Eliza Brownhome 2.0

Posted on Jun 27, 2012 in Eliza Brownhome | 37 comments

This past weekend, after six months of preparation including writing a detailed lease, we moved our family of five back into Eliza Brownhome, our 40′ Bluebird school bus. For those of you who don’t know the back story, we bought this bus ten years ago as a yellow school bus full of seats. We parked it in East Vancouver in my sister’s backyard and undertook the very lengthy conversion process. We lived there for five years and developed an amazing community of friends and neighbours. We had a view of a lake out our windows, we grew a prolific garden and our oldest son was born in the bed in that bus. There were challenges and joys and through it all, the abiding mutually supportive relationship of two families growing together. It was a transformative experience.

When I got pregnant with our daughter, we felt it was time to move on, both from the big city and from life in a bus. We moved to a small town and rented a house. That was four years ago.

Over the last winter, we developed a friendship with some local farmers and we’ve come up with an agreement where we will live on their farm at reduced rent and will help them with the farm. It’s been a dream of ours to live a more rural, self-sufficient life for some time and this is an amazing opportunity, a giant leap in that direction. But after four years and the addition of two children to the family, the thought of returning to Eliza Brownhome has often felt extremely daunting.

I would like to write more about how it felt to move out of the bus as well as how I feel now that we are back in the coming weeks so stay tuned for that. In the mean time, I thought you’d like a tour. I’m sure a lot of you are wondering how we can fit a family of five into 300 square feet so a portion of the tour will be devoted to our storage solutions.

Welcome. I am pleased to introduce Eliza Brownhome, our beloved 1974 Bluebird schoolbus.

First up, for your enjoyment, the scene on Friday morning, when despite a lot of downsizing and sending boxes and furniture to a rented storage locker, we were still a little hard pressed to fit all of our belongings from a 4 bedroom house into our 7.5′ x 40′  new home.

Moving in chaos

Moving chaos

Moving in chaos - bedroom

The scene on Sunday afternoon was considerably calmer as I remembered where we used to keep everything and re-discovered how much storage space there really is in here.

From the front door, looking toward the back, our main living area with woodstove, kitchen and through the curtain at the back, a peek into our bedroom. The couch on the left can sleep one and the table can be removed so that the couch on the right can sleep two, not comfortably long term, but well-enough for a couple of nights.

Living area & kitchen, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

Here we have the kitchen, with cabinets my dad made us. The layout of this kitchen continues to amaze us, despite being tiny, it’s well-thought out and very easy to work in, everything is handy and within reach. In the past, we’ve had 3 people working in relative comfort at the same time. Also, wonder of wonders, I managed to fit almost everything we had in our last kitchen into these remarkably spacious cabinets. (The only things I sent to storage were our turkey roaster and our canner).

Kitchen, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

kitchen, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

Here is the tile backsplash and spice rack. I love having the little strip of tile beside the stove for putting a hot pot or kettle on when we’re feeling a little pinched by the lack of a 4th burner.

Stove, spicerack and tiled backsplash, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

We call this the pantry. It sits above our propane furnace, between our dual propane/electric fridge and our bedroom closet.  We did downsize some of our dishes and glassware but we didn’t have to get rid of any of our dry goods. That bottom shelf houses:

  • flour
  • white sugar
  • brown sugar
  • icing sugar
  • salt
  • baking powder
  • cocoa
  • rice
  • quinoa
  • dried chick peas
  • dried lentils
  • popcorn
  • slivered almonds
  • pecans
  • sunflower seeds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sesame seeds
  • chocolate chips
  • dried cranberries

Kitchen pantry, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

We have had to get used to digging around to get things from behind other things, finding stuff in the very depths of the cupboards. We even found room to keep our ice cream maker and to store our canned pickles so it is worth it in the end.

Kitchen storage, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

More kitchen storage, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

Kitchen storage, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

As you can see, there’s still some empty space in there.  One of the storage solutions I’ve come up with is to use bins to store things wherever possible (see the onions and potatoes). It keeps things organized a bit better, and in the case of our some of our baking goods and tea, it allowed me to find a useable place to keep some of our larger tupperware and baking tins when not in use.

Here is a tupperware full of baking goods that can be easily pulled out when baking and a tin full of tea.

Baking bin, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

tea tin, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

And the bedroom. This is a queen size bed with storage underneath to accommodate the tall size Rubbermaid bins. We have a lot of extra towels, off-season clothes and more under there. At the front, you can see our dirty laundry bag and a clear bin full of our cloth diapers for easy access. The current sleeping arrangements have me and Silas (age 16 months) in the queen bed, our (almost) 7 year old son Rain in the upper bunk, and our 4 year old daughter Noa, in the bed at the foot of the ladder. Aaron has been sleeping on the double bed (couch) in the living area and some nights, Rain joins him part way through the night. I’m sure these arrangements will be in constant flux over the coming months.

Bedroom, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

The bedroom closet has a light inside that acts as a night light, shining through the corrugated plastic door panels, and also lights up the hall area which is the only place where we removed windows.

Dresser & closet, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

Bedroom dresser, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

By day, we have a play area for the children with a little couch. The couch has storage under it for toys and dress up clothes. By night, this is where Noa sleeps.

Children's storage, bedroom, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

The bathroom (directly across from the bedroom closet) has a small sink (made from a salad bowl), a medicine cabinet, storage for towels and other necessities, a chemical toilet (porta-potty) and an inline propane water heater. Unfortunately, no shower. When we lived in my sister’s backyard, we showered in her house so it never became a real necessity and we needed every square inch of space. I wish we had prioritized one or that we had the resources/capabilities for making a European style bathroom/shower.

Bathroom, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

And here we are, coming back through the hallway, with a view (looking forward) of the living area and office space.

Living area, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

This is our office space, custom built using an IKEA desk top and a thrift store filing cabinet (with new drawer fronts). We run our own business so this space was crucial for us. We also don’t own a tv so this is our media centre as well.

Office, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

The shelves on the upper part of the desk includes a place to tuck away the mouse and keyboard, leaving the desktop free for the children to draw or do puzzles.

Custom office, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

Under the desk, there are more bookshelves and an extra shelf to store the laptop. I forgot to take a picture but the desk also features a built-in power bar at the back of the desk, with a flip top panel so that the computers, moniter, phone, stereo, cell phone, router etc. can all be plugged in and the cords can all be hidden from view.

office shelves, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

More built-in shelves near the front door.

bookshelves, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

Formerly a bag and boot rack by the front door, I appropriated this space for the kids’ games, puzzles and art supplies.

children's storage, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

Some examples of the storage under our couches. This one is a bit messy with the construction paper, but it also has a bin of sewing supplies and a bin of craft supplies. Some of the others contain office supplies and our extra linens, bedding.

Under seat storage, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

An open storage cubby for toys under one of the couches.

More under seat storage, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

Firewood storage under the couch by the woodstove.

wood stove & firewood box, 1984 Bluebird schoolbus

And that concludes our tour.

I’ll be making an effort to write more often about this experience in the coming  weeks. If you have any questions about storage, the conversion process or the ins and outs of fitting 5 people in a 40′ bus, I will be happy to answer them. I would love to hear from you.

37 Comments

  1. Amazing story, Allison, and I’m totally jealous 🙂

    • I have to agree with Teneal- jealous! It just looks so amazing! I can’t wait to hear more!

  2. Holy cow, Allison! What a beautiful home! I find it amazing that the inside of an old bus can be converted into such a well-thought-out, useful, cozy, and gorgeous space. I am particularly amazed at the cabinetry work, the beautiful bathroom…wow.

    Now the sleeping arrangements… LOL. Don’t think my hubby would go for that, but very cool!

    • Ha Tracy! The sleeping arrangements are definitely temporary!

      Yes, the kitchen cabinets are particularly wow-inducing. My dad has been tinkering with woodworking for a very long time and he’s also a perfectionist (family trait).

      • You have done such an amazing job of creating a beautiful and functional small space, I am very inspired! We are a waldorf-inspired unschooling family of 5 living on 6 acres near the Outer Banks of NC. Chickens, donkey, peafowl, big garden, dairy goats….My husband is a wildlife biologist. We enjoy the ocean, crafting and knitting, campfires, nature….We are out here on the rural coastal plain with 3 kids (10, 6 and 4) and would be happy to welcome your family, we have plenty of space for you and your bus. I am on facebook if you would like to “meet me!”
        Blessings to you and your family on your great adventure. I hope to have such a one, someday! <3

  3. Thanks for the peek inside your bus! My hubby jokes in a half-serious way about selling all our stuff and moving into a bus, and I had a hard time imagining what it would actually look like. Your bus looks very comfortable!
    Twitter: TheParentVortex

  4. I so happy for all of you. What a great experience!! The work you all did is absolutely wonderful. Can’t wait to hear more.

  5. Your title made me wonder and nterested enough to read the whole thing. The pictures are very good and if I didn’t know, I could swear it was a house.

  6. I found your site through the Tiny House Blog on facebook. I am greatly enjoying reading about your family and your new home.
    I would love to follow you so I can get updates when you post..but do not see a follow button on your site…

  7. Lovely! Thinking about retiring into a bus conversion off the grid and just love the way you have made this bus into a beautiful home for your family! Warmest regards, Jackie Brown, Burnaby, B.C., Canada

    • I think that this would be a great way to retire. Far more economical and easier to maintain than a large home, plus the opportunity to travel…and I think, great to visit the grandkids without invading the kids’ space. 😉

      • I am amazed….it looks doable, in fact quite wonderful. Hubby and I are thinking of how we could have our retirement home and be able to travel to all our childrens homes for visits… and yet not “invade” them. I am already thinking up changes I can make to suit our “couple yrs rather than needing the children acomodations… this has tweeked my interest a great deal ! How about the costs of travel, what kind of bus was it ? thanks…. look forward to hearing and seeing more !

  8. What a lovely home you have. I have a few questions.
    1. Your cabinets and everything look like they will weigh a whole lot. Are you within the legal weight limit for your axels? Or is this not an issue in the USA?
    2. How do you cope with the condensation on the windows and vehicle body? Cooking chick peas from scratch creates a lot of moisture.
    3. I notice you don’t tend to travel much whilst living in the bus, but when you do, do you have an issue with stuff falling around? Do you have seats that everyone can sit in with seatbelts when driving or do you have another vehicle for trips to the shops etc?
    Thanks for your time. I enjoy your blog.

    • Those are great questions. I realize that it is not clear from my posts that we do not travel in our bus at the moment. Our original conversion took quite a bit of our resources of time, money and energy, and then we had kids which further reduced those resources, which means that as yet, we don’t have batteries, tanks, pumps installed. At the moment, we are dependent on the grid for power, water, water pressure, and we use a gray water field for disposing of gray water, and dump the chemical toilet in a septic tank.

      As such, we do not have issues with stuff falling around and also haven’t had to license the bus as an RV, including going through seat belting, weighing etc. because we have only moved the bus to a handful of locations. These will all be concerns to be addressed in a couple of years’ time when we hopefully do the final part of the conversion and set out on some roadschooling adventures with the kids.

      Condensation is a big issue certainly, especially as we live on the West Wet Coast of Canada. We have a powerful vent/exhaust fan installed in the kitchen ceiling near the stove for venting cooking steam. Further, a woodstove is an excellent source of dry heat and helps to compensate for the condensation of living and breathing in our bus in the winter. Lastly, we also put plastic over all of our windows in the winter. It was a bit of a trade-off in R-value to keep as many windows as we did considering that they are all single pane. The plastic can be a bit of a drag occasionally but really does help with the condensation in the winter.

      • Thank you answering then so comprehensively.
        Blessings

    • When I built the cabinets I used birch hardwood plywood for all the flat panels. It is much lighter, and exponentially stronger than MDF or particle board, and has the added advantage of generating less dust in my shop. Plywood also does not off-gas formaldehyde like the composite materials do. The primary wood (door and panel rails and styles, and the laminated wood countertop) is locally grown birch milled from timber taken from a building site, and processed from rough cuts to finished lumber in my shop. The secondary wood (drawer boxes, cleats and runners) is poplar taken from the same site.

      After the cabinets were stained, a local millwork shop was willing to spray them with a catalyzed lacquer finish in return for some drafting work I did for them. Once the lacquer flashed off in the safe environment of their shop, the cabinets were left with a very hard, totally inert finish posing no health risks.

      Cardboard from reused packing boxes, carefully fitted, wrapped, and stapled into the backs protected the cabinets for the journey to the bus. The kids loaded them and hauled them home themselves. Aaron did an awesome job installing them!

      The bottom line is that they are very light and strong, pose no health risks, use natural materials, caused minimal environmental impact, and were relatively cheap to build. The weight of the converted bus would be well within legal load limits, and the Bluebird bus, constructed on a heavy duty truck chassis, should be easily up to it.
      Bob´s last post ..Permaculture – what is it?

  9. This is so great! What ingenuity! A few questions: how do you children feel about life on the bus vs. life in a “real” house? do you homeschool or send kids to a brick and mortar school? does your oldest child have friends over — what kinds of questions / reactions do his friends have?
    Thanks — this is a fascinating and inspiring living choice.

    • My oldest currently attends a Waldorf school but we will likely be homeschooling again in the future. We have done it in the past and really like a lot of things about it. Also, one of our longer term plans involves doing a year of travel in the bus and roadschooling the kids.
      Kids are remarkably capable of just taking in situations that are different than what they are used to. They ask questions sometimes but generally they just accept it for what it is. We’ve only been living here for a couple of months and so far all of the kids that have visited are far more interested in the farm, than in our living situation.

      My own kids like it quite a lot. My oldest spent the first three years of his life in the bus and is really happy to be back. My daughter sometimes asks when we are going to move into a “fancy house” but when I ask her what a fancy house is, she says “black with silver lightning bolts and red stars” so it sounds like it’s actually a paint job that she’s after. I’m planning a post on the realities in the bus for the kids so stayed tuned for that if you have more questions.

      Thanks for your positive comments – it’s really nice to hear from people who only think we’re a little bit crazy. 😉

  10. I am going to purchase a bus soon, and will be putting it on someone’s land in my community. I am curious about your lease that you came up with; would you willing to share it?
    Your bus is beautiful by the way! Did the space arrangements come out of living there, or had you seen other buses that inspired you? Love to hear or see more of your inspirations regarding organization!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you! We spent a lot of time planning and drawing before we started any building on the bus, particularly on fine tuning the layout. We drew most of our inspiration for boat designs. I spent a lot of time looking at websites for sailboat manufacturers to see what kind of layouts they used. We were also constrained by the placement of the doors and wheel-wells in our layout. From there, most of the details were worked out over time. We lived in the bus during the conversion so a lot of design aspects were borne out of practical considerations which I think is why we still like it so much after 5 years of living in it. Of course, we have an on-going fascination with bus conversions, house-trucks, trailer remodels and tiny houses and certainly drew inspiration from those as well.

      I will email you directly regarding our lease.

  11. I came over here from the Tiny House blog, too. All I can say is, wow, you’re living a lot of people’s fantasy. I’ve had a dream of being contained in such a comforting way ever since I was a tiny kid and read the story called MR. PIPER’S BUS by, gosh, what was her name…Eleanor Clymer? He had too many pets for his small apartment, loaded up everybody in an old school bus, took off for the country, found an old farmhouse, and then became the school bus driver for the country kids. Oh, how I loved that book!

    I think the hardest thing I’d have to get accustomed to is the chemical toilet and NO SHOWER. How on earth you can keep 5 people clean, including a baby and kids, must make you a genius; I’d love to hear more about how you cope with that situation. I’m a wimp and too conditioned to a not-fancy but, still, cushy life.

    Do you have curtains or blinds or shades on all those windows? I couldn’t tell. Is it important…do you feel a need for privacy from the outside environment?

    Also, do you go to a laundromat? When you’re on the farm, will you be able to use someone else’s shower and washing machine? I lived on a sailboat for a short time, and we had tanks for the toilet/shower waste. (That’s my only exposure to a similar lifestyle, albeit temporary.)

    If you were ever somewhere where you didn’t have hookups, do you have some sort of auxiliary system for electrical? Sorry if I sound really ignorant of these things, but I know very little about campers or trailers or motorhomes, and how such things work. I’ve never been camping in my life, and I’m pretty old.

    • The shower has come up a few times in the attention generated by the feature at Tiny House Blog and I intend to address it and laundry questions in a post so stay tuned for that…

      Otherwise, we lived for 5 years in the middle of Vancouver, on a corner beside a busy park, bike lane, Saturday farmer’s market. Curtains were a vital necessity. We had roman blinds made of muslin for the whole front area, which were nice as they let in some light even when pulled down. The back has curtains as well, but dark green to block out light for sleeping. We also have two floor-to-ceiling curtains inside, one that provides privacy for the bedroom/bathroom, and one to block the draft from the front door. Here on the farm, we are quite happy not to have the blinds up. We are in a secluded forest clearing so privacy isn’t really an issue, though we have been using the curtains in the bedroom primarily to block light to help the baby nap during the day and to help the children settle for bed during the long summer evenings.

      We do not have auxiliary power at the moment. We haven’t yet reached that point in the conversion process (installing battery banks, solar panels, tanks, pumps) so we are very much dependent on the grid for power, water, etc. Though the bus does run, we have largely kept it stationary. Again, some of this will be addressed in further posts.

      Thanks so much for your kind words and interest!

      • As another reader commented, thank you for the comprehensive response. You definitely have our interest piqued! I have added your site to my Favorites and will return. I don’t think your life is crazy at all. I think it’s fascinating! I’m very impressed with the amount of planning you and your husband have done since the beginning of the bus conversion. It speaks to why things have apparently gone fairly smoothly for you in the two times you’ve lived in it, both on the corner and now on the farm (nothing haphazard going on here; obviously you are very intelligent people). After I wrote this initial comment and began to scroll in your archives, I could indeed see the evolution and answered some of my own questions; I think my most enjoyable photo was the one where the bus awaited the ferry, as it really revealed the size/length of your incredible home on wheels (it looks huge!). I’m hoping this means you’re living on one of the beautiful San Juan Islands/Vancouver Island; we have acquaintances who have been fixing up a old farmhouse on Orcas for years, hoping to retire there soon. (Not asking you to reveal; you need to keep your privacy!) The Pacific Northwest/Western Canada is so scenic; I saw a bit of it many years ago, and hope to return one day for more sightseeing.

        I think one of the reasons your story is intriguing to so many of us is because of perhaps where we are in our lives and how we might be reassessing for many different reasons…if, for nothing more, DECLUTTERING. There are so many articles and books right now about the accumulation of STUFF and how it’s burying us; consumerism gone completely wild, at least before the economic downturn/Recession of most recent times in the U.S. As in my case, we downsized because we inherited a vintage home (that’s been in our extended family, forever) which is a tiny, ancient, beloved bungalow (nearly 100 years old) and I didn’t work hard enough on getting rid of a lot of things beforehand so, jamming contents of a 4-bedroom house into a 2-bedroom has made our life a nightmare. We’re scarily mortgage-poor because we had to borrow against equity to upgrade plumbing, electrical, roof, etc. as nothing had been updated in the home since 1923 and it wasn’t safe. (We didn’t do anything fancy, believe me!) I’m currently weeding and attempting to find inexpensive storage solutions, so I’m trying to make my brain recall what living on the sailboat was like and how we stowed our belongings, plus I’ve now gained some good ideas from you as you strive to make every inch count on the bus.

        I did find myself thinking about your situation a few years down the line, and where you’ll put three older/growing kids to sleep (as they get taller and can’t fit in the loft bunk, or the toy-area bunk, etc.). You, of course, have time to figure that out and I believe you did say that a long-term plan is to maybe build your own small home, maybe something in combination with the bus. I did wonder also about how you keep the bus, in harsh weather, from deteriorating too much on its exterior. Just as with a boat and having to scrape the hull from barnacles adhering, I imagine you can have concerns for the bus with exterior paint, wear on rubber seals, rust, etc. I have seen some people put an unused motor home or large 5-wheel trailer on blocks when not in use (is that to save the tires?). Did you ever have a desire to be in a “carport” or have a canopy over you, to protect from rain or sun, etc.? I know you like to hear the drum of rain on roof, but you seem somehow to me to be a bit “exposed” to the elements for the long term.

        Just, to use your word (I like that word!), musing…

        Thanks.

  12. Our RV is 36 foot with no slide outs and it was a really cheap auction find with a bathroom across from the refrigerator and microwave but no actual kitchen and FIVE built in desks we are slowly removing to make room for renovations. It also has a far front door and a door in the side of the rear space. I want to turn the back into a bunk area for the kids, and find a bed for the forward space, but at this point we’re still working on the repairs needed to get it ready for interior work.

    I LOVE your kitchen! Showed hubby because I would love to have a truly functional kitchen like yours in our RV and your cleverness in storage is wonderful! I appreciate your sharing!
    Ann´s last post ..Unsticking My Vocation

    • Wow – 5 desks! That’s unreal. Funny how some layouts are so great and others just make no sense at all. It really is fun to come up with alternatives. I hope you are enjoying the process.

      We love the kitchen too, even some of the big houses we lived in didn’t have such functional kitchens and considering how much time I spend in the kitchen, I need it to work, you know?

      • Do you find the oven/stove essential? I’m evaluating how we use a slow cooker and microwave so much of the time and considering if we need such, or if more counter and storage would serve as well or better. Trade-offs galore. LOL!

        The Rexhall came from a police department auction. They bought it to use as a mobile office and found it too big for the streets in the city. So we got it for the cost of a used transmission!

        We’re still finishing up the exterior repairs and hubby needs to finish another project and then our RV is the next project slated to be completed! Provided the money doesn’t run out. 😛
        Ann´s last post ..Gratitude to God for Good Priests

  13. Hi there! I’d love to feature this on Offbeat Mama if you’re interested! Just send me an email: stephanie@offbeatempire.com.
    Stephanie´s last post ..How can I explain where my deceased daughter is to our future children without bringing up religion?

  14. Got to your site from a link at TinyHome. You’ve got a larger home than my old Airstream, but you’re putting more folks in there than I do. I have a rear-bed model whose bed I yanked and then mission creep hit- I disliked all the old carpet. Smelly, dirty and held a ton of dirt! I filled in the flat-head screws with Bondo and poured clear boat resin over garage floor paint and color chips. Now I’ve got an easy-to-clean floor that doesn’t hold dirt or musty smells. The bed? Well, I bought a steel cot at a thrift store, cut one corner to match the curve of the Airstream’s interior, welded the curved bed frame and made a custom fourth leg. Works well. A freecycle Ikea foam mattress got sliced to fit, made a mattress cover out of some old muslin, “customized” a maple headboard by making it narrower, and my bed is great! We must have been channeling the same storage goddess because I made the bed’s height suitable for four tall storage containers. Where the old head used to be on the portside aft, I installed another thrift-store deal, a queen headboard that, after I cut the legs off and stained it with clear boat resin, functions as desk, work area, table, and is close enough to my single bed that a 9″ LED TV is more than adequate. I can sleep one good-sized adult on that steel cot (think US Army basic training), and I got lots more storage plus the ability to get to the back window without having to crab-walk around the old mattress. Didn’t change much else, because Airstreams are well-designed. I like my four-burner propane stove, the three-way fridge, and the front couch that converts to a rather firm double bed. The bathroom has a flush toilet, and I like the generous Airstream shower.

    I won’t be using my trailer for awhile, but when I can, I’d like to take it to Alaska. So far, your photos were wonderful, showing us how you converted a bus. I’d also like to hear how you make out, living in this bus here and there. Don’t forget to add something about “We chose Laramie because … ” and “We passed on Iowa because …. ” I’d really like to read a Day-In-The-Life post, too.

    Thanks for a great site.
    Rich Rodriguez´s last post ..A1C Blues

  15. you are amazing!!! I love all the ideas for storage, and how you maximized your space. You aren’t missing anything at all. <3 it!
    Joey´s last post ..Watch “Earthship: Temperature Control, Corner Cottage” on YouTube

  16. Hi, came across your site while researching a conversion. I’m not a woodworker by any stretch, Ironicly I’m much better with metal. Anyhow I plan on removing most of the body and reverse mount an flat back RV trailer, either graft it to the bus body, or reinstall the rear wall and cut a door in the RV for a passthrough. I’m calling it a cheater skoolie. For the cost of what I see most people spending to convert, I figure I can buy a used trailer. I guess if you really sourced craigslist and freebies, you could probably do it for a lot less. I like the idea of the RV being self contained already. Though, I only wish I had the craftsmanship to complete what I see in a lot of conversions.
    And idea I had instead of plastic over the windows is….have long ‘shutters’ on hinges (up/down motion) that you can open a window and pull up or down with a cord depending on need. Will help with light/water and as a secondary heat barrier. Add latches to hold in the down position for moving the bus.
    While your story is inspiring, I couldn’t see myself living in this arrangement long term. I’ll be using mine for an extended road trip next summer with my retired Dad and Uncles (hopefully, they’re notorious for poor follow through on great ideas).
    You may want to consider a second RV trailer that could be towed by the bus as the kids grow. It would also provide a shower.

    • Our original plan was to live in the bus for 2 years (just the two of us). That became 5. I’m not sure what will happen this time around. Re: space for kids and a shower – we are currently building a little cabin addition for just those things…and that too might make this a longer venture than we originally planned. I’m ok with not really knowing at the moment.

      Your project shounds fun. I hope you document that road trip for your dad. What a great idea.

  17. Looks Awesome! You mention that you need to get used to digging for things way in the back. One trick would be to make a list of whats in the cabinet and then post it on the inside of the door. That should help lessen the searches.

    • That is a good idea. Though, admittedly, my digging is less of digging to find what I’m looking for, as it is from the necessity of having to move multiple things that are stored in front of the item I need, which I know to be far at the back. No way around it really.

  18. i am thinking about going to a bus , been shopping for a mci or gryhond
    getting rid of stuff , i am single i think the bus might be the way to go
    thanks for sharing

  19. Thank you for sharing! Your home has given me great great inspiration for my bus plans. You live in a similar climate that I am considering moving to (Pacific NW), how did you determine what R-value you would need for insulating your home? That is my biggest hurdle right now… Well that and figuring out the electrical stuff 🙂 It looks like you didn’t insulate the ceiling? Does that have an effect on temperature regulation inside? Again. Thank you for sharing your story!!

  20. Not sure this channel still works. Been a while, but I hope you’re doing well in your Bluebird bus. What’s new??

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