Planning the Bunks

October 2011 / Oct. 17, 2011 / by Gelb
Planning the Bunks

The one thing that everyone agrees on when they hop on board our bus: It has Character. Our 1984 International bus with a custom build inside is brimming with it. The cabinets, carpentry, original bus row numbers, and 1970s seat colors all fill you with a sense of adventure and excitement. At least, that's how it is for me. 

The bus isn't all finished, however, and we have begun to plan out exactly what we want to change. A few of us have gotten together and started to sketch out and think about the kinds of changes that will be taking place, and I wanted to give you an update.

The most stark changes that you will probably notice over the coming weeks and months will be the addition of the bunk beds in the back. Though at the moment, the bus could technically sleep five comfortably, that means that existing living space is converted into sleeping space, thereby taking away privacy and a sense of separation of spaces. Having living and sleeping space together might be fine for weekends away, but if we are planning on living on it for a year, anything we can do to try and provide some sense of privacy and personal, separate space helps to ensure that we would be able to live with and hopefully not kill, each other.


Just to give you some dimensions: The maximum interior height of the bus is 6ft, however the roof is curved to a point where the lowest part of the ceiling reaches just about 4ft 6in. That means that if one were having equal bunk heights, it would give about 3 ft at the largest point per person. The other thing to remember is that in the existing layout of the back of the bus, there exists two benches - both at the wrong height for bunk beds.


Our plan is this: One of the benches will be completely removed and a bunk bed will be placed in its place. While the head room won't be huge, there is extra width on that side, so the people who will be sleeping there will have access to considerably more storage space. Though a bit cramped, the planning for that side is relatively straight forward. The problems come when you look at the other side. The bench on the right side hides many electrical boxes and a crucial heater, and so cannot be removed or lowered. This presents a problem, because no second bunk would be able to be added. We are adapting by putting the fourth bed across the back wall, in front of the emergency exit. A pretty ingenious plan has been thought up by Jack Stein and Alan Gelb to make sure that access to the exit is still preserved, and the lost storage is made up for. 

In the coming weeks, we'll be going inside the development and construction of these beds, bringing you along the whole time. We will try our best to preserve the character, and be as comfortable as possible.