A couple days ago I posted a before and after picture of the bus’ interior, and asked how many differences you could spot.
Honestly, the post was a feeble attempt at keeping this blog updated while we’ve had little energy for such things these past few weeks as we’ve been tackling project after project in 110+ degree weather. To our surprise, the post has actually turned into a fun game – and we’ve been having a blast receiving lists of changes folks have spotted!
While we’ve been focused on projects all over the bus, this post will concentrate on just the changes visible in the interior shot.
Here is the answer key to the after picture:
The backstory: We have some longer term goals with the interior of the bus to convert it to being an ideal home office for two on wheels. Our grand vision is to eventually have a double desk facing the windows (where the dinette used to be, spanning all the way to the front passenger seat) – but we’re not quite ready to make final decisions on the design.
Our dear friends in Lake Havasu City includes Clint, who’s family owns Spencer’s Carpet & Tile. As Lake Havasu is a winter destination for many RVers, they are quite experienced with RV flooring. We had no doubt who we wanted doing our floors. However, doing the floors meant moving forward on other remodeling projects on the bus that we weren’t quite ready to commit to, or waiting on remodeling projects until we could pass through the area again (which any sane person would do in say.. winter).
So the current state of the interior of the bus is transitionary – making do with what we have so we could get the floors installed, while we still fine tune the eventual interior design we want to achieve. As you’ll see, a lot of the changes are rather fun temporary solutions that cost little to nothing to implement to quickly update the interior.
1 – Flooring
One of the most obvious changes is the new flooring in the bus, and this is what kept us an extra 2 weeks in Lake Havasu. Our vision is to bring back a bit of the classic passenger bus look, while creating a space that is both home and office. We want something that will bridge the retro 1960s to the future 2020s and beyond. Sort of a future vision as seen from a classic era.
And of course we want it durable, long lasting and uniquely us.
Clint sent us home with dozens of flooring samples. At first, we thought we’d want something lighter with perhaps a concrete or industrial feel. We knew for sure we didn’t want a manufactured material trying to look natural (ie. fake marble, stones, woods, etc. were off the table.. err.. floor for us). We also wanted something that would live up to being in motion, being exposed to extreme climates and having rolling chairs on it. We picked up this black commercial grade vinyl stuff with funky metal squiggles on it (Atomic from Karndean’s Michelangelo collection) on a whim before leaving Clint’s showroom- sure it was going to be too dark.
But it kept standing out to us (and our hosts in Lake Havasu), while all the lighter stuff just looked way too bright with the white headliner in the bus. Our only concern was how dark it was, especially at night without lights on.
Then Clint gave us the brilliant idea of playing around with the contrasting strips of the same material in off-white. And that brought us to simulating the original bus aisle for the length of the coach. We absolutely love it.. and ended up doing the white in the bathroom to give that room a separation of space.
The timing of the flooring materials arriving coincided with our trip to St. Louis to bring Kiki home. Clint so awesomely posted progress pictures of the floor preps to our Facebook wall so we could stay involved! We highly recommend Spencer’s Carpet & Tile should you ever find yourself in Lake Havasu and wanting new flooring in your RV (and no, they didn’t comp us anything to say that.. we truly are impressed!).
Other change on the floor:
- Heating vent removed. As the (not quite working) furnace was under the dinette that we wanted removed, and we’re contemplating going with a hydronics or catalytic heating system – we decided to remove all of the heating duct work and floor over the three vents throughout the coach. There’s less than 1 in 3 odds that we’d actually need them, and if we do – cutting holes into the vinyl is a lot easier than plugging it later. We have an electric space heater should there be a freak arctic freeze before we decide on the eventual heating system.
2 – Dinette to Work Space
We knew when we started looking at motorhomes that we’d be ripping out any dinette. The typical RV dinette just doesn’t fit our style of living. We hardly ever eat at a table, they’re not comfortable enough for sitting at a computer for a prolonged period of time, we don’t intend to sleep enough guests to need the extra convertible bed space and they take up a lot of room! So in our looking, we carefully investigated under the dinettes to make sure they could be ripped out without making system compromises (such as plumbing, etc). As said above, the furnace was under ours, but we’re contemplating changing to a different system anyway.
The dinette came out incredibly easy (I actually did it myself with a manual screw driver and a crow bar!). The only downside is that there was an integrated wine cabinet (kudos to those who guessed curio cabinet – close! ). As best we can tell, the folks who did this conversion back in 1989 used the bus to drive from Yuma, AZ to Napa, CA and were wine enthusiasts. We’ve kept the cabinet in the under bay for now, to see if we might be able to work it into our eventual design.
I decided to repurpose the dinette table to be our temporary workspace until we decide what to do about building a desk unit. We switched the mounting brackets to the wall under the mirror so that it takes up less space, but still leaves room for two if needed. To those who guessed new desk/workspace – *buzz*. Fooled you – just a re-purposed table (that works great!).
Incidentally, as the table’s surface was the same as the counters I was contemplating repainting, so I used it as my practice palette to decide our colors. I attempted to do it as artistically as I could, so that it would still be an attractive compliment to our interior for now.
I also painted the wall under the mirror once the dinette was removed, and Kiki’s food dishes now live under the table.
I’m quite pleased with the result!
Other changes in the workspace:
- Apple versus banana – Good eye to those who picked up that I had an apple in the first picture, and a banana in the second.
- Macbook Pro instead of iPad (we each have a MBP and an iPad).
3 – Kitchen Sprucing
It started with the most annoying sink ever. The one that came with the bus was 25″ wide, but a dual bowl. Problem? Neither of the bowls were wide enough to maneuver a plate around, never mind a pan. At first we thought we’d be able to get entirely new counters installed while in Lake Havasu, but the guy who came out to measure was lacking in personality and could offer us no guidance. We took that as a sign that the counters are probably best left to be replaced when we have our desk unit built.
The plan emerged from there to install a new sink ourselves – and while we’re at it, we might as well put in a new faucet and undersink water filtration system. Oh, and what the heck – let’s try repainting the counters to get rid of the horrid light pink/peach color they were.
I cleaned and sanded the existing laminate, a layer of extra-stick primer, rolled three layers of paint and then 3 layers of poly-urethane (with ample drying between coats). The repainting should be good enough until we tackle the desk rebuild and new countertops. The backsplash is currently just the primer – we’re actually thinking of playing around with metal treatment of some sort. We’re still noodling over that.
So, for about $400 in parts and a few hours of labor (thank you Wayne for your expertise in woodcutting to make a new hole for us.. and thank you Andrew for your plumbing assistance!) – we managed a complete kitchen sprucing up.
Other changes in the kitchen:
- Yup, the paper towel direction was a planted difference – good eye to the folks who caught that!
- Dish drainer – full of dishes drying, showing that we’re actually living in the bus!
- SodaStream Soda Maker – we love our fizzy water, and ordered in a soda machine to match the new kitchen. (*buzz* to those who guessed coffee maker).
- Metal scraps behind the oven – These are metal pieces that we’re playing around with integrating into the backsplash (not salt and pepper shakers)
- The light over the sink was on in the new picture, where it was off in the old (no new lighting has been installed in the bus yet).
4 – Kitchen/Living Room Wall
On the kitchen cabinet wall, over the couch – we have installed a Acu-Rite weather station and clock. (Nope, not a picture frame).
The other major change that not many people picked up on was that we removed the glass splash guard next to the stovetop. And this allows the covered stovetop to be used as surface space when sitting on the couch.
We plan to eventually have some sort of counter extender that flips up when needed that will serve to protect the couch when I’m cooking messy.
5 – The Couch
Kudos to everyone for noticing Kiki has taken up residence on the couch! I don’t think anyone missed that one. And she is indeed a major part of the household changes that occurred last week. So far, she seems to love the bus and all of the room. And she wasn’t at all surprised yesterday when she discovered this house moves.
A lot of folks noticed that that the couch position was different in the pictures. The couch does slide out to create a single bed. And it does have storage space below (it’s been there all along, just wasn’t visible in the original picture with the couch slid partially out). We had originally thought we’d rip out the couch too, but we’ve since decided we really like it and will eventually re-cover it. But so far, nothing has been done to it but added a cat.
And yup, I reversed the pillows to see who would notice. 🙂
6 -Blinds and Awnings
A lot of folks noticed the various positioning of the blinds in the two pictures. Some may remember us commenting on Facebook how we hate mini blinds, and they’d be the first thing we rip out on any bus we got (they’re annoying to operate and then don’t really provide ample privacy). Well, this bus came with mini blinds.
And guess what? We’re actually like these. They’re unlike any we’ve seen before and when closed create a solid pleated shade – providing actual privacy! So while annoying to operate like any mini blind, they do actually serve their function. Based on the receipts we found for them, they’re called ‘Tiffany blinds’ – I’ve not been able to find much out about them.
But what no one has noticed in the two pictures is that we have the awnings deployed in the new picture! There are three small awnings, and one large one. Aside from needing to replace some pull handles and plastic hardware on them to get them operational, they’re in incredibly great shape (which has been the story on the rest of the bus).
7 – Laptop Desk
So, we ordered a MaxxFan vent fan, and the box was sitting in our living room awaiting installation. I started using it while seated at the couch to put my laptop on. Wow, it’s actually the right size and height.
So guess what I did?
A can of spray paint, and viola – a temporary laptop desk!
I’m amused by how many folks guessed it was a filing cabinet or called it a ‘nice’ piece of furniture. *giggle*
8 – Lamp Shade
So many people guessed that we have a new lamp shade, or that the light was off in the picture. Wrong.
After the answer above, can you guess what really happened here?
Yup, I’m spray paint crazy!
We do plan to replace the light fixture in general, and had trouble finding suitable & affordable lamp shades with a harp (non-harped aren’t stable enough for while in motion). So, this is a temporary fix to have them match the evolving interior better.
9 – Bedroom Changes
A few folks noticed that we had the pillows arranged differently – good job.
But no one noticed:
- The bed is 4″ higher. We originally thought we’d go and get a high end memory foam mattress as soon as we found our bus. But the mattress that came with this one was actually quite pleasant. We ended up doing exactly what we did in our Oliver – ordered a memory foam topper. It’s heaven.
- The 13″ tube TV is gone. You can see it in the closet mirrored door reflection. Subtle. 🙂 Kiki has actually taken over this cubby hole as her own.
10 – Ceiling & Lighting
Yes, we had different lights on in the two photos – but no light fixtures have been changed out. Kudos to those who did notice that we removed the dorky glass globes on the fixture over the dinette. It’s a 12v fixture, and we will be replacing it with something snazzier (maybe LED tract lighting over the desk?).
The other major change is the change out of the air vent fan. The one that was in there was ugly, huge and non-functioning. We decided on a MaxxFan 7000k, which is extremely low profile and stands the best odds of being able to be hacked into with an iPad app we might eventually develop as a home automation system. For those who were following along on Facebook about our whole ordeal around getting this fan – all ended well. MaxxAir is an amazing company to work with, and they shipped the correct unit direct to us at an incredible price after the original vendor we ordered from gave us major headaches.
Wayne and Chris spent an afternoon on top of the roof of the bus installing the fan, as well as giving the front A/C a thorough cleaning. Chris also did some body work on some minor rust on the steel part of roof. And wouldn’t you know it? The day we have a hole in the roof is the only day while in Lake Havasu we had a brief rain shower!
11 – Other Differences
Not directly related to the remodel, but other differences between the pictures:
- I’m wearing a different dress
- My hair is down
- Chris’ head is peaking up from the entry way
Ok.. whew… I think that wraps it up! Keep in mind.. this is only a small portion of the projects we’ve been working on!
And the Winner Is…
This was an incredibly fun experience to involve you in our remodeling! Thank you to everyone who participated in the game – we smiled with every entry that came in (I’ve now approved all the entries so you can go back and see them all).
We offered a free copy of our State Lines eBook or the iPhone version to the winner.
We released the eBook a few months ago rather silently – life has just been too busy to do much else these days. It contains over 75 state laws and regulations that affect travelers in the USA, and is ideal for those without a Smartphone we support with the app version. (State Lines is also now out for WebOS and Windows Mobile. We did have someone working on the Android version, but it doesn’t seem to be coming together.)
Well, everyone who participated is a winner in our book.. and I suck at picking favorites.
If you took the time to spot the differences, please accept a copy of the eBook with our compliments. Simply click this link and download it. Use the code ‘Differences‘ to get your complimentary copy from us. If you’d prefer the iPhone version, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll send you a promo code.
If you didn’t participate and would like a copy of the eBook, use the code ’50off’ to receive a 50% discount off the eBook (just $4!).
Since today is my birthday, I’m feeling generous 🙂
Both of the codes will expire on August 10.
We re-located to Flagstaff, AZ yesterday to much cooler temperatures and great friends. The bus did *great* on the 200 mile, 7000 ft elevation gain. We’ll be here a couple weeks – if you’re in the area, give us a holler. We always love meeting up with folks.