Sunday, December 22, 2013

Home Sweet Home

After a long 5 months of working on the road I am finally home for good. Chris has done an amazing job holding down the fort and working on the bus, I was also fortunate to spend many weekends home with him.  We have a *lot* of updates since our last blog post so I'll just pick up where we left off. 

In late September we started the downhill slope to moving into the bus. My parents graciously let us have several extra boxes of wood flooring from their own house and it quickly went into the bus in about 2 days of work.

Those were one sticky pair of socks by the end

Eventually we will add molding around the edges

Before/After Flooring
Chris also did a wonderful job of building our couch. He utilized all of the space really well making a triangle end piece so that the couch doesn't block the walkway and creating compartments in the back and bottom of the couch for storage. We keep all of our dog leashes and toys in the first compartment of the back and our shoes in the triangle part on the bottom. Extra linens and Chris' medical books are in the main compartment.

We painted and sealed the bedroom area. This will help keep it clean and free of any moisture issues. It also looks nice.

Moving day! On October 12, almost 6 months to the day after buying the bus, we packed up all of our stuff in the middle of the night and snuck out of my parents house. Ok, kidding. But we did pack up everything into the bus and drive it over to its new home while they were away on vacation, Surprise!!

The bed went in first, it fit perfectly as we planned this space
carefully early on in our build.

A Just Right Fit!

The rest of our "stuff"

Because of some delays out of our control, we didn't actually drive the bus over until dark. It was quite the adventure driving down the highway in a bus with everything you own in it.

When we finally made it to our new home, Chris hooked up our power and I put up the curtains and we collapsed after a long day of hard work. All of the outlets and lights worked!

Day two of living in the bus brought a lot of unpacking. 

We're fortunate to have a nice patio area and a large shed to store our tools here.
Also, our hammock and grill fit nicely in the space!

We celebrated our first night in the Just Right Bus with some Taco Bus!

After move-in day, Chris started working on the plumbing. We hadn't actually tested our plumbing system yet and were sad to find there were several leaks. He worked his butt off tightening, replacing, and refiguring a bunch of different parts. Fortunately, I'm married to the hardest working, smartest person I've ever met and he figured it all out in time for dinner!


A lot of people are asking questions about how things like our wine glasses will stay in place as we drive down the road. Well the short answer is, they won't. We aren't traveling for a while though and I'm still trying to find a balance between a "homey" and "practical" I like looking at our art and wine glasses etc. So for now, they will live on a shelf. But when we drive, they'll get put away.

An extra table from my parents that collapses. We will eventually replace this with
a less-bulky option and some folding chairs but these work for now!

Willow's favorite spot

Shortly after moving the bus, I had success in finding a company to come out and charge our mini-split. It was the first school bus the HVAC guy had worked on but after about an hour he had it up and running. The strangest part was having a strange man sitting on my bed to make sure the connections were correct. I put down a bunch of extra sheet and things because the whole thing weirded me out slightly.

Wonderful cold air coming out of the AC!
The mini-split is working perfectly! We've used the heater function a few times already this month and are very pleased with all of the options. It has a "swing" option to move the fan blades up and down, can cool, heat or just blow a fan and has a remote control and LED display. Also, it's very quiet. We can't hear the outside unit at all when we're inside.

We love cooking (and eating) and have been doing a lot of it! Our Origo 6000 alcohol stove is working great, though I'm still figuring out the oven. It's very simple to use and easy to take apart and clean. The oven is a little temperamental, changes temperatures drastically and the thermometer is analogue and in Celsius so I'm constantly converting to remember what it's supposed to be set at. Also, when you open the door the temperature drops dramatically. I'm going to make some ceramic trivets in pottery to place in the bottom to help regulate the temperature better. I've read that this works well.

I must admit that I could cook happily in any space no matter the size as long as I had my pots, pans and knives. They truly make cooking a joy and quality cooking supplies are worth every penny, especially when they're used every single day.

Thanksgiving Pies!

Hot cocoa!
We've also found a lot of time to enjoy ourselves together in the bus. We don't have our TV hooked up but we do have internet access and we spend a lot of time talking, listening to music, crafting and researching improvements to the bus. Chris also uses the tables inside and outside to study.

Although it wasn't a necessary improvement, I was excited to work on our cabinet doors and drawers. Aesthetically, the doors make a big difference and it's accomplishments like this that keep you motivated during such a big project.

Trim around the top cabinets

Our cushion on the couch is currently wrapped in a denim cloth.
A legit pillow case will be made with this cloth…eventually.

Calamari Coconut Curry and one happy boy!

Snuggle boys

Fresh baked cookies, not burned!

Chris also had an ingenious idea on how to lock the front door. Originally we were using two hooks and a bike locked but we were never satisfied with the way it worked or looked. Also, if one of us got up earlier than the other to leave, there was no way to lock the door from the outside without locking the other one in. He installed this jimmy-proof deadbolt on the front doors. Now we can lock the door with a key like a real home instead of like a bicycle!

We also added a latch lock to the back door so that we can easily get out the back door in case of an emergency but no one can get in.


Study session in the living room
Christmas came early to us this year with the arrival of our Ecotemp instant hot water heater! This little beauty runs on LP and starts with a D battery. We had originally bought an instant hot water heater very early in our build, before we even had the bus and were thinking of building a tiny house but weren't satisfied with the size and its requirement to have 110v power to ignite. We plan on selling the first one…eventually.

 We easily hooked the water heater to the fence and attached the LP hose and water hoses. It really is "instant" and heats the water in a matter of seconds!

Chris, in all of his amazing wisdom, had already installed all of the hot water plumbing including this handy valve. This allowed us to test the system for leaks without having the turn off the city water spigot, what a smart guy! We have a couple of minor leaks that he plans on fixing today but all four of us (including dogs) had warm shower/baths last night! It was glorious.

Hot Water Valve and water pump under bed

Water Heater attached to bus

I love our butcher block countertops but it's been about 2 months since we installed them and I noticed they were getting pretty dry and rough. I did some research and found that teak oil had some high recommendations from others, especially in marine settings where moisture is an issue. I took this weekend to sand and re-oil the countertops and seal the stove box area with some wood sealer. Food had been falling behind the stove and I was concerned it would become sticky or stained. The clear coat is scrubbable and should help to keep everything durable for longer. Also, the wood feels so much better and looks a lot healthier. I'll probably reapply every 4-6 months. It's soothing work and I enjoy it but might not be for everyone.

They didn't stay so shiny once the oil absorbed and was wiped.

We also mounted lights in our closets. They're "hacked" Ikea lights that we wired directly into our DC wiring and they work really well.

We drink a lot of coffee but didn't like all of the space our large, 10 cup electric coffee maker was taking up on the counter. We found this percolator at Ikea and decided to give it a try. We love the idea but aren't 100% satisfied with this particular product. It doesn't seal all the way and is a little clunky. We plan on replacing it with a different one because we are pleased with being able to make coffee "off grid".

We also installed a mirror next to the sink. It's handy and out of the way unless we need it. I use it to get ready in the morning and Chris uses it to shave, well he used to when he actually shaved.

We are also fortunate to have the final member of our mammal family join us here. Stella, our pet bunny, has moved in and Winston couldn't be happier. He spends all day following her around the yard,  staring lovingly into her big brown eyes and licking her ears.

We are the happiest we've ever been living in this bus. We love our home, our yard and our neighborhood. The project definitely brought us closer as a family and although there were difficult times, it was truly rewarding every step of the way. We definitely wouldn't have gotten this far if it weren't for our amazing families. My parents let us live with them for months and helped build, clean and brainstorm ideas the entire way. Chris' parents were so supportive and had endless ideas, supplies, materials and tools which we used from day one.

I've had a lot of people ask if we're "done" with the bus. I'm not really sure what this means. We're done building to a point we need to live in it, but we are far from "done" improving, editing, maintaining and living in it. I think this is a project that will continue until we are no longer living in the bus. There are still a ton of finishing projects, trim, updates, shelving, ventilation and organization projects to work on and we will conquer them day by day.

Thank you to everyone who has supported and encouraged us though out this project. I had no idea we would receive such a following of supporters and truly appreciate every positive comment and idea you've given us. I hope to continue writing blog posts and Facebook updates about improvements and updates we make and about what it's like to live life in a bus.


  1. Wow! Amazing conversion! I absolutely love the look and layout. Kudos to you both on a job well done! Best wishes to you for an Awesome New Year!

  2. I'm so impressed! Kelly your dad has told me about this adventure in the past and finally he shared your blog with me. Congratulations on the amazing progress you have made towards living a more "simple" lifestyle where material possessions take a back seat, and love, family time and music move to the front seat. What a wonderful journey you and Chris have chosen for yourselves.