A NEWLYWED couple have converted a double-decker bus into their dream home – and they’re ready to set off.
Solar installer Gareth Hollingsworth, 40, and Lamorna Hollingsworth, 39, from Hereford met each other while they were both travelling abroad, and soon found that they shared a love of exploration.
In 2019, the pair got married and went on a year-long honeymoon travelling the world in a camper van.
But when they got back from their honeymoon in February 2020, they realised that they didn’t want to stop travelling together – so they logged onto eBay and bought a 1997 double-decker Scania bus for £4,000.
Gareth said: “On our return from a truly epic honeymoon, talk turned quickly to the idea of buying a larger van and seeing more of Europe.
“Talk of vans quickly became talk of buses, and before long – and after a couple of glasses of wine – we bought a double-decker on eBay.
“I’ve always wanted to build a house, and the bus was a step in the right direction.
“Not an easy one, if it was, everyone would be doing it, but we like a challenge.
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“And a challenge it has been, but one that will be worth all the effort.
“Think of it as a tiny home, as opposed to a camper van.
“We chose a bus because we wanted enough space to live in comfortably, but with the ability to move.
“It was also important to us to be completely self-sufficient.
“Our solar setup gives us nearly four kilowatts of battery storage, enough for almost a week's usage.”
Gareth and Lamorna have spent nearly two years working on the bus, spending an estimated total of £20,000 on the project, including purchasing the bus for £4,000, spending another £4,000 on solar power and batteries, and £1,000 on getting the right driving licence.
The renovation involved entirely stripping the bus of its old floors, ceilings, walls and radiators, adding in fresh ones – as well as a water tank to allow for everyday living.
The bottom floor of the bus contains a fully-functioning kitchen, with a full-sized oven, sink, and fridge-freezer, as well as a slide-out pantry and overhead kitchen storage, plus a log fire to keep the double-decker warm, and of course, a composting toilet and shower.
Upstairs is a multi-functional office and lounge area, plus a double bed and purpose-built wardrobes, with solar panels on the roof.
Gareth added: “Every job takes longer than you think.
“Nothing is square, nothing is level, every wall is curved and you can say goodbye to a spirit level as the bus isn’t parked on level ground.
“We have repurposed where possible, recycled, shopped around online and done all the work ourselves to keep to budget.”
Gareth and Lamorna are currently living in a trailer next to the bus along with their dog Maya, who will be joining them on their double-decker journey.
Gareth continued: “We wouldn't be without Maya now, even if she brings muddy paw prints into the bus.
“We will actually have more room in the bus when we move in soon.
“Every aspect has been painstakingly thought through to the smallest detail.
“Space is a premium, and we have to really think outside the box to ensure we make the most of it.
“For instance, rather than just having a door to our bedroom, instead we have built a bookcase which doubles up as the door, opening on secret hinges by pulling the right book.”
The pair revealed they get ‘itchy’ if they spend too long without travelling, and are looking forward to getting back out on the road.
Their eventual plan is to settle down in Spain or Portugal, but for now, they’re simply excited to get going.
Gareth explained: “Most people are either envious or think we're mad.
“There are so many issues with driving double-deckers – but the challenge is part of the fun.
“So many people feel stuck with large mortgages or unsatisfactory jobs.
“We will be mortgage-free, have a house on wheels, and be free to see the world and enjoy its delights.”
Meanwhile, thrifty couple transform dated caravan into dream home for just £1.6k – and they did it all with free online tutorials.
Also, we transformed our caravan using bargains from Aldi, Primark and Home Bargains – it’s a pink chic paradise.
If that wasn't enough, people never believe what’s inside our tiny van, we spent months doing it up & it’s even got a home CINEMA.
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