By Josie Adnitt
THIS BRITISH man spent almost £10,000 turning an old bus without an engine into a sustainable tiny home so he could save for a house – and he’s saved £2,000 in just two months.
Landscape Architect and farmer Luke Whitaker (37) from Gloucestershire, UK, had just moved back to his home town to live with his parents and save money for a deposit on a house when the coronavirus lockdown hit the UK.
While his parents were happy for him to move back to the farm they owned and for Luke to provide a helping hand around the place, his father was very concerned about the potential impact of covid-19 if it entered their house.
They decided they needed a safer living solution and so Luke and his father Joe Whitaker (63), found a BMC Falcon 2001 bus in a bus breakers yard in Hereford that cost him £1,300.
Living in the bus allowed Luke to continue working and save money for a house of his own, as well as keeping him and his family socially distanced as covid-19 swept across the world.
As the bus had a seized engine, there was never any question of driving it anywhere. However, it didn’t leak and the structural elements were solid which made it a great base for a quirky homestead on the farm.
Luke spent £8,500 on completely stripping and redecorating the interior of the vehicle, learning conversion and DIY skills from YouTube along the way.
Having lived in the bus for two months now, Luke has been able to save £2,000 – working out as triple what we could save when he was renting.
Halfway through the build, Luke met media producer Nikisha McIntosh (33) on Bumble and the two hit it off, even using the bus as a second date spot as a result of the pubs being closed.
Nikisha got involved in the final stages of the conversion by choosing the soft furnishings and now stays with Luke in the bus at weekends.
“I decided to buy the bus in the first lockdown,” said Luke.
“It was about saving money to get onto the property ladder. I had just moved back to my parent’s house to help save money to buy my own house when lockdown happened and I decided to buy the bus.
“My father was very worried about coronavirus and decided we needed a safer living solution that would allow me to keep saving money and go to work without the risk of bringing the virus into the family home.
“We found the bus at a bus breakers yard. The engine was totally seized so it didn’t drive, but it was completely watertight and structurally sound.
“It seemed like a great idea to turn it into a sustainable tiny home.
“It also meant I could stay on the farm, so it meant I could also have a day-to-day presence on the farm which made it easier on my parents too.
“The bus is very small but as it’s out in nature, I never feel like I need more space.”
The couple says the best thing about living on the bus is the outdoor space, being on the farm, and the connection to nature – as well as cleaning the house only taking five minutes owing to the small size.
However, it does come with some downsides including the lack of storage space which meant Luke had to reduce what he owned by a considerable amount and the lack of a washing machine meaning trips back into the family home.
“I’ve loved learning all the really useful DIY skills,” continued Luke.
“So far, we’ve had to strip the seats and heaters out, put in a new floor, insulate and panel the sides, build the bedroom area and fit the kitchen.
“The hardest part was fitting the chimney. I watched loads of YouTube videos first – it was scary making the first cut as if I’d got it wrong we would have been left with a huge hole in the roof.
“I think to help pay for some of the costs we’re planning to Airbnb the bus exclusively for August and afterwards return it to a farm living space.
“Nikisha loves the bus and finds it a lovely and relaxing place to stay.
“Most people I tell absolutely love the bus and friends ask if they can stay in it.
“It’s had an amazing reaction from friends and on social media with loads of shares from tiny home and bus living Instagram accounts. It’s been really quite overwhelming.
“It’s amazing to see an idea come to reality. I still can’t quite believe we did it.”
For more information, see www.mediadrumworld.com.