British Bus Becomes A Camper-Home

Categories: TinyHouse, Mobility

Nothing really worth doing is easy. We too have encountered several obstacles along the way, but we do not regret anything. Because? During our journey we tested our skills in the real world. Now we can take advantage of all this experience.

Silvia and Bob couple in life and in this incredible project to transform this London bus into their summer residence. (be sure to reach the end for a video glimpse of the glampsite)

But let's start from the beginning. After venturing into the construction of three wooden bungalows at the Ponte Barberino campsite in Bobbio in Val Trebbia, I began to get involved in that whirlwind of what was to be our next challenge, obviously bigger and more complicated: to make a permanent camper to build on a mechanical basis derived from an original vehicle intended for road circulation. The choice of the right vehicle starts from the search for a bus for sale, and the first option falls on an old model of the Milan transport company, but soon the idea is abandoned as these vehicles cannot be sold to private individuals. 

The web, as always in everyone's life, helps me in finding an alternative solution, helping me to find an incredible and very rare (in Italy) double-decker London bus, whose mobile life ended who knows how in the province of Caserta and moreover in the hands of a private individual who urgently needs to sell it. A short negotiation, and the battered bus, fortunately not rusty since it is built of aluminum, becomes our property. 

The emotion reaches adrenaline levels, but then the rationality has imposed a serious reflection on how to transport to the final destination a "beast" 4.50 meters high and 8 long. The solution was to dismantle the wheels and brakes to the axles as to not exceed the mandatory height limit for traveling on the road, this only after finding a conveyor capable of handling such an exceptional load, and perhaps the most complicated part of the entire project: 


In autumn 2018 the bus then arrives at its final landing spot and restoration works begin; an enormous effort, which involves the whole family (Roberto, Silvia, Martina and Mayla) plus a friend, Claudio A. all pretty much camping for a year, every weekend: 

After building a canopy to protect it from the weather, the actual restoration of the bus interior begins. Once the base has been stabilized with a concrete slab that acts as a

foundation and on which a laminate floor has been placed, we start by removing all the old and worn interior coverings, replacing them with others in polyurethane and fir wood, modern and technological. Regarding the "layout, " since we are almost talking about a camper, albeit a special one - the upper floor has been used as a sleeping area, with two bedrooms (one double and one twin for girls) plus a full bathroom; 

the "ground floor" furthermore houses the large kitchen and a large living room, in addition to the outdoor patio which acts as a terrace for dining out in a prefect

relaxation and with comfortable spaces. The technical services have foreseen the construction of a heating system equipped with electric convector heaters, while the furnishings have massively resorted to Ikea's proposals, which go well with the project. The final total expenditure, including the external painting, obviously in red, given by roller to give a vintage effect, stopped shortly before the 18,000 euro mark; to which would be added the countless hours of work that have obviously not been counted, because when passion calls, labor becomes a negligible element compared to the beautiful final result you see in these pages. 

The result was so appreciated that the campsite has become the destination of a small pilgrimage of curious people to see the beautiful work. Roberto and Silvia not only accepted willingly to act as a guide to the public but, proud of what had been accomplished, we paid homage to visitors with an original bus ticket from the time when it was in service on the streets of London. Now, with its original plate and table (n. 148, Notting Hill destination) on display, the bus is the "lookout" of the Ponte Barberino campsite, where it can be admired as soon as the structure reopens this spring after the usual winter closing.

More details can be found on their facebook page or web site home page.  Something so simple as a story about such a place has required years of planning, hard work, and photography to bring it all together for the world to peruse.  I hope you enjoy the hard work of their hands. 



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