Too Late to Change the Floorplan? (Again)

It seems like every time we are out working on the bus, I have a new idea about how to arrange things. You know how it is. You have to get used to a space and what it feels like before you can truly understand what you’re working with. In any case, Anthony was no doubt becoming annoyed with my musings, which usually amounted to nothing as we concluded that the previously agreed upon floor plan was still the best option. That is, until the other day.

We were finishing up the insulation and paneling on the walls of the bus, and I seem to think it was Anthony who said something about putting the kids in the back where we had designed a Master Bedroom-ish and then putting a Murphy-style bed for us where we had planned on putting the kids’ bunks. At the very beginning of planning, our original idea was to put our bed in the front as a sort of living space/bedroom to it could double as sitting space, but we couldn’t get a Full size bed to work in the plans and the thought of sleeping on anything Futon related made my hips ache to think of it. So, we settled on putting our bed in back over the huge engine hump. This made a lot of sense design wise as it fit back there perfectly once Anthony built a little bunk for the mattress to set on, which allowed for storage underneath. This layout would also allow us to have a door to shut for privacy, if such a thing exists in an RV.

The problem we kept having is that because of where the wheel-wells were and where the black and grey water tanks had to go, there was only one place to put the toilet and shower, which pretty much determined the rest of the layout. I was not too keen on cooking in the kitchen with my back practically up against one of the kids’ bunks and/or storage areas.  (By the way, we never posted a pic of the layout with the kids’ bunks only on one side of the bus, so don’t go looking for it here. It allowed for a bigger kitchen for me.) No more late night popcorn snacks for us without waking up the kids! So when Anthony suggested a possible layout change, I was all ears.

Skoolie Bunk in Back

Here’s the back bunk area over the engine hump. It was going to have a Full for us, but now we are thinking about putting the kids back here.

What he suggested is putting the three kids’ bunks in the back parallel to the bus, side-by-side, right next to each other. We already have some storage and things built back there, o we would have to work around that. The bunk in back is roughly 54×88″. It was enough to fit a Full Sized bed (which we are used to sleeping in already) perpendicular across the width of the bus. 54″ is much too short for the length of most people, but our children are still small and, for the time being, it will work. I have an idea for building in drop down extensions when the time comes.

We want the kids to each have their own little space or cubby to be able to get away and read or play quietly and this new arrangement would still provide that. The storage space back there is a little less that what they had before, but we would likely make them a closet area above the back wheel wells next to ours to expand it. We have looked over a hundred RV or Skoolie layouts it seems and have not seen one layed out like this yet.

The Murphy bed would be horizontal and parallel to the bus pretty much directly across from the kitchen. What this means is that we can easily push our bed back up against the wall when not in use and allow for more walking/working area in the kitchen. Under the bed will feature storage to hang my pans, spice rack and other kitchen do-dads, so when the bed is up, there will be a wall with much of my kitchen go-to things. We are devising ways to hang these items so they don’t fall when the bed is lifted to be put away or being put down. I’m excited!

Here is the final layout (probably not):

15 thoughts on “Too Late to Change the Floorplan? (Again)

  1. Brady Cavaness

    Hi Jami,
    We too live in SoCal and are intrigued by your little adventure. Can you share how you guys got started..Skoolie-4-Dummies? We are actually going to go look at an RV park in Temecula wine country today :)
    Thanks for any info!

    Reply
    1. jami Post author

      Hi Brady! We kind of stumbled into it. It’s always been a dream of mine to live on the road, so I’ve read a blog or a site here and there on the subject. We kind of stumbled into the idea of living in an RV parked for our family because of various economical and social events that have occurred in the last two years with our family. We had to make a decision, and quickly, about where we were going to go and I had recently been reading about families that live full time in an RV (either on the road or not) at http://fulltimefamilies.com and somehow in the process ran across a blog where a guy was converting a school bus for himself and his 2 kids to live in. He said you get more “bang for your buck” by converting yourself, not to mention the customization you can do for your family. Plus, a school bus or metro bus are steel, and so there is not the leaking or wear issues you get with other RVs.
      From that blog, I found http://skoolie.net which is a veritable plethora of information on converting buses. There are tons of examples and loads of helpful information. We have learned the most there, by far. So we started stalking eBay and other places for a good bus. We got a steal on ours and while there are a couple of mechanical issues, our bus guy says that diesel engines don’t cost all that much to repair and they run forever. He drove it home for us from CO just fine. Since then, we are still learning all the time. It’s a learn-as-we-go type situation. I’ll be posting resource links on this blog in the near future, including links to other blogs, so please come back and watch for them! Best to you on your RV adventure!

      Reply
  2. Yolanda

    This is so exciting! I just found your blog today because of Wardeh Harmon. I think it is very interesting, what you are doing. God bless you and I hope everything “falls into place.”

    Reply
  3. Larry Sellers

    Hello,

    Is there a way of following your exploits? Facebook, Twitter, Youtube? I’d love to get regular updates, if possible. I really respect and commend your lifestyle choice and dedication!

    Sincerely,

    Larry S.

    Reply
    1. jami Post author

      Hi Larry! We mostly created this blog as a way to chronicle this part of our life so we can one day get it printed for our kids, and also to help others who are considering downsizing see that it’s possible. I didn’t realize we had no RSS or email subscription. We will get those set up for the blog, but we don’t plan on doing any social media. Maybe we will do a YouTube channel….I’ll think about it and we will post here if we do. :) Thanks for your encouragement!

      Reply
  4. Sarah shrode

    Hey!

    I also found you through Wardeh, and am so excited for you! My husband, two daughters, and I live in a 27′ rv currently and it’s awesome to see more and more people stepping outside of what is culturally normal in order to live within our means like we should. :)
    God bless on all your endeavors!
    -Sarah

    Reply
  5. Martha

    Dear Jami and Anthony,
    Yesterday I thoroughly enjoyed listening to your interview on the podcast at GNOWFGLINS. You are an inspiration to hear of your plans! I know there is a vast amount of information to learn and people out there who have the same philosophy as you of leaving a smaller footprint on this earth. We traveled in our RV last spring, as far south as the Mohave Preserve and up through the center/east side of the state, on to Oregon, and then home to Montana. It was delightful being in some campgrounds where you could pay monthly rates (although we never stayed that long but may consider it in the future), and yes, some of these residents are so kind and helpful and the parks are very accommodating. I feel confident that the right situation will be waiting for you. We wish you the very best during this whole adventure!
    Martha (Wardeh’s mother)

    Reply
    1. jami Post author

      Thanks so much for your encouragement, Martha! I would love to go on a long road trip (or two) as part of this adventure. I am excited to see what happens. I just love your daughter, by the way. :)

      Reply
  6. Mona@HealthyHomesteading

    Hi Jami and Anthony!
    I’m listening to the interview with Wardee right now. We lived in Palmdale for many years and we are familiar with your church. We have lived in Tehachapi for the past 10 years. I hope you are able to find a place to park your bus. I know Tehachapi is far but if you ever want to drive not to far you might consider the RV part in Alpine forest up here.
    My husband is a youth Pastor at our church up here and he also pastored at Palmdale First Baptist for years. Anyway,it’s real exciting what your doing. I plan to follow your journey :)

    Reply
    1. jami Post author

      Hi Mona! We love Tehachapi, but it’s way too far for us with all the ministry we are involved in here. My mom works up there and commutes every day and it has definitely not been a good thing.
      We actually have a temporary solution for the first year. :) I’ll be talking about it in the next blog post, which I am about to write (finally).
      So neat that you’re familiar with the area. Not many people are unless you mention the space shuttle. lol
      I had not heard of the Faires! I must have looked at hundreds of buses since we started this, but never saw that one. We had a similar layout as them at one point, but couldn’t make it work because of where our under storage compartments were and the wheel-wells. Everything has to line up just right for some things (especially black water). Plus, we decided that we didn’t want to have to walk through the kids’ room to get to ours, nor share a wall with them.

      Reply
  7. Mona@HealthyHomesteading

    The Faires are taking their bus on a cross country tour of organic farms. Nicole will be writing a book about it. I am very interested in following their story as well as yours :)
    Glad you came up with a solution . I can’t wait to read about it.

    Reply
    1. Anthony

      I would love to do that with our bus! ;) Maybe someday, if the Lord wills. I really like that the Faires squared up the walls on their bus, giving them a little bit of wall space above the windows. We opted for not doing that for a couple reasons: 1) We didn’t realize how not square the walls are in a bus…we thought it was only slightly bowed and 2) we wanted to preserve as much width as possible. By squaring the walls up, you end up losing close to 6 inches on the width. That makes a huge difference when you’ve only got roughly 96″ to work with.
      I’ll be following them too! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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