The Bus

Bus Layouts

Believe it or not, we only have about three weeks until we head back to California and actually start on the bus conversion! In preparation for beginning the real work, I’ve been trying to make as many solid plans as possible. The easiest way that I have found to get my ideas down and share them with everyone is to build them out in SketchUp. All of the screenshots that you see below are taken right out of SketchUp, are to scale, and fully interactive within the program. Pretty cool! Check out our versions of the school bus conversion layouts below.

Full Layout

Bus overhead layout

Overhead shot of the bus with no perspective. From left to right we have the living area, kitchen and office space, bathroom, bedroom, and garage in the back.

The overall layout of the bus hasn’t changed too much since we posted our original ideas a few months ago. There are two main differences here. In the living room we shortened one of the couches and added a fold up wall table to give us more of a traditional dinette space.

In the back of the bus we elongated the bathroom and rotated the bed. This layout actually gives us more space for storage in the very back of the bus and will hopefully allow us to squeeze our bikes inside.


Hover over the green circles to get more info!

This angle gives a little bit better sense of the space. The yellow walls around the outside represent the exterior walls of the bus. The height shows the base of the windows currently.

Living Space

Living room layout

Overhead view of the living area at the front of the bus.

Seems like we are continually adjusting the layout of this living room! For a good reason: we’re going to spend a lot of time here, so we want to make sure that it feels spacious, is comfortable for 2-4 people, and is a good spot to eat a meal. The long couch, folding table, and open floor area are going to help make all of that possible for us.

We struggled for a while about what to do with the very front of the bus. There is a lot of space in the driver’s area that won’t get much use when we are not on the road. Our latest idea is to get a seat that swivels around, much like you’d see in a Sprinter or Volkswagen van. That way we’ll be able to use the seat for guests when we aren’t driving down the highway.

The other fun feature about this space is that the built-in couch is designed to expand into a bed that can comfortably sleep two.

Kitchen & Office

Kitchen overhead view

The kitchen really hasn’t changed at all since our original planning. We’ll have warm running water in the sink, a propane double burner stove, and a special RV fridge under the counter that can run off of electricity or propane.

Opposite the kitchen (bottom of the photo) is our office space. We’ll have enough room for Alyssa and I both to have desks and office storage space. The idea is to be able to stow everything away and use the office space as an extra cooking and work surface when needed.

Bathroom

Bathroom overhead view

The bathroom is a humble space, with just enough room for a small shower and composting toilet. The composting toilet is a big win because it doesn’t need running water or a blackwater holding tank, which will make our lives easier. The shower pan will be fashioned out of a horse trough that we’ll get at the farm supply store. Some call it a “redneck bathtub,” but we like it! Check out some examples of what we’re thinking on pinterest!

Bedroom

Bedroom view

We’ve designed the sleeping area to be big enough to fit our queen sized mattress. (Luxury, I know!) The mattress will sit almost right at window height and will allow us to look out on the scenery. We’re still playing with the storage above the bed, but we will definitely have some room up there for clothes and other random stuff.

Garage

Behind the bedroom and bathroom is a space that we are calling the garage. This will be a space that holds all of our outdoor gear such as mountain bikes, skis, and climbing equipment. The bus has a large emergency door in the back that will serve as the main garage door to get everything in and out. This area will be completely walled off from the rest of the bus for security reasons–our most valuable stuff happens to be our outdoor gear so we’ll lock this area down pretty tight!

That’s it!

Amazing to think that the time to build this puppy is almost here. We are so excited to get started! If you have any thoughts or suggestions, we would love to hear them… leave it in the comments below!

Are you thinking about converting a bus?

If so, make sure to check out our Big Bus Shopping List! It has everything you’ll need, from toilets to light switches, to do your own conversion. Check it out »

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  • Eva

    Hey Alyssa,

    Thinking about a bus conversion & specifically bike & gear storage. Your L-shaped closet is an interesting concept but we’re considering a smaller bus. Based on the width of the emergency exit door and the depth of your “garage”, is it possible to put a bike in and turn it perpendicular to the bus? (& how deep is the main part of your garage?)

  • Brittany White

    Hey there. Would you feel comfortable sharing your sketchup file or the measurements of everything? I’d like to see the specifics.

  • Howard Smith

    Hi
    I love your bus and it is a real inspiration to me to do my own.
    Re your shower, how does the plumbing on this work? Do you have a black water tank for ‘used’ water or does it go elsewhere?
    Thank you
    Howard

    • Alyssa

      Hey Howard – We didn’t install any blackwater tanks because we installed a composting toilet, so the shower drains into the graywater tanks. Hope that helps!