We have had such a positive response to our bus conversion it’s really blown us away. Along with the positivity has come a bunch of questions, so we thought we might share our thoughts on our home, how we designed it, how we built it and how it works on the road.
Our design philosophy was pretty simple. Design a Paris style apartment on wheels - efficient use of space without conceding style and openness. It was important to us to keep as much natural light as possible and we wanted to bring a great balance of colour. Colour, was a big one actually. It has been a big trend in recent years to focus on neutral minimal style and white wash. We really wanted to bring some colour back into the frame. People are often afraid to use colour these days and we heard a great quote about using colour from an ideas.ted article by Ingrid Fetell Lee – if in doubt consult a Henri Matisse painting.
Our build was on a limited budget and other than a few key bits of furniture was all going to be constructed with only a few hand-held power tools. We were also under time pressure for the build as we had the biological clock of a baby coming and we had to move into the bus only 6 months after purchasing it.
Plywood was our material of choice for all the walls, cupboards and doors. Easy to cut, comes in all sorts of thicknesses and is strong. A simple material like this that everyone uses can be made to look better with a good lick of paint and some simple highlights, like vintage door knobs and hinges.
The kitchen bench was crafted out of old jarrah wood (native to Western Australia) salvaged from a house demolition. We wanted a homely feel and this natural element really created it. Amazing how well old wood can scrub up.
The number one question we get asked about our build is how do you keep everything from falling over when travelling? Well, we have a few different techniques. For some objects Velcro tape holds them down. This way we can move them if we need otherwise they stay put. Many things are screwed down. We also pack some things up into the boxes if needed, but usually not much is packed away. One thing to note is this is a bus and it weighs 16 tons and has air suspension. It rides a lot different to smaller vehicles.
We love our home and we hope you can draw some inspiration from it too. Please feel free to ask us questions and we can fill you in where possible.
Oh and yes, we are 100% off grid. 800w of solar, 350 litres of water, 20 kg gas. We love it this way. You can find us @big_little_life_ on Instagram and shortly on our website.
Chris, Vaida, Oliver and Boris.