Gypsy Grande!

☆ October 27, 2011


The man on whose property this old bus sits said to me, “You haul it off my land, it’s yours.”


When I was revamping my gypsy trailer, I though how awesome it would be to have, instead of a house, a conglomeration of trailers, each one a “room.”  The kitchen/dining trailer.  The livingroom trailer.  The boudoir trailer.  All joined with little pathways.  The bathhouse trailer would be a sheep wagon, the interior all whites and dovey blue-grays with a tiny woodstove and a huge clawfoot tub.

This schoolbus I see transformed with lots of heavy, dark, burnished wood and a huge leather sofa, a nice place to stretch out with a good man and a good movie on these October nights.

Can you get over that DOOR????!?


55 Responses to “Gypsy Grande!”

  1. Karla
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    If you can dream it, I’m sure you can make it happen.

  2. Laura Oliver
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:13 am

    WOW – Looks like the old bus needs a lot of work but if anyone can transform it into living space you can.

  3. Maddy
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:17 am

    Go for it. That is sooo exciting!

  4. Amber
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    Love this idea! With the right tools you could put in a skylight or two and position the couch/bed underneath to stare at the stars. The winter sky seen from rural Wyoming is something to behold, as I’m sure you know!

  5. meener moo
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:20 am

    do eet. !

  6. Rogier
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:31 am

    You will melt in the Summer and Freeze in the winter……

  7. Sarah L.
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:32 am

    Ditto meener moo – DO EET! I can’t wait to see the results! (And I know you haven’t decided yet, but COME ON! This is right up your alley!)

  8. Donna
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    love the door! I agree with everyone, you can do it.

  9. Daphne Pope
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:39 am

    Cool. Love the door. Antler handle would look good on it! But bus may not hold its integrity very long.
    Reminds me of my old Ford Econoline. The floorboards around the pedals rusted right through from New England salted winters. I could see the street whizzing by under me until a very kind autobody shop owner welded in a sheet of metal for free when the van was in for door repair. I’ve always wanted to do a fleet of retired railroad boxcars, in a rectangle with a pet-safe courtyard in the middle, with tub in courtyard garden of course. Maybe rooftop veggardens. I think the biggest expense is transporting them to your property. I think here zoning laws would be a problem…great to see another Shreve original post! ~d

  10. Isabel
    October 27th, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    my husband and I are planning to do the same thing but with tiny houses. Easy to build, easy to move!

  11. Nathalie
    October 27th, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    It would be so much fun to do the trailer house…just to do it!

  12. Nathalie
    October 27th, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    It would be so much fun to do the trailer house…just to do it!

  13. Pat D.
    October 27th, 2011 @ 10:21 am

    Interesting idea. Good luck with it.

    I wonder what kind of TV reception the ‘bus will get?

  14. goddess
    October 27th, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Only if you paint the outside with flowers.

  15. One Girl Trucking
    October 27th, 2011 @ 11:36 am

    I know your busy, but I think you really NEED this bus! We all will be here waiting to see just what you dream up for it!

  16. Jackie
    October 27th, 2011 @ 11:57 am

    I know people who live that way, but not in climates as harsh as yours. That bus might make a great summer house, though, if it isn’t rusted beyond use.

  17. Patr
    October 27th, 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    The first thing that popped into my head is that silly song “The Wheels on the BUS go ROUND AND ROUND”

    now it is stuck there. Thanks Shreve!!!!

    Love the idea and can’t wait to see photos…

  18. Juli
    October 27th, 2011 @ 12:14 pm

    My cousin owns a farm in western Idaho, where she raises Arabian horses (and grows lots of hat to feed them!). Her closest neighbor raises chickens, and at night, “the girls” roost in an old school bus like this that’s been converted into their digs. Great photo!

  19. ALYESKA2
    October 27th, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

    Have you considered if it leaks when it rains, or snow melting, dripping from the ceiling? Just a few random thoughts! The door is awesome! :o)

  20. Sue
    October 27th, 2011 @ 1:15 pm

    Love the door! I also think you should keep an eye out for a railcar. I’ve always thought a caboose would make the greatest bedroom.

  21. Rebecca
    October 27th, 2011 @ 1:45 pm

    Absolutely do it. Woodstove and a little insulation will keep it toasy. Wyoming summer nites are cool, right? You could possibly put a roof top garden…deer could not reach that! BTW Where is your helper Sarah? If you need an extra hand I am available. (I applied last time)

  22. Beverly Murphy
    October 27th, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

    LOVE IT!
    i have seen web sites with converted shipping containers-they turn out looking amazing
    what a great project!

  23. Jane
    October 27th, 2011 @ 3:06 pm

    Have you seen the website or his blog He is living off the grid in west texas. He is working on a home made of shipping containers. It is way cool!

  24. Sue
    October 27th, 2011 @ 4:56 pm

    Paint the little pathways different colors so it looks like a giant Habitrail.

  25. Keith
    October 27th, 2011 @ 5:05 pm

    Check out a book called Rolling Homes by Jane Lidz (if you can find a copy-it came out quite a few years ago). Lots of cool ideas for bus/truck conversions- some looked pretty homey!

  26. Deanna
    October 27th, 2011 @ 5:07 pm

    Terrific idea! And with the right insulation, you won’t bake or freeze. Oh, the possibilities.

  27. Deanna
    October 27th, 2011 @ 5:43 pm

    And make your own shade. A pergola? A leanto tent? Dang. I wanna do this too.

  28. M. V.
    October 27th, 2011 @ 5:57 pm

    If the basic frame is solid, you could do all kinds of things with it.
    Perhaps the smaller members of the family would like it as their own personal space.
    Or perhaps as a veranda.
    How about a greenhouse? Though it probably doesn’t have enough windows for that.
    Put in a sun roof and use it as a spa??
    Guest quarters when ever your family or friends visit.
    Use it as a corridor between buildings.
    Photo and craft gallery and call it “Richardo Hall” in honour of your late farmily friend.
    The possibilities are endless.

  29. Claire
    October 27th, 2011 @ 6:46 pm

    If its got good bones the possibilities are endless. The door adds so much charm. It definitely should be some kind of retreat.

  30. shreve
    October 27th, 2011 @ 7:29 pm

    Jane ~ Yes! He’s rad. Have you seen his washing machine? (rigged with a stationary bike for power…)

  31. Jenny C
    October 27th, 2011 @ 7:43 pm

    Rogier… and your point is? Just teasing. She knows from Wyoming heat and cold. (I need a Bronx accent for that last comment, don’t I?) Living in the 1-room cabin in the dead of harsh Wyo winters w/woodstove heat, then off the grid this past summer… that’ll make a person sit up and take notice of heat and cold every time. Hehe.

    Just a thought, Shreve: I believe you mentioned that you used all recycled items from neighbors and friends when you built your current house over a year ago. You could expand the concept of “neighbors” to this blog and give us a list of what you need/like. We’d send it to you via one of our addresses, which would then be forwarded to you, or you could give us a P.O. Box. Think of the small treasures that would come your way: fabrics, knobs, wood, sketches, etc. Talk about fun blog photos! Maybe an insane idea and probably too risky and overwhelming, but the awesome comments here speak to the diverse, fiercely talented group of people who follow your blog. It would be fun to see what you could do with your creative discretion.

  32. david
    October 27th, 2011 @ 8:03 pm

    Hummmmm looks like the rust is pretty much everywhere.

  33. Sheryl
    October 27th, 2011 @ 8:47 pm

    Get a grip girl!

  34. GD
    October 28th, 2011 @ 4:34 am

    I am with Rogier and David. Looks like you would have to replace many of the windows etc. I don’t think you would be starting with good bones and the cost would not be worth it. Just say’n. Sorry.

  35. Scotty
    October 28th, 2011 @ 7:00 am

    i was thinking about how to go about it. maybe gut it first, some of the seat frames might be worth it to refurb for other uses. gut it really good maybe even the floor if you will be putting in a new one. then at least it’s light enough to work with and move to your place into position.

    then once it’s home i would say… cut the axles off and let it lay that way, then lay down insulate on the floor and make a new floor just above that. then you could move the good window glass to the best facade side and board up the crappy side.

    i envision it with some hinged windows like a split window v.w. although the funky door is cool i see you putting in a step up like a real bus to the new, slighty higher, floor. then shape a new funky wood door maybe with some piano hinges so it would fold back to open/close.

    i can also see a kind of taco stand concept where you build in a patio cover that hinge closes for the winter, and put in some round stools for having lunch w. cowboys and cowgirls. omg i never realized i was so into hinges.

  36. Rachel
    October 28th, 2011 @ 8:02 am

    Oh dear, my husband’s dream home. I’m holding out for a yurt.

  37. shreve
    October 28th, 2011 @ 8:03 am

    Scotty ~ yeaaaaah :) …. and lol on the hinges!

  38. Bruce
    October 28th, 2011 @ 9:52 am

    Every time I see an old bus like this….”Come on get happy!” (Partridge Family)

  39. Theresa Szpila
    October 28th, 2011 @ 10:05 am

    Oh, Shreve, I don’t see how you can pass up an opportunity like this. It would require an awful lot of work and probably more money than the bus is worth, but, oh, my, the possibilities are endless. A cozy couch, a cozy woodstove, a wall of bookshelves…oh, I could go on and on and on. If you do decide to go for it, please keep us posted on what you end up doing with it. For now, I’ll just have some nice daydreams about it.

  40. shreve
    October 28th, 2011 @ 10:37 am

    T ~ It IS a bus for daydreams :)

  41. PatH
    October 28th, 2011 @ 1:57 pm

    The possibilities are endless… In Joshua Tree Calif, there is a trailer motel park with themed trailer rooms! Its become quite popular with artists and returning tourists. links below.

    The Pioneer or Pony trailers would fit perfectly in Ten Sleep but you must add an old AirStream for effect, perhaps for fine dining or parties. Perhaps a trailer from each decade! Creative naming, Coyote Cabin, Eli’s Palace, Chloe’s Bunkhouse, Ricardo’s watering hole (RIP), Daisy’s Milkstop…I’m sure you will be more creative.

    My friends house in Joshua Tree was built during the 60’s during the bomb shelter era. They took a VW bus, sunk it into the earth in the back room below the floor, surrounded the frame with a concrete/adobe mix (but the steering wheel/axel is still there for effect. There is a trap door on top, and ladder inside. It is more ratproof than the rest of the house and now used to store items. You could store your winter jeans and t-shirts during the summer months or hide the surplus elf-bones from Charlie.

    Trailer motel links:

  42. Jenny C
    October 28th, 2011 @ 2:19 pm

    This link may actually have come from one of your Twitter posts, I’m not sure, but it looks about the size of a bus:
    Way cool for a Daydream Bus, eh?

    Wonder if building replacing the bus roof with a pitched roof like that would make it too hard to heat. Love Scotty’s ideas and, hey, never underestimate the value of a good hinge. :)

  43. hello haha narf
    October 28th, 2011 @ 2:26 pm

    holy free wholey, that is fantastic! can’t wait to see what you come up with.

    (just earlier this year i fantasized about the same thing, a bunch of trailers / busses / rv type things all strung together. love watching you have incredible experiences! thanks for sharing.)

  44. BethK
    October 28th, 2011 @ 7:52 pm

    My brother-in-law and his wife used three RVs to build their first home, and it was awesome! They had an entry space for shoes, coats, and storage, a main living space, and a sleeping space. It took a lot of work, but they loved it.

  45. Janet in Cambridge
    October 29th, 2011 @ 6:48 am

    It’s the bus or the book…Write the book, then fix the bus.

  46. Jake
    October 29th, 2011 @ 8:23 am

    If it’s structurally sound, there’s basically no limit to what you can do with a retired bus. I’ve seen hot tubs, gourmet-quality kitchens – really, no limit!

    Very exciting!

  47. Jackie
    October 29th, 2011 @ 11:03 pm

    Here’s what someone did with a bus

  48. Cindy
    October 30th, 2011 @ 10:05 am

    Boy, do you love to homestead! This is very exciting. There’s more than one way to live; there are all kinds of ways to live, and live well.

    I will not be surprised if you GO for it. In fact, you’ll probably build a whole Trailer Town. Love it.

    Also, it’s a good time to practice. Many of us may be living that way if the world keeps on the way it’s going.

  49. bonnie
    October 30th, 2011 @ 12:51 pm

    this looks like it take a LOT of time/energy to arrest it’s deterioration.
    sometimes you just need to allow things to return to the earth once they are on their way….

  50. rockrat
    October 30th, 2011 @ 2:01 pm

    Ventilation looks excellent, which raises the paralyzing suspicion this structure may have been used as a chicken-coop. Nevertheless, scrap steel is $300/ton.

  51. rockrat
    October 30th, 2011 @ 2:08 pm

    Chicken coop might be a harsh landing for all the dreams attached to this bus now. Was it a church bus before?

  52. Emily
    October 30th, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

    Shreve! Do it! I’ve always wanted to do this, too, with Yurts… :)

  53. Deborah
    November 1st, 2011 @ 6:23 am

    What a beauty!

  54. Lucky
    November 1st, 2011 @ 10:10 pm

    2 things popped in my head… the lyrics from Daytripper Sunday driver yeah and the bus in Into the Wild….but if you do pull off Scotty’s taco stand idea with round stools for lunch with cowboys I am first in line girlfriend I am polishing off my 80’s Frye boots now :)

  55. Angela
    November 4th, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

    I found this on the Curbly website, and thought of the above bus :-)

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