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!

Smart Spaces and Mobility – A Quest

I’m young, this is a fact, matter of fact I’m just turning 19 and I have the whole world and a life ahead of me. However I’m frightened and I’m scared, I’m actually terrified of debt. It’s statistic that nowadays most people spend the most of their income on rent, many young people are going into credit card debt that is more than 5000$ of what our parents had, we are spending money at an irresponsible rate and realistically we will never fully pay it back. Add student loans on top of that and it is just impossible to ever make that kind of money back. So yes I am terrified of debt and I have made it part of my priority list to make it through my 20’s without getting into debt. I’m not about to tell you some crazy budgeting plan where I live off of ramen noodles. Matter of fact I don’t plan to actually change my outrageous spending habits. I am just going to cut out the major costs and the things that put most in debt. I plan to remove rental costs, no mortgage cost, minimize credit spending and avoid student loans. Yeah, that’s the plan, not to spend differently just remove the most expensive items.

How exactly do I plan to do this? Well I plan to leave a rental situation, I will get out of the dangerous and expensive trap that is renting. When we really look at it, I for example spend 1125$ a month on rent, this making up 13,500$ in a year. I make just a little more than that at my current point in life, so spending such a huge chunk seems a little irresponsible. So I have made it my main goal to make it through my 20’s without modifying too much of my lifestyle, without sacrificing luxury, without losing education and while still enjoying life. I have gone through a frustrating task of trying to figure out what would be the best way to do this an the best way to live. I finally feel like I can say I found a solution.

I had recently come across an inspiring story titled Hank Bought a Bus, see Hank Butitta is an architecture student and he was tired of making projects that never existed beyond the page. He felt that his creativity wasn’t really going anywhere and he wanted to build something. So for a final project he bought an old school bus, gutted it, removed all the old stuff and completely redesigned it. As an architecture student he wanted to further explore the idea of the mobile living and its many misconceptions, he tried to demonstrate that renovating an old vehicle was possible and actually could work great. His project really did just that and he created a beautiful living space, finished with wood, and it was functional and well designed. His project went from something he wanted to try and it turned into a inspiring project. Multiple websites featured his project and he received attention from all over the world. He inspired me to take this concept and push it further.

So when I took a look at how it would be possible to live rent free and mortgage free for my 20’s I had to explore two different options. Both beyond the practical way of life, but both still luxurious and personal. The first option was a tiny house, a small house that is built on a trailer with the same building principles as a full home. They are roughly 150 square feet, they have everything necessary and can be towed and placed wherever. The second option was Hank’s bus, building my own bus and recreating his idea to make a functional long term living environment.
Both options cost overall less than 15,000$ at a maximum, and this would be a one time expense. The one time cost would allow for a mobile living environment for however long I needed.

One of my main aspects of living rent and mortgage free was that I wanted to start making money. I work, I actually work a lot, sometimes one job, sometimes multiple. But at the end of the day I am still basically living pay cheque to pay cheque. It isn’t bad but it isn’t saving. I wanted to receive a pay cheque and actually make money, instead of having temporary funds that allowed me to pay off rent, bills, and so forth. I wanted to make the money I earn, not spend it all at once, and both of these options allowed for that to happen, a one time cost and then just move on with life.

So I made a decision after multiple pros and cons lists, multiple re thinkings and redesigns. I decided to choose a bus, because the framework existed, there was more square footage and I didn’t have to buy a car or truck on top of building a house. It was a large mobile structure which I could take with me and the house would come with, it is the ultimate all in one solution. With little inspiration other than Hank I have to design most of it from imagination and see what I can dream up. See Hank never finished his concept, there are many things it still lacks and it is not a complete living situation. I want mine to run on its own, be completely independent and replace any other living situation I have.

The next step is to create a smart space within a bus that is functional mainly for me, but can support up to 6 more people. The bus needs to have ample storage, and functional space, it must have a full bathroom, kitchen, living room and bedroom. There can be no dividing walls because the space needs to remain open, there needs to be unfiltered natural light and it needs to be functional off and on grid. It shouldn’t matter if I am in the middle of nowhere or the middle of a city, either way I shouldn’t have to sacrifice my living situation or my quality of life. I want a space that is beautiful and brilliantly designed as well as something comfortable and functional. Hank made a great opening statement by creating a beautifully designed, functional space but he didn’t finish all the actual workings. For example his doesn’t have a functioning washroom, but the space exists.

So how does mobility become a potential quest? Well here is my problem, in a 2 year period I have moved 7 or 8 times between houses, apartments and so forth. It isn’t that my living space was bad, but that I got bored of the surroundings. Having mobility and a fresh space is fun for me, sure it is expensive but I just can’t settle. The bus allows me to travel when I wish and where I stay will always be different. There is nothing tying me down to a property or space, I am mobile and can be wherever I please. Hotels would never be a thing, because my home would just come with me. Owning a vehicle and renting are the two highest costs, so by combining them I am simplifying everything and really only paying for the vehicle portion. So my quest is currently to last a minimum of 4 or 5 years in the bus. I want to make it through the university stage of life without living in an apartment or rental space. I also want to travel, this doesn’t mean to other continents since I am still fascinated by what we have here, the idea of a road trip seems like fun and being able to really go anywhere in North America is nice. I can just up and travel anywhere during my free time which is a nice feeling.

In theory a one time cost of under 15,000$ and then afterwards gas and food is the only expenses for my lifestyle. It would allow me to actually make and save money after that one time expense. I wouldn’t sacrifice my lifestyle which seems luxurious but is really just dressed up to look nice. I wouldn’t have to sacrifice much other than an apartment in a convenient location. I would get to design my space and do what I will to make it my own. All of these are appealing to me and provide the kind of financial freedom I am searching for. I plan to continue this discussion and I would love to hear some feedback or advice from others.

As always thank you for reading my random mutterings and articles, I appreciate it so much!
Have an amazing day and stay tuned for more on this topic.

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 the Common Spaces

The first part in my series about minimalism will be in the house, specifically in the common areas. Thankfully when it comes to minimalism this is the best area to start. The problem many encounter with this process is that we all have many possessions of sentimental value or of importance. However in common spaces we have an easier time, because items of such value aren’t often kept there. However if there are while you follow this post, try and find a way to turn these items into a centrepiece or show piece.

So the first place I decided to work with was my living room, I did this when I first moved so it was a little easier. We tried to fill the place with a couch and entertainment unit, it just didn’t work. So instead I decided to re think the entire house, and we started there. I got rid of the large entertainment stand, got rid of the couch. Replaced it with stackable chairs and a table that can be taken apart really easily. Everything in the room is now functional. The table serves as a desk, workspace and table for any other uses. It is still in great shape and could be be used for a large dining table. The chairs serve as seating, for both work and entertainment, they can be stacked out of the way and they can easily be removed, as can the table. The small little flat screen and Apple TV, provide all my music and all the entertainment needed in the house.

Essentially you need to work out what the room’s main purpose will be, then once you have that think of it’s location and what other things you could easily use the room for. For example our living room was to be a workspace, social space, art space, conversation space and extra room for company. So after many ideas thrown around, from a bed/ couch to other ideas. I decided a simple polished white tabletop with black sawhorse legs and black chairs would be great. It is a beautiful space and can be easily changed depending on the needs.

The next choice you need to make is whether you want minimalist decor and design or just to fulfill minimalism in your life. One is taking on the glossy white and simple look where the other is making your life simple and easy. For example I prefer to mix style and most of my house is industrial minimal. It is open, uncluttered and with purpose but not all white and standard.

Finally decide on the kind of furniture that can be multifunctional. Things like stackable chairs, folding or expanding tables, transforming furniture and things with hidden storage. Most minimal designs actually hide so much. You may see a wall with some cupboards but inside is piled with stuff and everything is just cleverly hidden. Organization is key. I personally just chose not to own a lot, so that helps, but on top of that we have all the multi functioning pieces that help achieve this.

Keep checking back in for the next steps where I go into wardrobe, bedroom, kitchen and other areas of our lives!
I hope this post helps you find some inspiration and reason to try minimalism! If you have any feedback feel free to comment and tell me your thoughts. I am not an authority on this but I know what works for me so I’m so open to feedback!
Have a wonderful day!