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Author Topic: Bus Layout - Need feedback  (Read 4814 times)
Seangie
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« on: October 05, 2012, 09:31:36 AM »

Hello Everyone!  Happy Friday -

We are finally making some headway and are starting to look at the layout for the front of the bus.  We have 2 different ideas that we like but are open to any suggestions.  We have 4 kids that we will be full-timing with.  We are planning on spending more of our time in campgrounds as opposed to boondocking so we estimate 50-60% of the kids time to be spent outdoors.  There may be periods of time when we have long hauls as my work may dictate where we end up.  We are battling between what will look nice vs. what is more functional. 

We have decided on 2 different designs -

Design A -

Design B -


We like design A because -
1. It looks "nicer" (more of a dining room feel)
2. There is slightly more storage in the kitchen (next to the dinette)
3. More storage overall with the dinette and extra space behind the driver
4. The dinette turns into a bed and offers an additional spot to sleep
5. Windows won't be blocked by recliners

We like design B because -
1. It offers (3) areas of seating in place of just (2)
2. The recliners offer a place to sit back and relax
3. More "elbow room" for us and the kids
4. More comfortable /roomier seating
5. Less cabinets for me to build Smiley
- We will lose about 6" of the front window behind the recliners.

So what do you all think?  Anyone have any experience fulltiming with kids?  Are we overthinking this? 

As always your words of wisdom are appreciated Smiley

thanks!

-Sean
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« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2012, 09:46:57 AM »

If you can find a way to turn the co pilot seat you will gain more seating.  Loose the washer. There is no way it will keep up with family laundry.  Use the area for a pantry.  If your bunks are only two high maybe you could add drawer space under the bottom bunks. You are going to need a lot of storage for a family,

Don and Cary
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« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2012, 10:29:35 AM »

You may have already done so, but if not, you may want to spend some time researching the concerns with seatbelt use when the passenger is facing the center rather than the front. These concerns may be more or less important with small bodies.

I'd prefer not to start a conversation on the subject, nor am I expressing an opinion thereon. Simply that any driver should be educated and informed and comfortable with his/her decision. If you already are, please forgive the intrusion, and I'll go back to lurking.
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« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2012, 11:40:55 AM »

I think B would provide more space for the kids to do things on rainy days.   I agree about the washer.  Most washers in your RV won't do much at any one time and with a family your size it would need to go all the time just to try to keep up.  It would be nice for doing a few things here and there but, overall I think the space would be much more valuable than the work that the washer would do. 

I don't think you would miss the window space except, maybe, when you are on the road.  Otherwise it is just going to be more space to have to cover with blinds or curtains.

We didn't have kids with us on the road but I can assure you that there is never enough storage no matter what you do.
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« Reply #4 on: October 05, 2012, 12:04:32 PM »

    I guess you can have one parent at each dinette to help 1/2 the children at each but would it be good to have the family together at the same table?  If your kids are beyond the stage of needing help at the table, maybe this won't apply.  Same thoughts from me on the washer - and even if it could keep up with the family needs, the water use would be very high.  If you remove the washer, you have storage room; it's kind of like you have two choices -- stop for a laundrette or to fill up with water and dump your grey tank. All things considered, I'd go without the washer (I did).

   Bruce H,  NC   USA
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« Reply #5 on: October 05, 2012, 12:12:50 PM »

Sean:

Looking good. I do not see a stove in your plan?

As far as planning on spending most of their time outside:

1. Are you home-schooling?  #2 would give more "desk" space. (I was home-schooled from grades 1-12, and tuned out super and humble as well!  Wink )

2. As was mentioned, if the weather is tollerable, kids like outside. When there is rain, snow, 100+ degree weather, they will be inside.

Don and Cary mentioned using space under bunks for storage. Here are some pictures of ours. (Just in case you have not been following our amazing and awesome Grin bus build here:

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=22081.0

We have 8 drawers under the bottom bunk. Each drawer is 18" wide, 7" high and 26" deep. So the bottom bunk is really a chest of drawers. Total length of bunk is 82" (longer than needed for most kids, but our son is what we call in Texas "full grown", at 6-foot 5 inches.)

Normal commercial RV bunks are only 28-30" wide. Our bottom one is 28-3/4", and top one 27". (Our bus is 1.5" narrower at the top than on the floor. Designed that way from factory.) Vertical space between bunks is 29-3/4". Framing for lower bunk is 1.5" square wood. Top bunk is steel.
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« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2012, 12:42:54 PM »

I disagree about the washer/dryer.  If you use a vented all in one, like the Splendide, you can do a load about every 1.5hrs.  It is very convenient to have incase you're at the beach, or camping away from a laundry to have you're own washer/dryer.  Granted it does take space and about 10gal per load to use, but-then you don't have to be using public washers and dryers-who knows what was in those washers before you.  If you choose not to do the washer/dryer, then have enough storage that everyone can have clothes for 10 days-that will be enough for a normal 7 day wash cycle plus a little left over.

Seating-should have enough seating for everyone when stopped. Have enough sleeping areas where you only have to convert the dinette for guests.  Good Luck, TomC
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« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2012, 01:30:48 PM »

We put hammocks up in our mci7.
We put eye loops where the mount for luggage rack was.  We hang the hammocks 3up tall at night (like a tripple bunk) and take them down to get the space back during the day .  We have 8 kids and this was the best way we could accomidate all of them. 

We have slept in hammocks long before this bus thing so it was normal for our kids.

http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/] [url]http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/[/url]
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« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2012, 01:38:40 PM »

We put hammocks up in our mci7.
We put eye loops where the mount for luggage rack was.  We hang the hammocks 3up tall at night (like a tripple bunk) and take them down to get the space back during the day .  We have 8 kids and this was the best way we could accomidate all of them. 

We have slept in hammocks long before this bus thing so it was normal for our kids.

[url]http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/]http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/] [url]http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/[/url]


     That's an interesting article on the health effects of hammocks.  Some things I didn't know, thanks for that.  Also, I couldn't get it off your post but it seems to work here:


http://www.treklightgear.com/treklife/sleeping-in-a-hammock-is-good-for-you/

     PS - I'm thinking a family of 8 children in a bus is brave ... but I'm also thinking that a family of 8 children is brave.  Good luck!
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Seangie
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2012, 02:03:58 PM »

Quote
If you can find a way to turn the co pilot seat you will gain more seating.  Loose the washer. There is no way it will keep up with family laundry.  Use the area for a pantry.  If your bunks are only two high maybe you could add drawer space under the bottom bunks. You are going to need a lot of storage for a family


Don and Cary - You think like we do...well, almost Smiley  The Co-Pilot seat is already in place and turns 180 degrees.  Bunks will be only 2 high and we are going to cram as much storage as we can into that area. 

Quote
I think B would provide more space for the kids to do things on rainy days...We didn't have kids with us on the road but I can assure you that there is never enough storage no matter what you do.

Cat - I agree on the more space for the kids.  The 3rd area of seating gives us enough space to "separate" the one turtle in the herd causing all the trouble.  As far as space goes, with our house more than half empty, we are quickly learning how much stuff we do....n't want/need to take with us.  It's painfully freeing.

Quote
If your kids are beyond the stage of needing help at the table, maybe this won't apply

Bruce - Our youngest is 5 now...so we should be good for now...at least we think so, but the extra space will be good to help them with schoolwork.

Quote
Looking good. I do not see a stove in your plan?

As far as planning on spending most of their time outside:

1. Are you home-schooling?  #2 would give more "desk" space. (I was home-schooled from grades 1-12, and tuned out super and humble as well!   )

2. As was mentioned, if the weather is tollerable, kids like outside. When there is rain, snow, 100+ degree weather, they will be inside.

Don and Cary mentioned using space under bunks for storage. Here are some pictures of ours. (Just in case you have not been following our amazing and awesome  bus build here:

http://www.busconversions.com/bbs/index.php?topic=22081.0

We have 8 drawers under the bottom bunk. Each drawer is 18" wide, 7" high and 26" deep. So the bottom bunk is really a chest of drawers. Total length of bunk is 82" (longer than needed for most kids, but our son is what we call in Texas "full grown", at 6-foot 5 inches.)

Normal commercial RV bunks are only 28-30" wide. Our bottom one is 28-3/4", and top one 27". (Our bus is 1.5" narrower at the top than on the floor. Designed that way from factory.) Vertical space between bunks is 29-3/4". Framing for lower bunk is 1.5" square wood. Top bunk is steel.


Steve - Stove top will be an induction cooktop that will stow away.  We will also have a convection microwave oven and our main source for cooking will be outside on a grill.   We are homeschooling...we have from birth and it's awesome to get confirmation that IT WORKS!!!   We have friends that will be opening a school in Mexico City.  So i am hoping to get to meet you someday.  My wife is pushing for a trip to Mexico and I would be delighted to see your bus.  I love the look and all the hard work you have put into it.

As far as the bunks - That is exactly our plan.  We will have 2 sets of bunks and 4 drawers under each bunk.
What is the height of your roof in the bus?  And what is the spacing between the top of the bottom bunk and the bottom of the top bunk? 
I think we are at 6'4" in the middle of our bus.  No roof raise.  Your son probably wouldn't fit Smiley

Quote
We put hammocks up in our mci7

Dave - that is awesome.  We have talked about doing this.  I think we will definitely have hammocks with us but will use them to sleep outside.  The only reason being is that our kids will want their "personal space" to go read a book or if we need someone to take a timeout, especially while driving.   I love that you have 8 kids.  That in itself is truly a blessing.

I think we are 90% on the B plan.  We laughed about going to the A plan when the kids have grown up and moved out of the Bus.

As far as the combo washer/dryer, I am with Tom C on this one.  There is no way that we could keep up with our laundry with the little combo washer/dryer but whenever we have been camping there is always that time when either there are not enough working machines or it is completely busy when must get a load of laundry done.
I am going to look at a brand new machine tomorrow for dirt cheap (vented combo model) and figured if it really doesn't work out it will be easier to sell later and turn to storage than decide we need a washer/dryer after the storage area is already built out.

One last thing is that our middle cabinet will pull out and give us a little more "prep" space in the kitchen if needed.  We took this picture below when we were looking at some RV models and thought we would use the idea for our Bus as well -

Thank you all for the feedback we are truly grateful.

-Sean
www.herdofturtles.org
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 04:26:37 PM »

I'll add a vote for "lose the washer" and embrace your inner laundry lover.  We used to think we wanted a washer dryer but no chance now.  Its great to take 3 bags of laundry and come home with everything dry and folded.  That happens about every other week for us now whether we're on the boat or in the bus. 
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« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2012, 05:05:54 PM »

Hi Sean, any chance of converting one of the bays to sleeping quarters or basement play room? it'll give them a space they could call their own. I know space in your suburban is limited, was just a thought. all the best! Van. Wink
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« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2012, 08:21:58 PM »

I would do a front facing kitchen myself,with 4 kids your wife needs a washer and dryer there was never but the 2 of us most the time but she had the washer drier no way she would use laundromat she felt the same about Motels
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« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 09:53:10 PM »

Hey Sean, we've been in our bus fulltiming for a year now. We have two kids 11 and 15. Originally we were going to have the washer but ditched it because storage was too important. People let us use their washers all the time. I did however build my storage cabinet in the bathroom so that I could install a washer in there if we decided we really had to have one. As we travel i find that the kids really don't hang out in the front much, they prefer to lay on their beds and read or watch movies. Our bed becomes a living room that they can both hang out on. We have seating for 8 in the front if we need it, we have a dinette we built, we love it for sharing meals or an extra bed plus we can play games around it. The longer we are in the bus the more things we are getting rid of, realizing we are carrying things in the luggage bays that we rarely use. Good luck. Craig
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« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 10:19:54 PM »

On the "while traveling" seating...

I spent a lot of time driving alone up front...

With a coach that has full stock windows, the other four in the family would be found lazing on some horizontal surface down the back someplace, enjoying the views.

Our style of operation was typically high miler to someplace, vacation style, so, as long as everyone was happy, nothing much else mattered.

As for laundry, to this day, with both parents working, in bricks and mortar living, with a set of machines in the basement, there are certain small victories in dragging the laundry to the laundromat and getting the whole @$^&#@$& job done at once!

There are no right answers, each busnut and the family must decide which compromises they will make for their coach.

Laundry machines, or not?

Sometimes, a tough decision.

happy coaching!
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