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Big Sky Bus on 8 Acre Homestead!


Meet Clint and Erika and their dog Pete (short for Pizza). They jumped on the tiny bandwagon slowly, planning meticulously for their life on the road in a bus. But somewhere between the start of their journey and now, they ended up three hours from home on 8 acres of their own land south of Austin, Texas, where they have a hobby farm and live in their awesome Big Sky Bus!

Clint’s a professional skydiver, while Erika works as an interior designer. You can see her influence in their bright and exciting bus, where you’ll find lime green walls, bright blue tiles, and a kitchen blacksplash made out of 3,500 legos! Clint took a year off of skydiving to build out the bus with the help of some professionals for the electrical and plumbing work (always wise).

We got to interview this super cool couple, which you can read below the photo tour! You don’t want to miss it.

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Farm Life on 8 Acres Living in a Skoolie Conversion!

Before and afters are a great way to see how much work goes into these conversions.

Here’s the happy family!

Here’s where they started…That insulation is making me itch!

And this is what it looks like now! Wow.

I love the extra counter they can add or remove as needed.

That backsplash is made of Legos!

I love this kitchen area, especially the counter tops.

The back of the bus has their awesome bedroom.

The curtains help close it off when necessary.

Look at the tilework in their wet bath!

You can see the shower in the mirror reflection.

The color of the bus is adorable!

Pete taking over the chickens’ water on their happy homestead.

Q&A with Clint & Erika: Bus Life on the Farm

—–

What are your name(s)?

Clint Moore and Erika Barczak

How many people (and animals) are living in your bus?

The two of us and our dog Pete (short for Pizza)

Where do you live right now?

On an 8-acre hobby farm we purchased earlier this year. It is just south of Austin, TX.

What do you do for work? Or do you travel full-time?

Clint is a professional skydiver and Erika is an Interior designer. Our initial plan was to travel, and we made it about 3 hours from our starting point. Life changes!

Why did you decide to go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of living tiny?

We initially decided to go tiny to enable us to simplify our lives and travel more easily. Neither of us wanted to live in a big city with lots of stuff we did not need, and the idea of traveling sounds so great. While may have only made it 3 hours down the road, we found a place where we are happy. We can park the bus on our farm land, grow our own food, and let Pete play guardian to our chickens.

Do you think you’ll live in a bus long-term?

We love living in our bus. We are currently working on creating a more permanent spot with a gorgeous view for it on our farm.

How did you first learn about tiny house life?

· Years before meeting Clint, Erika had two housemates that loved the idea of living in a tiny home. When they asked Erika if she ever thought she would live tiny, her response was ‘hell no.’
· Clint had simplified his life around the same time Erika was asked that question. He sold out of his business, got rid of his home and most of his things, and hit the road. During a short visit to Texas, he met Erika while skydiving. While dating, Erika saw how life could simple and fulfilling, and was in!

Tell us about the process of building out your bus? How long did it take?

The process started the day Clint asked Erika to marry him. She said “yes” but with one caveat – they figure out a way to simplify and go nomadic.
We spent a year researching different ways people paired town and lived tiny before deciding to convert a bus. Clint came across a converted bus and knew it was perfect way to create a completely custom home tailored to everything we would need, want, and look.
Then it took a year to find the right bus. We wanted a dog-nose less than 10 years old. We bought a 1977 Crown. It was love at first site. Practicality be damned.
We thought the conversion would take 4-6 months… and we were so so wrong! Overall, it took 18 months and we are really glad it did. We would have made so many mistakes if we had rushed through it in those few months. We learned so much along the way and were able to design and redesign things until they were perfect.

Did you do it all yourselves?

Not entirely. We didn’t want to mess up super important things like plumbing or electrical. Clint took a year off skydiving to convert the bus. What he didn’t do himself, he worked alongside a professional so he would know every square inch of it.

Are you comfortable sharing how much your bus cost?

It was a lot. The only thing separating us from a high-end RV are the slides.

What are bills/utilities like compared to before?

The solar helps tremendously. We don’t run our AC with it so electrical over the summer is a bit higher. During the winter – our electrical costs are almost zero. Our stove and hot water are propane and we use a tank every 3 months.

What are some of the challenges of bus life that you hadn’t anticipated?

Cleaning. Dog hair in 2000 square feet is much different than dog hair in 200 square feet. While cleaning is now more of an everyday chore, it doesn’t take very long.
Since we are more stationary than we thought we would be, we seem to accumulate more stuff and need to purge more often.
The bus is quite big. If we were to take time to travel – I think we would convert a van.

What’s your favorite part of living in a bus?

Being close to each other. We both really enjoy being around each other. During the process, people kept asking us “where will you go when you need space?” We don’t really have those moments. We love being so close to each other while we’re working, cooking, or relaxing.

What makes your bus special?

· We are both very quirky people and we wanted to create a space that was unique like us – vibrant, funky, and eclectic.
· Our countertops are reclaimed barn wood from Michigan (a nod to Erika’s home state). We have a flip-up extension that creates a fantastic U-shape for a better cooking/baking space.
· Friends helped us source 3500 black and white Lego pieces for our asymmetrical striped design. No, we haven’t had any head issues. Our countertops are deeper than standard and they don’t get hot at all. The plastic is super easy to clean.
· We wanted as many windows as possible – which gives us a wonderful cross breeze. We hold out turning the AC as long as we can and enjoy the breeze.
· In order to maximize the bathroom space, we created more of a wet-room space. The cabinets are PVC so that they’re waterproof. And Erika loves tile – so the shower has some pretty badass tile.
· We thought through so many details: Pete’s food and water bowls are hidden on the side of the cabinets. There’s storage and electrical outlets everywhere. Soft-close everything.
· Our general lighting is all hidden LED tape light by Phillips Hue – so we can control it all on our phone, dim, change colors, etc. We didn’t want to see any light fixtures other than the three decorative ones (vanity light, bedside lamps).

What is your favorite part of your bus?

· Clint loves the kitchen, as the chef of the tiny home he has everything at his fingertips, including the undercounter fridge that he converted from a freezer.
· Erika loves the simplicity. But also being able to create a home that shows our personalities without toning it down. Where else could we have a bright green kitchen, a fuscia bookcase, blue tile (that I LOVE!) with coral vanity cabinets?!

What helpful advice would you give to others interested in bus life?

· Take your time. Do your research. Do it the right way. A little more in initial costs can help save tremendously over time.
· Don’t let people tell you your home isn’t worth as much as you think. Converted buses (and tiny homes) are homes! with kitchens, bathrooms, HVAC, solar, and custom furniture – they just happen to be small! It is so frustrating when someone spends a lot of time and effort converting a bus, then have to sell it, and get roasted online for their “outrageous” asking price. If people spent a little time researching the costs of the equipment alone – they would better understand the pricing.

Vendors

Old World Lumber (Houston) – wood countertops
Pratt and Larson – bathroom tile
Lego – Kitchen backsplash
PPG – exterior paint
Erik Hinkle – Cabinet maker
Mike Aaly – Welder
Brizo – plumbing fixtures
Top Knobs – cabinet hardware
Atroguard – flooring

VIDEO: Big Sky Bus Tour

Highlights:

  • 1977 Crown
  • 18 months to renovate
  • Parked on 8 acres they own in Texas
  • Undercounter fridge
  • Tiled wet bath
  • LEGO backsplash
  • Reclaimed wood counter tops
  • LED strip lighting (remote controlled!)

Learn More:

Related Stories:

Our big thanks to Erika for sharing! 🙏

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife and mama of two little kids. She and her family just purchased a small fixer-upper and are starting a self-sufficient homestead on their happy little acre.
{ 2 comments… add one }
  • Avatar Sheila
    August 28, 2020, 11:01 am

    This is really pretty. Color of the cabinets are striking to the eye. Love the color. My husband has the dye and formula to make custom colors. We use Dunne Edwards paint only. This color is on the formula. Not sure it would turn out like this color. Carpet run is flattering on the hard wood flooring. Love this bus.

  • Avatar Theresa Perdue
    August 28, 2020, 12:36 pm

    I love the home and the couple and the dog and the video nails it all!

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