Framing!

Okay so the fun part, framing! We want a garage area to store all of our extra goodies plus a place to house all the electrical brains of the bus. We used the window beams as a reference point to start the back wall. We used L brackets to attach the vertical pieces to the metal studs of the bus. After the wall was framed we started on the bed. We wanted the bed high enough to have a good amount of storage underneath. We decided to rough frame everything out in order to have access to run the wires for lighting and plugs. Once the bed was framed we installed the AC unit on the back wall. 

moving forward we started the bunks for the kids.  We decided to make them 6 ft long and 30 inches wide. The bunks make the windows useless so we decided to wall them up. We didn't want to do the sheet metal method so we decided to use 1/2 inch insulation against the glass. We painted the foam black on one side to make it look like dark tint from the outside. We used 1/4 inch plywood to pull it all together. The bunk support is bolted directly to the metal bus studs to make it nice and secure.

Continuing forward we framed the shower and the toilet. The right side of the bus where the emergency door is will be the shower. The idea is that we will have stairs on the outside coming into the shower room through the emergency door. So if the kids (or us) get muddy we can hose off in the shower before tromping through the rest of the bus. Instead of walling up the whole window we decided to do half windows. Same method as before with the insulation and plywood. The idea there is to be able to use the window for natural light and venting. In the last photo we put the fridge and stove in there for measurements. 

So we had to change our original plan on using the vintage RV stove. With what we wanted to do it would have sat to high and made cooking awkward. So instead we are going with a two burner drop in RV cook top. The fridge is a top loaded freezer that we are converting to a fridge. Chest fridge conversions are more efficient than traditional stand up fridges. Cold air sinks and hot air rises so in a traditional fridge a lot of  cold air is lost when someone (kids) open up the fridge every five minutes.  In a top loaded fridge a lot of that air stays in the fridge. Converting a freezer to a fridge also makes it an energy efficient choice for our needs. The compressor is designed as a freezer, to make things as cold as possible as quick as possible. Since we will be converting it to only cool down to the temp of a fridge and not freeze it will only turn on the compressor for a short amount of time cooling the fridge quickly. Others have tested this method out and measured only 200 watts of power consumption in a 24 hr period. 

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But we didn't want to lose counter top space so a friend of mine (Zak) mentioned that I should put it on rollers and make it a slide out. So for about $20 amazon sells appliance rollers. We slapped the rollers on build the fridge a nice little cart and voila a slide out fridge. We will clean it up later and make it look nice but for now the framing part is done. 

The kitchen cabinets turned out to be a challenge in the beginning. Home improvement stores had cabinets ranging from $600 to $2000 which was all out of our range. We went to salvage stores and craigslist but the prices were no better and most of them were cheap particle wood. So we came up with using a dresser.  We found this solid wood dresser at a thrift store for $60. Shawn gets all the credit here on the rehab as this was her project. Shawn sanded the entire dresser to its bare wood. She removed the top so we can put our beautiful butcher block counter top on it.  We will have to sacrifice two drawers for the sink and plumbing but I think its worth it. The drawers will have peg board installed on the inside and dowels in place to hold the dishes. For now its in place to get the measurements on the benches. 

To finish off the framing we built up the benches. The benches were pretty straight forward, its mainly building boxes. I used 3/4" plywood for the side walls to make it stable and then built the frame off that. The benches are bolted to the floor then to the side wall metal ribs of the bus to make a nice solid structure.