At the start of the year Michael and I bought a 1961 Bedford SB3 that we are currently converting into a home. We had toyed with ideas of alternative housing for a while but they always seemed like far off dreams.
We started searching the Internet for the perfect bus, character and reliability were at the top of the list. Much sooner than we anticipated- we found her. The bus was located in Christchurch where we live, but was well out of our price range, however we figured having a look wouldn’t hurt and it would at least give us an idea of how small the space was that we were dreaming of occupying. The moment I caught a glimpse, it was done. The bus was already a motorhome, but it was not designed for full time living, plus what would all this be if it wasn’t a challenging project?... A few days later the old girl was ours, and after several weekends of hard work she was an empty shell ready to be re-imagined.
To make any ground in the music industry you have to tour. Last year we toured the states for three months, the year before we toured NZ three times and Australia once. This interruptive lifestyle means you spend most of your life away from ‘home’ but still paying rent, or on the odd occasion having to give up your house and find a new one on return. Now we own a ‘house’ that we can leave parked up for any length of time that will (hopefully) be waiting for us on each return.
Other than running our electrical system off sun power, being such a small space, once insulated it will be very efficient to heat. This house will be tailor made to meet our needs and nothing more. We are bringing new life to a structure that would otherwise eventually decay by recycling it into a liveable space, all while reducing our footprint. ‘The average American house consumes about three quarters of an acre of forest and produces about seven tonnes of construction waste. It emits 18 tonnes of greenhouse gasses annually and would definitely not fit into a single parking space.’*
We are having to significantly reduce our belongings leaving room only for what is necessary. I am excited to see how that changes our outlook on life, possessions and contentedness. I believe at the end of this, it will be as much a work of art as it will be a home.
“I imagine nobody’s list of necessities is ever going to quite match anybody else’s. Each will read like some kind of self portrait. I like to think that a house built true to the needs of it’s inhabitant will do the same.”
-Jay Shafer - The Small House Book.
If you are interested in the practical side of the project, or are looking into doing something similar yourself, please leave a comment below.
- *Reference Jay Shafer “The Small House Book.’