Bus Tour: Kitchen Details

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First of all, I just want to say THANK YOU! to all of you for being so kind and supportive of my Bus Tour posts!  It makes me a little anxious to expose our bus-converted-home in so much detail as I see all of the imperfections and just hope that no one else notices them 🙈  This is also a space that we dreamt about, went through multiple blueprints of, poured hundreds of laborious hours into and now we live in it.  We make meals for our family, we pray together, we dance to loud music, we argue and forgive, we hold each other close, and we tuck our babies into bed here.  So thank you so very much for reaching out in kindness and with questions!  I have especially loved getting to know so many of you who are starting on your tiny home journey or who have been living tiny/traveling for a while!  The support group and friendships that I’ve been able to make with social media the last few months has been amazing.

I did my best to photograph and take some photos of a few questions that I received after sharing our Bus Tour: The Kitchen post, so here goes nothing!

 

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The kitchen table.  We purchased this table from IKEA and it fit perfectly in our kitchen!  When not in use it sits under the counter, next to the washer and we have access to three of the six drawers while it’s tucked away.

 

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When it’s pulled out is is just shy of 5 feet and spans the length of the couches.  It comfortably seats 4 adults when fully expanded.  We usually don’t use our table when the weather is nice.  We are always cooking and eating outside as much as possible, so the table gets used most during the winter and colder/wetter months.

 

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When it’s just us as a family of 4 eating, we only open one side of the table like the above photo.

 

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Our upper cabinets!  These were custom made by my dad and we absolutely love them!  They have saved us big time with storage and they also hide the ugly wiring that runs all of the bus signals and lights as well as the two doors.

 

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We chose to go with these tension closures (also pictured below) and they work great!  But I’m a little paranoid when we drive long distances so I always put masking tape along all of the cabinets to give it just an extra bit of security, even if it’s for my own peace of mind haha.  Has anyone else found the perfect way to secure cabinets?  We’ve considered doing some sort of latch method that would only be used for traveling, but I’ve never pushed for it because of the cosmetic aspect of it.

 

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Carter’s drawer.  I guess Zellie is using everything out of here now too, but I still call it Carter’s drawer!  It’s a perfect height for him to be able to access it on his own.  He helps to set the table by getting his dishes and utensils out and he helps put away his dishes after they’re clean as well.  And again, we love IKEA so these kids dishes are from there!

As always, feel free to ask questions!  And if you haven’t seen them yet, check out the other Bus Tours: The Kitchen, The Master Bedroom, The Playroom.

Bus Tour – The Playroom

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Another Bus Tour post!!  Woot woot!  I feel like I’m doing pretty good at getting one of these up a week so I’m giving myself two thumbs up over here.  I LOVED the feedback from the Bus Tour – Kitchen post and I’m working on a post answering your questions so keep an eye out for that!

Today I’m featuring The Playroom.  This space was very well thought out for our needs and probably my favorite to put together!  Since this bus is our home for the foreseeable future and not just a vacation vehicle (we’ll use it for that too when the time comes!), I wanted to make sure Carter had a place to be a kid.  As I was coming up with ideas for this space, I envisioned him hard at work, making messes at his desk and proudly hanging his masterpieces on the magnetic wall.  I pictured him getting every book off the shelf and stacking it on the bench and cuddling up next to me with a blanket and reading for hours.  I thought about the toys he would have and love and I wanted to make them all accessible to him.

 

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All of these carefully thought out pieces came to life as I created this playroom for him!  He and Zellie both love this space and I love that it gets so much love from everyone!  Don’t get me wrong, there is definitely plenty of quarreling that goes on in the playroom too.  It’s mostly just Carter yelling at Zellie for touching or taking his toys… Zellie hasn’t quite learned how to retaliate yet and I’m not looking forward to when she does!

 

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We’re glad that these are all the toys that we have!  We don’t buy any toys unless it will fit in these baskets and if it won’t fit, then we have to donate something before we buy something.  Carter is still young, but we make him a part of the process of donating toys and he helps decide what toys he will give to another little boy or girl who might like them.  It’s really sweet to see him choose to donate something that we know he has really loved!

 

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My only complaint about these bookshelves is that they don’t hold enough books!  Especially now that we’re getting books from the library and we’re starting to put up age appropriate books for Zellie, we have a lot of books!  We’re just getting better about donating old ones we don’t read any more and putting the ones we love in storage to save for when we don’t have library books any more.

 

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This desk gets so much use from Carter.  As you can tell, he enjoys coloring on more than just the paper!  We put the desk up to do crafts as well as play-dough and puzzles.  Or he gets it out when he’s playing with certain toys that he doesn’t want Zellie to have haha.

 

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The crayons, markers, and colored pencils are out for him all the time so he can put the desk up whenever he wants to color.  We get out other craft materials when I’m with him and we’re learning about different textures and how to use glue, scissors, paint, etc.

 

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The magnetic wall to hang his masterpieces!  We leave them up for a week or two, then I take pictures of all of them and save my absolute favorite in a binder with sheet protectors.

 

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This playroom gets so much love from all of us every day.  The big window that pours in natural light makes my heart so happy!

 

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Let’s talk storage!  Above the “activity center” of the playroom we have the upper cabinets that my dad custom built throughout the house.  This picture was taken a little while ago, they now have doors on them 🙂  I store some of my personal craft things, and all sorts of craft materials and school supplies for Carter as well as puzzles and flash cards.

These are some of our favorites for Carter:

Paint, Construction Paper, Scissors, Puzzles, Play-Dough, Flash Cards, Counting Blocks, Drum Pad

 

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In the cabinets under the bench (remember these are repurposed cabinets that came from the same set we have in the kitchen) we have some food storage, more of my fabrics/craft supplies, more puzzles for Carter, and board games.  And probably some random stuff that I haven’t found a real home for, but I’ve managed to stuff it into one of these cabinets and it will stay there until Scott opens it, everything falls out, and he gets frustrated that he can’t get all to fit back in 🙂

Pretty much everything in the playroom is IKEA, but I’ll link to everything here:

Toy shelf/bins 1 & bins 2, drawing paper roll, storage cups (old, but similar here), metal rails, Book shelves, clock, bulletin board, dinosaur magnets, rug, inner cushion/cushion cover, bench cushions, animal pillows (H&M old), bins in upper cabinets

Phew that was a lot of links!  Hopefully some of that was helpful, or at least slightly enjoyable.  Don’t forget to check out The Kitchen and The Master Bedroom Bus Tours!

Bus Tour – Master Bedroom

We chose to have our bedroom closest to the kitchen and the kid’s nursery/Scott’s office in the back of the bus so that A) Scott could have his own uninterrupted (ha! yeah right!) office space to work in during the day and B) we could put the kids in bed and still have access to the whole house without worrying about waking them up.  Our kids are young so they go down earlier than us—sometimes before Scott and I get a chance to have dinner—so giving them their own room with doors was important to us.

The Master Bedroom

Since our bed would then be in the middle of the bus, we chose to do a Murphy bed that folds down out of the wall!  Talk about a fantastic space saver!  We purchased a Murphy bed kit HERE and then bought all of our wood and small hardware separately as per the instructions with the kit recommended.  On either side of the bed there is a closet; one for me and one for Scott.  These closets serve as the frame for the Murphy bed pistons and they work beautifully.  Our vision was that the closets would have doors eventually… but they still don’t so I doubt they ever will…

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During the day, the Master Bedroom is no where in sight.  Since we have a Murphy bed, it is tucked away as a wall in the playroom!  Having a Murphy bed that folds up into the wall is amazing, but also inconvenient at times.  It’s amazing because it takes very little time to make the bed and then it’s out of sight, out of mind for the rest of the day!  It’s inconvenient for that awful 2 o’clock hour when I often lose all my energy and just want to lie down… but then again it’s good that it’s not available so I don’t lie down… or is it?

 

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To access the bed, we move the cushions and pillows down to the floor and then lift the bed legs.  When the legs are lifted they release the bed and we pull it down.  The bed has weighted pistons attached to it to assist in lowering and raising the bed so it’s not super heavy. I do get a good single push-up in though when I lift the bed to put it away in the morning!  The bed sits on the hinged legs as well as this bench.  We repurposed upper cabinets from the same cabinet set that we have in our kitchen.

 

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There is quite a bit of storage under the bed and it’s accessible when the cushions and pillows are removed.  We can just pull the bench out to access the bigger items stored under there.  When building the bus we were very conscious of all the places we could use as storage!  We were able to get three of THESE TOTES that fit perfectly under this queen bed with room to squish a few extra things on top.  Scott hates that I squish random things under the bed, but I feel like I’m doing really well at utilizing every inch of space!

 

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And there you have it!  There is enough room to walk by the bed to access the bathroom or the kids nursery/Scott’s office behind that door.  We have an IKEA mattress and mattress topper as well as IKEA pillows, sheets, comforter, duvet set… but you probably didn’t care about that 🙂

 

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My pathetic attempt to put decorative pillows on our bed.  Some day I’ll get around to hanging pictures on this wall and I’ll decorate this area much better!  This photo shows the view from the door of the bathroom looking towards the front of the bus.

 

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And Scott and I each have our own closet on either side of the bed.  That is all the clothes I own!  There are a few seasonal items in storage that I’ll swap out, but yeah that’s my whole closet!

So there you have the master bedroom!  There’s plenty more of this bus to tour you through, so stay tuned!  And if you missed it, we’ve done a KITCHEN TOUR already.

Bus Tour – The Kitchen

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Ok, here it goes.  I’m attempting (key word: attempting) to put together a sort of photo tour of the bus, but I’ll be doing it room by room.  I’ll try to highlight some of the things that we use and love for our tiny living space.  I’ll also try to point out less obvious storage spaces and talk about why we did things the way we did.  If I leave anything out or you still have unanswered questions please feel free to comment or send me an email!  I’ve also tried to put in links to things that we have in our kitchen to give you ideas or a reference.  Here goes nothing…

The Kitchen

So, it’s hard to take an “all encompassing” photo of JUST the kitchen in such a small space (kind of seems contradictory haha but I just don’t have a wide enough angle lens and then when you do go any wider everything gets even more distorted than my pictures look!).  The photo above shows you the entirety of the kitchen and shows where it is in relation to the other rooms of our home.  It sits between the living room/dining area and the playroom/master bedroom.  The kitchen is 8ft long on both sides with about 13ft of counter space.

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We were able to find an RV fridge on craigslist for a killer deal so we snatched that and absolutely love it.  If anyone is really really (and I mean REALLY REALLY) interested, I could probably get Scott to write a post—or at least answer any questions—about how we hooked up our fridge and what we use for ventilation/airflow.
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We chose to go with a portable induction stovetop (above) and a microwave convection oven (below) instead of a gas oven and stove.  We decided that we wanted more counter space vs a gas range top and we love that it’s induction!  We store the induction stovetop above the fridge and can bring it down to set on either counter whenever we need to use it (huge bonus!) and I could probably talk about this stovetop for an hour or so… but I’ll spare you for now.

 

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Our microwave convection oven has been amazing for us.  I was so worried about not having a gas oven in my home because I felt like I’d never be able to bake!  I did so much research on convection ovens and was still hesitant about having one, but it came time that we just needed to buy something and Scott was really pushing for a toaster oven so I took the leap and got this baby.  I’m SO glad that we have this and not a toaster oven!  Toaster ovens are great, but when you’re limited on space and you can’t have both I think the convection oven is much more functional, especially with a family.  And yes, I cook and bake the exact same in this oven as I do in a gas oven!  The only thing that I find limiting is the Broil function, but I might just need to play with it some more.

 

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Our KitchenAid is a no brainer for us.  It’s super cute and extremely functional—we’re always using it!  This shelf in the kitchen is my saving grace for basically any interior decorating.  Obviously you can tell that I’m not super great at interior design, but I do love decorating (especially for the different seasons!) so having this shelf to have an little extra “homey” touch just makes my heart happy.  Even though it does end up collecting more junk throughout the week than I’d like… *cough cough* looks at Scott
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Let’s talk about my kitchen cabinets for a minute… So, I don’t remember if we had an original plan for the kitchen cabinets or what the original plan might have been (I knew that whatever I did I definitely wanted white cabinets), but I was looking on craigslist for other stuff for the bus and found someone who was ripping out their old kitchen cabinets and wanted to get rid of them for cheap!  These cabinets were definitely not white when I got them, so I spent many many hours prepping and painting these things.  We took all of these cabinet pieces and put them together in a way that by some miracle perfectly fit in the space we had allotted for the kitchen!  We were able to make a box to go around the refrigerator that matched and then my dad made custom cabinets for our uppers that go along the ceiling.

 

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If you haven’t noticed yet, I LOVE IKEA!!!!!!!!!!!!  Pretty much everything in our bus is either custom made, or IKEA.  Our curtain rods and curtains throughout the house are IKEA as well as this sink.  More than half of the IKEA things we have on the bus we were able to find in the As-Is section too so they were 50% off!  SCORE!

Fun little story: I got this wooden “M” from Harp Design Co. when I visited Waco, TX with my mom several months ago.  I love Fixer Upper so much and I was so excited to have this little piece that Joanna would approve of in my home!  So, I posted the above picture on my Instagram a couple weeks ago and guess who reposted it?!?! HARP DESIGN CO!!  I was so surprised and felt so honored (I might have even let out a tear of happiness) that they took the time to notice me.  It really made my day 🙂

 

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Okay, so back to talking about my stovetop for an hour… Just kidding!  I won’t talk for a whole hour 🙂  But seriously, having an induction cooktop with kids is amazing.  Carter loves to be a part of everything and not having to worry about him catching fire or seriously burning himself while helping in the kitchen is such a huge relief!  This cooktop gets two thumbs up from this mom!

 

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And lastly (I think?) the washing machine.  I had to have a washing machine in my home.  I know this isn’t a priority for everyone—more power to you if it’s not—but I really pushed for a BIG washing machine.  Okay, okay, it’s a normal size washing machine for a normal size home, but for a tiny living space it is quite big!  It took us a long time to figure out what we were going to do for the washer and how we were going to make it work, but we found this preloved machine on craigslist and after checking it out in person I just knew it would be perfect!  We chose a front loader so it wouldn’t take away from our counter space and this particular Whirlpool duet series is awesome because they are a bit more compact than a regular machine without compromising the load capabilities.  I hang dry the clothes when weather permits, or I take the clothes to a laundromat to dry them and this method works great for us!

Ha, my bad.. The kitchen table is the LAST thing!  Right next to the washing machine is the kitchen table.  It’s an IKEA find that totally saved us and we love it!  We put it on sliders so when we want it out, we just pull it out and slide it in between the couches, lift the sides up and VOILÁ we have a 5ft long table with bench seating.

So that’s my kitchen!  Well, it’s what I thought to write about.  It’s hard for me to think of the unique things we do in our space or how we survive living tiny because its what we do every day so it’s normal for me!  If I left anything out let me know and I’d be happy to get back to you!

Don’t forget to check out the other BUS TOUR posts if you haven’t already!

The Master Bedroom

Carter’s Playroom

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Yesterday it was raining all day, so we were staying dry and cool inside the bus; spending a lot of time in Carter’s playroom with his toys, books, and markers.  For our tiny living space, Carter’s playroom might not seem that big or have many toys.  BUT for us it’s almost 1/3 of our bus!  Now that’s a big space!

Since our space is small, we try to limit our storage of toys and books.  It has been great for us to have 1 bin of misc toys, 1 bin of musical instruments, 1 bin of blocks, and 1 bin for his train set.  He also has 3 small shelves overflowing with books and a cubby each for paper/craft materials and play-dough supplies.  Now that I’m writing it all out I think he might just have too much stuff haha!

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We love the amount of things that he has and we love that we are constantly recycling things.  If we notice he’s not playing with certain toys or reading certain books then we put them away and bring them out again a few weeks later.  We are donating old books and getting new ones every few months (we read lots of books so we want to keep them interesting!), and we’ll start to do that with toys when we feel we need to.

Having his space like this has made it easy for him to be in charge of because he’s able to help with clean-up without getting overwhelmed.  He is in that stage of wanting to do things all “my byself” so this is a perfect size for him to be confident in doing so.  He’s also very aware that his floor space isn’t big enough for all of his toys at once, so if he’s done with one toy and wants another, he puts the first toy away before getting the other out.  It took a little reminding from me at first, but now he gets it and is happy to keep things organized and accessible.  I’ll be sharing more of this little space of his soon!

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