Above is the side of the van opposite the kitchen, and what was once an ugly stretch of exposed and gnarly metal has now been cleanly finished. At night, the sliding bed platform rests atop the area that's covered with aluminum sheet, and the length of square tubing on the front edge of the platform drops perfectly into the notch just to the right of what will be a small cabinet.
It should be noted that building this kind of one-off stuff is so slow because seemingly every piece needs to be shaped just right to match the contours of the van. There's no kit, no instructions, and when getting into it, you don't even know if a given idea is going to work out. That explains how the above took me a full day and part of the next morning to complete. Crazy slow, but as long as the results are good, and each day puts me a little closer to the finish line, I don't mind. Much.
Back to the kitchen, I decided to build a wall along with more cabinet space behind the driver's seat, so that's mostly what has delayed the urethane-ing. There's still some work to do, but it really seems like it will tie the whole thing together nicely:
Better still, dueling DIY brushed aluminum sidesplashes:
They don't really photograph all that well, but trust me, they look cooler in person. And no, there's not a lot of counter space, but fear not – I've got a plan for that...