Home & Design

The Ready Set Van team works on the couple’s model; interior components are made by hand.

The finished vehicle boasts birch millwork, a refrigerator and a pullout table.

Cabinets neatly contain essentials, from plates to pantry items.

An efficient kitchen on wheels.

A garage beneath the bed stows plenty of gear.

Perched atop their new camper van, photographer Anice Hoachlander captures a shot of the vineyards at Notaviva Farm Brewery & Winery in Hillsboro, Virginia. Her husband, Peter Hobby, works while dog Cooper surveys the scene.

Open Road

Ready Set Van custom-crafts modern homes on wheels

Last year, nearly a half-million recreational vehicles were sold in the U.S. RVs come in a range of styles and sizes, from bare-bones campers to moveable mansions. Bethesda architectural photographer Anice Hoachlander and husband Peter Hobby, a consultant for USAID, recently decided to find a roving home of their own. Previously the owners of a sailboat and an escape on the Chesapeake, they wanted to see more of the U.S. and Canada.

“We started looking online, but stock brands weren’t quite our style,” says Hoachlander. Then they discovered the perfect solution: Ready Set Van, a New Jersey workshop that outfits new and used vans with clean-lined, handcrafted interiors. “Their mantra is that if you wouldn’t want something in your house, it shouldn’t be in your van,” she says. She and Hobby bought a new Dodge van that was delivered to New Jersey and two months later, drove off in a gleaming Basecamper model. To accommodate photo shoots, Ready Set Van customized the vehicle with a clear plexiglass platform, installed over its solar panels.

Its open-plan layout, stainless-steel appliances and wood finishes spoke to their modern aesthetic. Amenities include an induction cooktop, LED lighting, heating and a/c, a built-in loo and a heated outdoor shower. Solar panels can power the interior for two or three days at a time; lithium batteries can also be charged via the engine through a separate alternator if needed. Unlike oversized RVs, the nimble, 19-foot-eight-inch-long van can be legally parked nationwide. “We love camping but want to experience cities too,” Hoachlander notes.

The couple recently took their maiden voyage to the Finger Lakes. “It’s not hard to drive and handles the highway well,” says Hobby. “We were also on some narrow back roads, and it did them well too.”

Ready Set Van’s Ben Fraser says he founded the company to “create a modern, Manhattan-style pied-à-terre on wheels. It’s our mission to build truly beautiful homes that also enable great adventure.” Builds start at $38,000, plus cost of van. readysetvan.com

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