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29 de enero de 2013

[Un hogar sobre ruedas] Rosie 1978 Bluebird Bus

Creamos un nuevo apartado en nuestro blog que mostrará cómo se las ingenia la gente para vivir sobre ruedas.

Más allá de nuestras fronteras, dónde los monstruos de la ITV no acechan año tras año para ponernos las cosas difíciles, podemos encontrar muchas de estas furgonetas, autobuses, autocaravanas... dónde las familias viven cómoda y apaciblemente en un auténtico hogar sobre ruedas.

Rosie 1978 Bluebird Bus
By Nancy Flores - www.statesman.com
 

Like most newlyweds, Mike and Natalie Young are navigating their new life together as a couple — figuring out details like how to agree on decorating styles and making sure piles of clothes don't end up everywhere. But unlike most newlyweds, they are learning how to do all this living in a roughly 300-square-foot school bus.

They call the bus "Rosie," and when they climb aboard the 1978 Bluebird, they're home. Its drab school days have been left behind as the couple has renovated it into a cozy and contemporary space with an Austin feel.

Converting the school bus into their first home together was a conscious choice for the Youngs, not a sacrifice, Mike Young said. It wasn't their lifelong dream to live on a school bus, either. But with Mike Young's love of living light and Natalie Young's appreciation for alternative living styles, the choice made perfect sense for the couple.

"Rosie" has an open-concept floor plan with one room flowing into the other. There's a small kitchen with a propane stove, vinyl flooring that resembles hardwood, and a bedroom and living area. It's still fully operational, but the Youngs park the school bus on a friend's North Austin backyard and drive their car for transportation. The bus gets electricity and water from hookups to the house and its shed.

Making their new life on "Rosie" a reality came with a little help from friends and family. The Youngs created a school bus wedding registry, where folks could pitch in to get them everything from the interlocking floating floor they installed to a portable air-conditioning unit.



They decided early on that the bus would not serve as a recreational vehicle. And it was definitely not going to look like one, either. The newlyweds meshed their home décor tastes by painting the interior a pale gray, giving the bus a modern feel while adding more colorful and bohemian-style accents like pillows and ottomans. Thanks to the previous owner, who used the bus as an office and studio space, all the seats are gone. The Youngs liked the idea of having all those school bus windows provide an open and airy feel. Mike Young credits Natalie Young's eye for design for making the space not only livable but pleasant.

Before actively searching for a suitable bus, the couple discussed the logistics at length. They also priced apartment rentals before deciding that buying a bus made the most financial sense for them. Natalie Young called school districts to inquire about buses for sale. Eventually, they found "Rosie" on Craigslist for about $3,000.

Just like any other home, "Rosie" has become a gathering place for family and friends, which is exactly the kind of space the Youngs had hoped to create. They hosted a Thanksgiving dinner, and have big parties with friends and family.

"They all come to hang out, sit in our little space, drink chai tea, drink beer and eat some food," Mike Young said. "We can cook full meals and people migrate between inside the bus, the backyard and the campfire. We've been blessed with this space and the chance to exercise this experiment."

But they have also had to deal with all the challenges of living on a bus, especially during the scorching temperatures this past summer. "We're basically in a metal box," Natalie Young said. "And, honestly, between the hours of 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. we weren't able to live in here comfortably even with the AC. We burned out one, it was so hot." The couple got around that with their busy schedules. Mike Young works full time with a solar electric installation company, and Natalie Young is a full-time nursing student.

With lower temperatures now cooling Austin, the Youngs have come up with a creative heating solution. They purchased a large thermal fabric to create room divisions and trap heat. Heavy-duty magnets sewn to the top of the fabric help it stick to the bus ceiling. And a small space heater helps, too.


"I think one of our favorite things going into it was the opportunity to be creative with the space and our living situation," Mike Young said.

Their creativity and personal styles are showcased throughout their converted home, where they get their point-of-view across in a small space. Artwork decorates the foyer (where a bus driver would sit). Flowers, candles and houseplants warm the feel of the space. Taking advantage of the fact that their home is metal, they use magnetic strips that stick to the walls to hold kitchen knives as well as small magnetic containers filled with spices. Wooden bookshelves and narrow wooden tables hold photos, books and table lamps.

"One of the rules of backpacking is you get the smallest backpack you can because if you get a bigger one you're going to fill it," Mike Young said. "It's the same idea with a house. So we choose the few things that have the most impact, that mean the most to us."

Like any small living space, cleaning up is key.

"We both struggle with putting things where they go," Natalie Young said. "It's easy to find space to dump stuff on. I think every home has that." Mike Young adds that his wife reminds him when he starts putting stuff everywhere that the size of their living room is the size of someone's entry way.

"I have to go back and pick it up," he said. "But it doesn't take long."

When people hear about their life on "Rosie," they usually tell them it's nice the couple can do this while they are still young. But Mike Young and Natalie Young don't see it as a phase or just something to experience.

"I mean, I would raise children in here," Natalie Young said. "Of course, we'd need a better heat solution, but those things can be done. It's funny to see people's responses and have them see us as crazy kids. In reality, it's just an extension of how we've already lived and how we want to continue to live."

The Youngs plan to move to Washington state later this year, and "Rosie" is coming with them. The couple hopes to continue renovating the home and keep chronicling their adventures on their blog Hike with Mike Young Y Nat. "Rosie" might soon get upgrades like a speaker system, insulation, claw-foot tub and a toilet. The couple currently uses the rest room in the neighboring house.

The Youngs do have interest in other living situations for the future. They've thought about living on a sailboat or using the school bus as a guest bedroom or office space if they ever purchase a house. But for now, the Youngs are happy living aboard "Rosie."

"Unfortunately, I do get attached to vehicles, so I think we do have to figure out what to do with it for about the next 30 years," Mike Young said.

Natalie Young smiled and added, "And I'd be OK with that. She's a good bus."

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