When you are building a tiny home, especially on wheels and for a big family there are a lot of considerations you have to think of and not a lot of space to work in. Most of the time spent on the build was discussing how we were going to most efficiently and effectively use the 320 sqft of space. 8 ft wide and 40 ft long… that’s what we have to work with. To be honest, this isn’t an issue for Johnny and I but we knew that this would be big change for the kids. We wanted to be sure our home had all the essentials and as much storage we could create.
Stovetop Tray/Cover –
When we installed the gas range I was ecstatic! I had never cooked over gas and I was excited to learn. However the knobs and the stovetop in general were very easy to click on and move because there is traffic always passing and leaning on that area. So we thought why not cover it. The stovetop is 3 inches higher than the counters, so it had to be built like a tray.
We use it to take finished meals to the outdoor table, I actually use it so much to bring/hold my ingredients by the fire that if you look carefully above, you can see its burned.
Dinette Area – storage/couch/bed
Again, not only are we in 320 sq ft but we have 6 people! The Dinette area is probably the most transformative area in the bus, which is fine because it only really changes if we have a guest or we want to sit on “couches” (which we rarely do)
Below, you can see the left side if the table dropped down. That’s done by unscrewing the leg, then grabbing the desktop lifting it up out of its ‘holder” and sliding it into the seat rails. On the right Chloe is using it as a desktop to play with her DIY Barbie house.
Each of the seats open up to provide storage for the kids things (they also have under-bed storage and 2 totes, and toy storage under the dinette). The desktops also lifts to provide again more storage.
Showing the seats open on the boys side, in couch form. The rails on the outside hold a 3/4 in ply board that spans the hall, turning the couches into a big bed.
Dutch doors – doors (privacy)/fans/storage
This was one of the last things we started to build before we left Florida in April. When I was drawing out designs in the planning phase I REALLY wanted to create some doors. I wanted to be able to have multiple areas for privacy while changing, and in general separate us from the kids… whether it be us hangin in our bedroom or hanging up in the kitchen area.
We didn’t use dutch doors because we needed to frame quickly and we wanted to use the dead space in the 2×4 framing.
The doors are build with 1 x 4s and as dutch doors, the same as the framing. They do eat up a little bit of the hallway, but we make it through just fine and we have wide shoulders. The bottom half of both doors holds a box fan that all help move air toward the front. This wind tunnel pulls air through the cabin and adds white noise. Its amazing how these doors & the fans can seriously kill the noise. I can be sitting in my bedroom and have 8 kids up front, even without the doors, not hear very much noise. The kids can watch their movies laying in their bunk and we can be watching our own movie in the back with ease.
“Deadspace” Storage –
Before we decided to convert a school bus Johnny and I had a mini farm. We DIY built everything we needed for our animals housing, feed and many other things. We figured out so many ways to LOVE utilizing “dead” space it reduced the cost of build while using the maximum potential space.
We framed the majority of the bus with 2x4s. There is a total of 8 walls and each of them have a 1/8 in birch on one side and shelving inside the dead space.
The 4 in shelves have been a perfect depth for most of all our needs. If it doesn’t fit then they are just stored elsewhere.
Master Bed shoe storage-
When we were planning where to put our water pump, we realized it’d be best on the ground between our 2 -100 gallon tanks. For this we used 2x6s to frame a step up into our bedroom. When knew we’d have to raise the rest of that area and it turned out to be awesome storage. The 6-ish inches that we raised the floor still allows us to step up into our bedroom and our hair slightly brushes the ceiling. We didn’t need or want hinges or anything fancy since it would be covered and minimally accessed
(I’d add a picture but its not working)
Below you can see where the water pump is. Since we haven’t finished our electrical the pump is connected to a battery that sits down there. In the pictures below you can also see the piece of wood that is sticking out of Johnny’s bed. This is the insert that goes into the front dinettes to create the guest bed. It actually fit between our beds too, so if we want to sleep in a KING bed and stretch out we can. We actually do it often for movie nights with the kids.
Again maximizing the potential space. Under our beds are the 2 -100 gallon fresh water tanks. We used 2×4 to frame around them (which created daily shoe storage on the sides, and we created little drawer cubbies under our beds. Our beds are coffin beds like the kids and hold most of our clothing underneath.
Coffin Bed – clothes storage
All of the beds on the bus are coffin styled. Which means we framed it with 2 x 4s closed in one side and then added a lid, creating a “coffin”… we just sleep on top instead. We added gas props to make lifting the tops easier for searching for clothes or putting clothes away.
Fishing Poles Storage –
Man if you watch Week 20 you’ll catch the BHTS of us building these AND you’ll see the huge eff up in attempt to make it look “cooler”? I duhno what we were thinking.
Our poles travel in their holders and they are easy for the kids to access.
(I’d add a picture but its not working)
Sink Inserts – countertop extension
Before we redid the kitchen I had a 15 x 15 Ruvati sink with a cutting board insert. I LOVED that it extended the already small counters, the only problem was, it was a SUPER tiny sink ( I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought it) and if you didn’t have the colander basket insert in at the same time, the cutting board dropped in more leaving an uneven cutting surface (again it was 15 in x 15 in)
Johnny made these with some scrap 1/2 oak ply that was in the “maybe we can use” pile.
He glued two boards together that created a plunger affect. Then he split them 30/70 so I could extend the counter a little/lot/entirely depending on what I was doing. This allows us to still have access to the sink.
The inserts can go on either side, depending on what I need them for.
In-Cabinet Cook Space
I knew from the get go that we’d have a small kitchen. I actually really LOVE it because I can sort of shift/spin and reach everything I need. But because I had to carefully plan our counter space (its already pretty full) I knew some items would just need to be off the counter.
I will really only use the Instapot & the Kitchen Aid mixer when we are plugged in. I think I can use them when our solar is hooked up but these aren’t daily used items. Both drawers slide out to allow me to access the back without pulling out these larger appliance. I also will pull the drawer out, add my items in, set the Instapot to cook and then close the cabinet. This allows me to cook and use the kitchen counter without having that bulky cooker out!
In the end.. this is our home….
I love all the little things we created to make the most of the space. We took so much time and considerations into creating this home and we LOVE it. We have everything we need and more!