So after we installed the floor we went through with tape and marked off exactly where everything is going to go in the bus. That way we have an idea of how everything is going to fit together (and that it all will fit). The bedroom will be in the back of the bus. We have some 2 inch foam insulation from a decommissioned project at Trevor’s work that we are planning on using to create our dividing walls and insulate the bedroom.
So, working from the back forward- we have our bedroom. We plan on getting a queen size mattress and putting storage beneath it. We gave ourselves room to walk around on all three sides. This is primarily for ease with the baby. We even have room to put her co-sleeper attached to the bed in there too.
In front of the bedroom are the two rear wheel wells. Being raised they are a little difficult to work with. This will become our closet space and also store our inverters and all the electrical controls. We will box off the wheel wells and then work above them. Next to the closet on one side will be the composting toilet and on the other will be our luxurious water trough bath tub. Rachael saw the tub in another bus conversion and fell in love with the idea. It’s an indulgence but should hopefully continue to get use even in Nica.
After the bathroom comes the kitchen/living area. We are reusing two cabinets that are currently collecting dust in Rachael’s parents shed as our kitchen cabinets. They need counter tops but that is an easy fix and we will instal a sink in the one on the side with the tub. We are planning on purchasing a small propane camp oven and a solar refrigerator. All the kitchen appliance will be of great use for the restaurant once we return. And Rachael has high hopes of selling cupcakes and other baked goods along the way to help off set travel costs.
That leaves us with some open space still in the front of the bus. We haven’t decided exactly how the furniture will be laid out there. We will probably have a table and chairs that can easily move between the inside and outside for eating. Possibly some kind of bench seating that will double as additional storage space. Of course we also need to install a co-captains chair for Rachael while we are on the road and we need to buckle the baby’s car seat to a seat as well.
The next step is to get the walls, electrical and plumbing up now that we know where everything is going. They should be going up soon!
Once we got all the seats removed from the bus the next step was to install the floor. We had spent a long time going back and forth over what we wanted to put down in the bus. We had a number of factors that figured into our decision – a major one being cost. Durability, ease of installation and sustainability also were factors that we considered. While we love the look of hardwood it is super expensive and will be susceptible to jungle bugs unless you choose something extremely hard. Laminate is cheap but doesn’t fall in line with our desire to use natural materials. In the end we narrowed it down to either cork or bamboo. Both are relatively sustainable choices that fell into the price range we were looking to spend. After much watching of price we found some bamboo in sale for $1.29 a square foot and bought it. The hardness factor of bamboo turned out to be a big selling point for us.
Next we had to decide the best way to install the bamboo. When looking at other people who convert busses many put down an entire subfloor beneath their flooring. We decided not to do that for a couple of different reasons. First, straight up we didn’t want to invest that much money in the bus. We aren’t looking to have some super fancy RV that cost $20,000 to build but is still half the price of buying something like that new. We are looking to repurpose as much as possible and keep the costs down. Second- we plan to take this to the jungle and again we worried about what the bugs will eat- so if we lay pine 2x4s beneath the floor will the bugs just eat them and the floor collapse?
Then we discussed glueing down plywood to nail the floor down or to glueing the bamboo directly to the bus floor. In the end after lots of debate and research we decided to float the floor. That should allow for any flexing that may occur along the way. So we lay an insulating under payment down first. Then simply glued the tongue and groove. And while it may not be the ideal installation technique it will work for our purposes.
So when we bought the bus it did not have your standard school bus seats in it as you can see. Having been used previously as a trolly and then for the baseball team it the seats had been upgraded. Trevor used an angle grinder to cut the bolts that were attaching the seats to the floor to dis-attach them. We had considered taking them to a scrap yard but in the end we put them on craigslist for free and someone came and took them away. It was a much easier way to dispose of them.