Monday, May 26, 2014

Tiny House Magazine

We're so honored to announce that an article we wrote about the Just Right Bus is featured in this month's Tiny House Magazine! This month marks the 17th issue of the magazine and it is jam-packed with 66 pages of beautiful Tiny House material. From a review about a composting toilet to coverage on the Tiny House Conference and a story about two weirdos that live in a bus, this magazine is Just Right for anyone who has an interest in Tiny homes.

You can purchase the 17th issue of the Tiny House Magazine for $3.99 and if you use the "Buy Now" link below we will receive a percentage of the proceeds. Thank you for your support!

Buy Now!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Living with a Water Trough Bathtub

We get more comments on our water trough bathtub than any other part of the bus so I’d thought I share what it’s like living with one. The idea to use this kind of tub came to me one morning as I was drinking my coffee (as most good ideas do).

Shortly after we got the bus we discovered that a traditional shower wasn’t going to work. Although Chris can stand up straight in the middle of the bus, he has to duck when he gets to the sides since the ceiling curves. With the added height of a shower pan and tile, he wouldn't have the most comfortable bathing arrangements. We brainstormed various ideas of solving this issue and came to the conclusion that a tub would be best for our space. We would sit down in the tub and use a hand held shower nozzle so we wouldn’t have to take a full on bubble bath every time we bathed. I’m not sure what caused me to search images of “water trough bath tub” but when I found the pictures below and learned the price compared to a traditional tub, I was sold.

That same day we went to our local feed depot and purchased our new 48”, 100 gallon water trough bathtub.

Water trough’s go by various names including stock tanks, horse troughs, livestock tanks, and galvanized metal tubs, among others. For the sake of this post I will just call ours a tub. They also come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes. I recommend visiting a feed depot or local hardware store and trying out the tub you’re interested in. We almost purchased a tub that was about a foot shorter than the one we got to save space but changed our mind and opted for the wider one as we felt it would be more comfortable to sit in.

Here are a few examples of how others have used water troughs in their bathrooms.



After about 8 months of living in the bus I thought I’d share our personal pros and cons about using a water trough bathtub.


  • Inexpensive: We bought our tub for around $100 at the local feed store. They had one in stock so we were able to take it home that day. Similar sized claw foot tubs can go for over $1000!
  • Easy Install: To install the tub we drilled a drain hole, two holes for the faucet and attached the tub to the wall with 2 bolts. It’s nestled between our closet and kitchen counter so we’re not worried about it shifting during travel.
  • Light Weight: These tubs are considerably lighter than traditional bathtubs. I’m able to lift the tub on my own. It’s a little big and bulky but this is a huge plus to those who are weight-conscious when building. We were also able to store it in the bus while building and use it as a makeshift bench since it was so easy to move around.
  • Stylish, for some: I’ve seen a big increase in the number of people using these tubs and we always get compliments on the chic, rustic look.
  • Durable: Though they’re available in plastic, our tub is made from galvanized metal and meant to withstand abuse from livestock. We don’t have to worry about it chipping or cracking like a traditional porcelain tub.
  • High Sides: Since the tub has such high sides, we don’t have to use a shower curtain. Though we could easily spray water on the floor with our handheld claw foot tub shower nozzle, we’re careful and aware. Any spray is quickly and easily wiped up after we’re done showering.
  • Great Storage Space: When we travel we store many things inside the tub including a basket full of small, semi-fragile items that normally live on the counters. Our vacuum also lives in it from time to time. Additionally, we planned to install a foldup countertop over the tub for additional counter space, though we’ve found we don’t really need that space right now.

The tub was a great counter space for tools while working on the bus

 The Tiny House Conference
 Photos by Christopher Tack
  • Alterations Necessary: The tub came with a drain plug in the side, about an inch from the base so we had to drill one in the floor. They’re also flat bottomed so we designed our tub nook to have a 1-inch slant so the water would flow toward the drain.
  • Not built to bathe in: If you’re looking for a luxurious bubble bath then a water trough probably isn’t for you. They’re straight walled and high sided so getting in and out may be difficult for some and if you want any sort or recline you’ll have to install a seat of some type. Additionally, they’re made of thin metal so the water stays warm for a relatively short period of time. Since we only really take showers in the tub, I hit the sides and bottom with a spray of warm water before getting in so that I don’t have to sit on the cold metal and that usually does the trick.
  • Not that easy to clean: Though the tub rarely looks dirty (and I suppose that’s a pro) it has a rubber seal around the base and up one wall that seems to be a magnet for soap scum. I’m constantly scrubbing it clean but do so very carefully as this seam keeps the floor and wall waterproof and I don’t want to damage it. The strange curves to the walls also make it a little awkward to scrub.
  • Negative stigma: I’ve seen these tubs referred to as “Red Neck Bath Tubs” but I suppose it’s up to you if that’s an insult or not.
  • Placement: These tubs take up a lot more floor space than a shower pan. To keep the open feel in our bus we essentially bathe in the kitchen/living room. I understand this may be a con for some so that’s why I included it here. However, it’s really no big deal to us. Just the two of us live in the bus and we can easily shut the curtains and the whole bus becomes our shower room. To be honest, this is the case for every room. We have a 200 square foot kitchen when we’re cooking, bedroom when we’re sleeping and bathroom when we’re…well, you know.

My mom told me that when she was little, her family used a bathtub to water their horses because they were cheaper and easier to find than horse troughs. An image of a horse relaxing in a claw foot tub immediately popped into my head when she said this.

Overall, we’re satisfied with the tub. It gets the job done and is a great conversation piece though I don’t think I would put one in my home if I had space for a standard shower. A water trough bathtub is not for everyone but it’s Just Right for us.

What kind of tub or shower would you build in your tiny home?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Swooning over Tiny House Swoon

We're so excited to share that our lovely bus has been posted on the Tiny House Swoon website! This site was one of our major sources of inspiration during the design phase of building the bus and is a continued source of awe and admiration. It's an honor to be included among the other Tiny Homes of the world and we've received some very encouraging and thoughtful comments from fellow Tiny House Swoon followers.

For all of our new friends, welcome! Sadly, I'm not as good at posting blog updates as some of my fellow tiny house bloggers. So if you'd like regular updates on the bus I recommend you like us on facebook at .Also, to anyone who may be interested in converting a school bus or is already in the process, please feel free to connect with us directly. We'd love to help in anyway we can!