Home Work


Since day one, we’ve been talking and daydreaming about outbuildings on the farm—a barn to replace our pile-of-barn (or POB as a friend recently called it), a workshop for Ben so he can move off the back deck and into a space not open to the driving snow, a chicken house, animal sheds (the type of animal seems to vary by the day). We’re dreaming out loud about all of it.

But one thing that we’ve always imagined is a home office for me. A writing studio of sorts—a place for me to get out of the house and its many distractions—dishes to wash, laundry to fold, floors to sweep—and be inspired for creative work.

We decided that instead of building something, we could remodel an old camper of some sort into my office space. For months and months we’ve been trolling Craig’sList for pull-behind campers, motor homes, Airstreams…anything that might offer some living space on wheels. Although, the wheels aren’t important—my office won’t be mobile, but rather parked in the back yard.

A couple of weeks ago we found this 1984 school bus on Craig’sList. It was the right price, the right size, and the right amount of “camper.” The previous owner already removed all the bench seats, wired the bus with 110-volt plugs, added a roof AC unit, and a roll-out awning on the door side. Sold!

We haven’t started working on the bus renovation yet, but here’s a peek into at my design plan.

IMG_4938Behind the driver’s seat, the bus’s interior is just a wide-open, window-lined box—a perfect place to set up a daybed as a sofa for lounging/writing/cuddling with a laptop, a bistro table and a couple of chairs for meeting and collaborating, and low file cabinets and bookcases for storage of my many, many magazines and the necessary paperwork. The metal floor will be covered with something soft and warm—we’re discussing cork flooring or carpet squares (because the pantry/laundry flooring is awesome).

The stuff you see in the photo above is mostly a mystery…we aren’t sure why all of this stuff came with the purchase, or exactly what it all is. But the couple of included-with-purchase items I do love are the OSB boxes built to cover the wheel wells. I’m wondering if these should become window seats with cushions and pillows, or places for storage. Maybe one of each!

IMG_4950The former owner who transformed the interior also added mini blinds. To every single window. Really. Hand me a screwdriver? I’ve got some mini blind removing to do!

IMG_4939Looking toward the front of the bus (where Milly is checking things out), you see more stuff—a floor lamp (why?), and a small electric heater made to look like a wood stove—and the untouched driver’s area, complete with seat, huge rearview mirror, fans, dashboard with all kinds of switches and gauges, and the door-opening mechanism and handle. This is my favorite part! It is so similar to the bus I rode to and from school as a kid!








IMG_4948We are brainstorming ideas about how to build a desk over or in place of the dashboard. I want a desk with a view and would love to have my desk chair look out over the farm’s garden through the huge windshield! No matter what we decide on the desk, I want to keep and celebrate the fun gauges and bus-ness. The door and stairway are non-negotiable. Those will remain as-is and functioning.

IMG_4928The outside of the bus is in need of a makeover, too. I am seriously considering a DIY paint job for the exterior. But I don’t want to lose the super cool labels like the ones below.




IMG_4953Although we won’t be able to start the real work on my new home office until after the garden is planted (priorities!), I’m super excited to keep dreaming and planning about all this first outbuilding can be! And I can’t wait for my first day of work!

4 thoughts on “Home Work

  1. what fun! it reminds me a bit of a gypsy wagon, with that roof line. I am sure you will have loads of fun googling bus makeovers…so may options with a project like this. And as fro a paint job – don’t forget the Partridge Family’s bus. 🙂

  2. Looks cool – Chet from the Gun Dog Club bought one converted it to a “rough it ” camper for fishing and hunting trips. He suggests using LED lighting – he used rope lights and he says they work great, they have a much smaller draw on limited power supply. Happy dreaming.

  3. Pingback: Second Floor Updates | Cockamamy Farm

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