Getting Floored

Two fundamental laws of our universe, one thermodynamic and the other ecological, weave through our lives. The second law of thermodynamics states that entropy or disorder generally increases in a system. That is to say that things fall apart. Pessimistic some might say but no less true. This is balanced, however, by a positive and fundamental characteristic of living systems which is that they are creative and self-ordering.  These two aspects of our existence, chaos and order, balance each other in the delightful and often tenuous moments of our lives. And it is true that creation can come from the seemingly destructive or, as Nietzsche said, through chaos comes order, or something like that. This is no more or less true as we are embarking on converting a 1988 Thomas Built school bus into a tiny home.


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Before pictures: front looking back; back looking back.

You would assume buying an old school bus that is mostly converted into livable space would make it easier to convert into a tiny home. However, after a year of ripping things out and building things back up again I do not know if that is a valid assumption. At least we didn’t have to unbolt, remove and dispose of all those bus seats. Hey, that’s looking on the bright side! Seeing how someone else designed and built the livable space was a great way to see what we did and did not want to do. Suffice it to say we did not keep a single design aspect from the previous conversion and it did show us how we don’t want to do things. We want more light, more space and more beauty.

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Front looking back. Left is before repainting, before removing paint from windows and rust neutralization; Right is after.

After removing everything down to the bare metal floor, we set to filling in bolt holes in the floors (think: every seat was bolted down multiple times) and neutralizing surface rust, which was extensive but not damaging, then we began the process of creating a home out of an empty shell. We began by repainting the ceiling to replace the vibrant rainbow across the middle of the bus with something that would reflect light, namely white paint. We did this everywhere except in what will be the girls bedroom, where we painted a blue ceiling with white clouds. At the same time, Kristin painstakingly removed paint or opaque, plastic coverings that were stuck to the windows (inside and out!) to limit visibility into the bus. Sharp razor blades and lots of painter thinner were her partners in that endeavor.

With the ceiling painted, it was time to start on the flooring. I will share some pictures now and will return to this process in more words and pictures soon.

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L: Insulation put down and framing of cabinets etc begun. R: Vapor barrier on top of insulation.



Juniper dancing on the newly laid bamboo floor!



The Sweetness of It All

Here is an essay I just posted at the blog Witless Wanderings of Nibbling Sheep. I wanted to share it here also.

Witless Wanderings of Nibbling Sheep


Dawn is breaking over a fuzzy and opaque coast range. Just as slits in a crocheted blanket let in light so too do the slender gaps in the velvety gray clouds, revealing the clear sky and sun rising aove. I walk along a well-known path in the half light and partial darkness of early morning. This is a time of day when day and night, light and dark seem to merge and I cannot tell which I am in. Is this still night or has morning begun already? With my eyes cast downward looking at the path before me, I find myself lost in thought. My mind wanders and finally settles on an ancient Chinese Zen text – the Sandokai. Often translated as the “Harmony of Difference and Sameness”, the Sandokai was written by Shitou Xiqian, a Chinese Zen master in the 8th Century. As I strode an…

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The bus came by…


Where to begin. Really how can anyone put a finger on the exact moment when a journey begins? Does it begin the moment the idea is let loose in our brain or the first step we take? It has been said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step but I gotta admit that I think each step is the journey of a thousand miles with no beginning and no end, just one big fractal world. Patterns repeating over and over again. Neither conception nor death can stop it.

Answers or no answers we own a rather large school bus and here in these pages we will share our journey with you. We don’t know when this all began and we don’t know where it will take us but we know we are on it. And as that inimitable rock band the Grateful Dead once sang, “the bus came by and I got on and that’s when it all began.” Our purchase of the bus is definitely rooted in our search for simplicity and the desire to live more fully by digging deeper into ourselves, our relationships and what is truly meaningful in this crazy, messy world.

So I guess our journey starts here, on these pages and what better way to begin than by stepping aboard a school bus which is made for traveling and transporting one’s hopes and dreams along the way.


~written by David