This weekend we picked up our shower stall and with much trepidation maneuvered it into the bus and hooray, it’s fits! It’s too wide to face toward the toilet, it would stick out into the walking space in the living room too much, so it’s going in sideways and we’re going to build a cool little surround for it. It’s a high step so it already has a step that’s 250ml high to step in, which hopefully will help with reducing any splash into the living space, and we may increase this with the surround. We plan to install a strip of LED lights around the top of it otherwise with the curtain shut, it would be quite dark in there but now that we have that, and the toilet, all that’s left in terms of build to do is the kitchen. Of course, we have to get them all plumbed in but as sheer luck would have it, directly under the floor of the shower, there is room for the water tanks, so it should be relatively simple to plumb it all in. The shower comes right up to the built in couch so will create a wall to lean on (and maybe hang a family painting that we love) and the other side will be the wall for the toilet. Taking it all the way up to the couch gives us more than enough room to be able to open the draw of the composting toilet and will hopefully stop us feeling too cramped in there. We plan to make a pocket door that slides back in to the wall to get in to the toilet and that pocket wall will be lined with shelves, or even a door for a really narrow pantry, one that is only about a mason jar or can size deep.
So, we’ve been thinking about how we’re going to do the kitchen and we’ve come up with an idea (thank you Pinterest!) Instead of finding a kitchen on ebay or gumtree and trying to install it, I’m going to source a couple of cheap secondhand cabinets, dressers, or sideboards and paint and distress them to give us our gypsy, shabby chic feel and convert them into use as a kitchen. One of Indi’s beside tables was used as a guinea pig and got a painting and a sanding over the weekend. It’s no longer stained and grubby rosewood but now royal blue with turquoise and purple paint showing through where I sanded it back. It’s actually really kind of pretty now. I guess I’ll need to do the other one so they match at least. But anyway, it’s a relatively simple process and really kind of effective. I’ll post a picture of it if I remember. So, in light of this brainwave, we decided that the green walls in the living part of the bus would be overload if the cabinetry is going to be colourful. So, they got another coat of primer and two coats of plain flat white. Given we couldn’t decide what green we liked anyway, we’re happy with it and we’re aware of keeping the bus as light as possible given it’s such a small space.
It took a whole week for the purple suede paint in the bedroom to dry – it’s just so cold and wet here at the moment, and it only dries if I put the little heater on in the back room. However. when I do put the heater on, it’s amazing how toasty and comfortable it gets in the back part of the bus. It makes us feel quite comfortable about how easy it will be to heat it when we are living in it full time. Although the paint has come out a little pinker than we would have liked (I am still struggling to admit that it is, in fact, quite pink and will only go so far as to say it is ‘pinker than I imagined’) we are happy with the effect and it does hide the brush strokes that I was unhappy with earlier. And I like it MUCH better than the sponging that I did. That was a total fail. Apart from getting a mattress for our bed, finishing off the bookshelf above us (which Luke will need to do as the wall is curved and we have NO skill in attempting something like that) and putting up curtains, the bedroom area is pretty much liveable. At this stage we’re still running power in through an extension cord but so what – THE BEDROOM IS NEARLY DONE! We’re a little excited, you may have noticed. These photos don’t do the cosiness justice.
As B and I were sitting on the couch last night, after a lovely weekend with the girls, watching things about tiny houses on youtube, we were both filled with a sense of rightness and wellbeing. There is something profoundly satisfying about crafting the place you will live with your own hands (as much a fitting out a tin can will allow) and every day brings with it more certainty that we are doing the right thing. Whilst being mobile will be really awesome, chances are we won’t really go too far for too long (although that idea is subject to change). However, the knowledge that we will have a safe and lovely place to live no matter what happens to us in the future allows us to make the choice of what we really want to do with our time. We both really love the work we do, and plan to continue it in the future but the knowledge that I won’t need to work full time up until my 70s just to afford a mortgage on a house that we can’t afford to spend time in because we have to work so much is really reassuring. As we minimise our lives, we find that, as many people have said, divesting yourself of stuff is really freeing. We are really working on the premise that if it’s not beautiful and useful, it doesn’t have a place. We just won’t have the room for stuff we don’t need – and boy, do we have a LOT of stuff to get rid of. The auto electrician who came out to talk to B last week about our power needs and the best solar system to use laughed at the fact that we insist on having our (admittedly tiny) coffee machine and our kitchen aid as non-negotiables but are happy to forgo a microwave and toaster (real energy suckers). We are making the decisions on our lives and the way we live them, rather than what is usual and just taken for granted as a necessity. Once you start questioning what is really necessary for you to live a happy and productive life, it gets easier and easier to let things go. Less stuff in your life leaves more room for experiences and love, at least, that’s what we’re finding.