are endless. The point of traveling in your van should inspire and teach you how to get out of your comfort zone. I believe that it is our job to make your van help in that endeavor from the first moment you walk in. So I’ve tried to keep that same mindset with every build out. Always saying to myself “What haven’t I done yet, what does no one expect” then go get it done.
How does Havelock Wool fit into your design process and philosophy?
From the beginning, insulation was always a weird part of the builds. Always being told as a kid “don’t touch the pink stuff in the attic! It will make you itchy!”. Then years later I am about to put it all over this rolling home and sleep inches away from it?! It was always the worst part of the build until I found Havelock Wool. From the first build I used it in it just felt right. Not only was it easier to work with but I had so much more pride in my work knowing I didn’t have some toxic pink junk encasing my clients.
Also, the Havelock crew is the best. I got to visit y’all in Reno years ago and that was the icing on top. I love buying from people who are honest about their products, make quality goods, and are a good hang.
What is one “pro tip” you would give to any new vanlifer?
If you are building your van yourself my “pro tip” would be to not get bogged down comparing your work or thinking you don’t have the skills to do something. There is way too much info out there. Although it’s helpful, it’s not all necessary. The point is to prove yourself wrong. You can build something. It might not be as pretty as the next but you can.
If you’re newly on the road then my “pro tip” is to get out of your comfort zone as fast as you can (in a safe way!) Go to those vanlife meetups, sleep in a Walmart parking lot, and don’t plan every day. I learned so much about who I am by not relying on being comfortable every moment of the day. Oh and make sure the cabinet doors are latched before driving!
Favorite place(s) to travel?
The Salt flats in Utah. It’s a long story…