Creating Sustainable Mobile Homes

The front of the soon to be bus home, pre editing

So yesterday I posted an article regarding the nature of the bus idea, my bold approach to a self sustainable lifestyle, today I want to discuss how I plan to create this self sustaining machine on the go. So here I want to go through the basic design, the essentials and the necessities and also some of the big roadblocks. Because creating a self sustaining machine is a fairly large task and well since all of it is currently in the theory stage this could not all be 100% spot on.

The bus is somewhere around 30 to 34 feet in the back, which is the living space, the dimensions are roughly 7 feet by 30 feet creating a space that is 210 square feet of home. This of course will be filled with all the things a house needs and will certainly restrict the available floor space. However there is still plenty of useable space, since what is added still is useable. Let’s start right in the back of the bus, we will start with the bathroom and move forward through the kitchen, living room and finally bedroom. Keep in mind this is a bus, everything is designed to keep as much of the windows available for a 360 degree panoramic view of the world, plus all the additional natural light. The centre of the aisle is kept clear of anything to allow one straight line of sight throughout the vehicle, there is little privacy but in the end privacy isn’t really needed.

The washroom consists of two rooms at the back of the bus, I figured it would be best to keep the undesirable near the back and allow for the front portion to be communal and open. I hate the number of places that create a wet bathroom, where everything is in one, the sink and toilet get wet and so on. So I made the decision to split the bathroom and create two rooms in the back. One room is completely designated to the shower, a full room encased in metal to create a waterproof shower stall. On the other side there will be a room with dedicated vanity counter and storage as well as the toilet. I chose to put in a composting toilet out of pure frugality, a composting toilet is the simplest of toilets and costs virtually nothing, browse around and you’ll find an article about them on my blog. So the two rooms allow for two separate bathroom spaces that are private enough and could both be used at the same time if needed. Behind the washrooms there will be two closet spaces on either side, these will store the water needed and also they will store any overflow storage and items that need to be hung up in a closet space. I want to keep a spare tent in here for extra people to camp with us, however to is hard to evaluate what can go in there until it is built.

Next section we have is the kitchen, it breaks the clean line of the bus and I am not sure how bad this will look but it narrows the counters down creating almost an extra foot of aisle space, which in my mind is needed when there are two counter surfaces and potentially multiple people to work with. The main utility will be the sink, most likely powered by a high pressure foot pump. This way the water isn’t wasted because you will pump exactly as you need, there will be a water tank and I would hate to be wasteful. Next up I plan to have two regular power induction burners that can be stowed away as to not waste counter space. These will plug into a regular socket and will run off the solar power, I would recommend these are only used during the day as they would probably drain the batteries really quickly. Other than these two things the kitchen contains no real utilities, nothing is grid tied and there is nothing like that. I am looking at hand powered espresso makers and blenders, we will see how that plays out. Otherwise the kitchen is comprised of plenty of open counter space and a system of drawers that allow for extended counter space, as well as space to store all food and utensils needed.

The most versatile area of the bus will be the seating area, this is a general living room that also becomes the dining room, work space, and a spare bedroom if needed. The idea is to ensure all the furniture serves a double purpose, which is important in any tiny home lifestyle, of course this is suited to my needs. There are two rows of seats, each one with 4 seat sections, these serve as the living room, a communal seating area. One of the sections on both sides will lift to become a table, that each can seat 2 people meaning that this will allow for a dining room area without obstruction. Next there is one seat on either side that is simply dedicated to storage inside of the seat, that idea is still in the works and I am debating maybe adding the potential for an extra bed. Finally the two seats that are covering the wheel well in the bus fold out and join together to form one large queen size bed, measuring 5 feet by 7 feet. The cushions are all made of a high density foam and will be custom made with slip covers to provide a finished look.

Finally we reach the bedroom, which is actually the front of the bus, this section opens up to the driver’s cabin and serves as seats when driving so the driver doesn’t feel alone. So this section comprises of two beds, each one is fairly high up because inside the bed is flat storage and underneath there is drawers for additional storage. In total we figure there is enough for two or three wardrobe’s worth of clothing inside the bed. One of the beds slide over to create a queen size bed and at the same time they reveal a second single mattress hidden below, meaning you are never sacrificing a bed space.

The driver’s cabin remains as is there isn’t much too it, I plan to re panel the front to create the same natural wooden look. Just use thin plywood to finish off the cabin and create a nice friendly look the whole way through. This may also help the appearance as you enter the bus as I am keeping the main access to the front, this will allow for more room and a cleaner look all the way through, also I plan to include the driver’s cabin in the bus instead of completely walling it off.

When it comes to some of the huge roadblocks that I will cover in other articles there are things such as the power demand, creating energy, drainage, and keeping enough water on board. The space is fine it is mainly the utilities that worry me.

Thanks for stopping by and reading today’s bit on the bus, if you like this keep checking back I plan to keep a very detailed log of this journey and how it all works out.
Have an amazing day!

The Stigma to Mobile Living

Recently tiny homes and mobile homes have become a rising trend in housing and has become something that people are starting to enjoy. However tiny homes remain pretty stationary they aren’t built to be constantly moved or lived in on the go. So yes, people have become to adjust to the idea of tiny houses because the shift is only downsizing the home, where as mobile living is still classified as “trashy” and unorthodox. I’m not talking about an RV or a trailer, I’m talking about true mobile housing where the entire structure is meant to be on the go constantly and is built to travel.

I’m curious as to why these types of living are classified below others, it isn’t living in a trailer park and it isn’t camping. The idea I’m thinking of is much better, it is taking a large vehicle and creating a home within it and then having the ability to travel with it wherever you need. Making a complete living environment and creating an elegant living situation that allows for one to reside at little or no costs. This would make anyone’s time in the structure rent free, bill free and mortgage free, which allows them to have a period of time where they are able to make and save money, no real costs other than food and general needs. The idea is cheaper than regular housing which may be why it is frowned upon, not many have come to the point where they will accept cheaper ways to live and that a house, mortgage and debt aren’t necessary.

Mobile living spaces are optimal for many young people with multiple aspirations, a space to live, work and also travel with. The idea covers everything you could need with a pretty decent startup cost of around 15 thousand dollars. However it is a one time cost and after that there isn’t much need to pay for anything else. For young people who are taking time off to work and find themselves doesn’t this make perfect sense? Why would you want to work long hours for a job you probably don’t like only to lose over half that money to bills and rent. It doesn’t make sense to spend so much of that money on something you won’t be keeping. Why are we all so accustomed to paying for temporary housing or something that won’t last. Young people can rarely afford to purchase property or land, so they are caught in the cycle of renting something. Where this option allows you to own both home and vehicle in one and go through however long you want with something that you own, something that is yours. Then when you feel done with it you can sell it off and make some return off it. You’ll never see any money from an apartment come back, so you’re already a step ahead.

If there is so much good to them why are they so frowned upon and why is there this stigma as to people who live in mobile structures. My fear is that you get classified with people who live in trailer parks or such stereotypes. Either you are low income and you can’t afford a real house or other such reasons. Mainly there are say 4 or 5 homes built like the way I am talking about and this means that it one isn’t popular and it is still unknown, for it to be a more acceptable idea there needs to be more higher income or top of the chain kind of people choosing to live in these. Or they need to become something that trends just like the tiny house movement.

Finally the greatest difference between tiny houses and mobile living is exactly that, one is a residential unit placed in a stationary position while the other has the ability to function on it’s own and can go anywhere you want. Which in my mind for every young person looking at these options would be the better option. Trips and so forth all become simple and really easy to just pick up and leave. If the mobile living idea could catch some more attention and become a trend like the tiny houses maybe there wouldn’t be such a stigma to what kind of people would live like this.

Once again thanks for reading and thanks for checking in! Love sharing thoughts and opinions and as always I hope you have an amazing day!

Minimalism in Housing

This is a subject I completely forgot to touch on and it’s weird because it is a topic I feel pretty strongly about. The idea of minimizing not only your lifestyle but the space you take up. Small space living is a phenomenon that is only now starting to turn heads and get noticed.

Small space living is simple, you take the size of any house and bring it down to a couple hundred square feet. Some of these are under 100 square feet but generally small space living counts as any space under 1000 square feet. So it can be a pretty broad area to play with.

Living in a small space does not mean sacrifice, especially if you are already embarking on a minimalist lifestyle. If not, it is still possible, most people who live in small spaces just get really good at hiding the things they need but not constantly. Many tiny homes are built around the idea of storage. So if you do still have a ton of stuff then find a way to hide it.

One of the main reasons that this trend may not be catching on as much as we’d like is that small spaces aren’t commercially available, they aren’t easy to find. For the most part people design and build them all by themselves. So really a small space is a decision and something you need to dedicate yourself to, there are many misconceptions about small spaces and I want to address a couple of them.

First off, small spaces aren’t like living in a bad studio they are created to take an entire house to a mobile or small footprint setting, without sacrificing the feeling of being in a house. There are still divided spaces, height, dimension and complex ideas.

The people who live in small spaces, there is no stereotype of people for small spaces, people think it is just a bunch of cheap hippies or near homeless people. There are so many different people, and let’s think by living in a small space if you were already rich you would just have even more money to save, making it a great idea for anyone.

Next if you have seen any small spaces there are many that are built on trailers and kept in one spot, however that doesn’t mean all small spaces are built on a trailer. There are many different formats, from small apartments, to small trailers, to small structures, the number of options is really limitless.

So to conclude small spaces are a cool option that are both up to your own needs and design, budget and are limited by your imagination. They are great to save money or live smaller and they teach us lessons in frugality, space management and multi purpose. They are really great to go with the idea of minimalism and below I will be posting some links to some really neat tiny house projects. Let’s hear some feedback, would you ever consider living in a small space? Could you sacrifice your current home for smaller spaces? Let me know in the comments below.
As always have a great day and I hope you learn or find some inspiration here
Thanks

http://tiny-project.com

15 Terrific Tiny House Projects of 2011

http://faircompanies.com (my personal favourite, these videos are amazing)