Our good friends over at Brown Bird and Company are an awesome team and regularly inspire us with their innovative van conversion builds, showing beautiful craft(wo)manship and incredible attention to detail.
As they have recently launched a fantastic competition to WIN a converted VW campervan, we thought we'd catch up with them and pick their brains on some of our burning questions....
Check out their answers below, as well as more details on how to enter their WIN A CAMPERVAN competition!
ANEVAY: How did you get into converting?
BB&C: Jac built her first van in 2018 and absolutely loved travelling in it and the freedom it offered. When we were in lockdown and we couldn't go travelling we decided to build ourselves a van together and we loved working with each other (thankfully!). As we were still in lockdown when we finished the first van we decided to build another to sell. Very quickly we found ourselves with a waiting list for our next builds which is when we thought we could actually make this into a business. As soon as we opened up commission build slots the business really flourished. Many of our customers are women as we think they like the fact we are a female founded business and like the design style that we offer. Everybody that commissions a build with us comes to us because they love our designs which is amazing.
ANEVAY: Tell us about the first van you converted
BB&C: The first ever Brown Bird van was a LWB Sprinter that Jac built with a bit of help from her family. It was very different to other vans out there at the time and had a beautiful designer apartment look to it. Everybody loved the live edge work top and functional L-shaped kitchen and that has been the forefront of builds ever since. Jac's first van (Scafell) is still going strong and is owned by a lovely couple who live in her full time in the UK and adore her as much as we did.
ANEVAY: What is the most interesting request you've had from a customer for their van conversion specifics?
BB&C: Because people come to us for our designs we don't have many 'off the wall' requests however one of the most interesting ones was building in some easy kayak transportation that could be used by a lady solo occasionally. Kayaks are really heavy and cumbersome to move around on your own so this was quite a challenge. Rather than going down a standard roof rack which would be hard work to lift the kayak up and down on your own we found a product called Kari-tek. This is an aluminium roof rack (so lightweight and doesn't rust) which pulls down the side of the van allowing you to load and unload really easily. It worked out really well for this customer.
ANEVAY: You installed our Shepherd Stove, tell us what you love about our stove :) (installation tips etc)
BB&C: It's so frickin cosy! We absolutely love the Shepherd Stove because it doesn't take up masses of space and is a really nice attractive design too (which is a must in our campers!). It warms the van up super quickly and is just so cosy to sit in front of whilst admiring the view out of the side door. The main tip we have for the stove is make sure you install it where you are sitting looking at it and ideally combine that with a view out of a window!
ANEVAY: You also use our Horizon Rocket Stove and Portable Frontier - tell us about how you are using these on your festival / van adventure escapes :)
BB&C: We genuinely use both the Horizon and the Frontier all the time when we are on campsites and at festivals. They both offer something a little different and often we have them both going if we are socialising too! We find the Horizon is great for quick instant heat and for its portability as you can move it around by lifting it up by its cage even when lit. This one's great if you want to move around the beach or have a quick BBQ going.
The Frontier is amazing for really efficient heat which gives a longer slow burn and is easy to cook on with its large flat top. Its chimney is great for taking the smoke up and away from you too. It has a much larger heat chamber so you can fit bigger logs on it too. If you're really good with fires you can have this going at night and wake up with it still glowing in the morning ready to have a morning brew!
ANEVAY: Favourite stove-top recipe?
BB&C: On a fire it has to be fajitas where you can have one pan with veggies sizzling and you can keep helping yourself whilst they stay warm and in another pan you can have your wraps warming up! In an Omnia inside we love mac and cheese and have our own recipe here: https://brownbirdandcompany.
ANEVAY:Tell us about the competition - what can we win, how does it work?
BB&C: Our goal whilst building our first competition van Sulliven was to break the mould with VW transporter conversions and introduce our signature style to a much smaller build, retain all the features of bigger campers and yet still have plenty of space to lounge around in and plenty of storage too.
One of our recent builds, Nevis a LWB Sprinter (the one with the Shepherd stove), was so popular that we decided do Sully's interior in the style of Nevis. So our challenge was to create a campervan with a large L-shaped curved sofa that converted quickly into a bed with plenty of storage for bedding. Keeping the curves we introduced in Nevis, black furniture, green upholstery and our iconic live edge worktops.
Sully has a kitchen and worktop that is only 20cm smaller than our medium and long campervans! So plenty of practical storage, a hob, sink, 30 ltr of fresh water and even a hidden drawer to maximise the space. She has a tri-fold pop-top so you can stand upright throughout the campervan. We took great care to create her oak ceiling replacing factory fit components with brass. She has handmade copper lights and down lights throughout which produce a lovely warm light.
She also has a unique curved wall. We wanted Sully to feel exactly like our bigger models so we maximised the wall space and created a unique pattern carved into the wood that is also on the door cards and extends to her exterior graphics.
You can enter on our website here: https://
Tickets are £5 each and for each ticket we sell we will be donating 25p to Mountain Rescue England and Wales. That's £3000 total, for all the tickets sold.
It's a guaranteed draw with no minimum ticket sales so she will be won by some lucky person! The aim with our competition vans is to allow us to experiment with different concepts in terms of layout and designs on our own vans. As long as we cover our costs and can donate a good chunk to charity we are happy as it allows us to design prototypes and give somebody the chance to own a campervan for the price of not much more than a cup of coffee!
ANEVAY: In your opinion, what are your 3 most important campervan must-haves?
BB&C: For us, definitely a good sized kitchen with plenty of storage - we love cooking and when we manage to get away from the workshop we enjoy cooking full-on roast dinners in the van and baking bread and cake too. Plenty of garage space for our hiking and climbing equipment and of course our Frontier Stove! Lastly (and probably most importantly) a really comfy bed! We live in our campervan full time so we need to have a really comfy bed to rest in. We can also see out our side window from bed which is lovely when you're parked up with a fantastic view to gaze out at!
See below for the van that could be yours!