Stretcher-bed concept for our housebus
7 October 12
In designing a housebus fit-out from scratch, one of the greatest challenges is how to bed down a family without interfering with the necessary living space during the day. With a stretcher-bed hanging over the seats at the front, we have a generous bed for sleeping times without it impacting the other useful areas during the day.
Before I built this in our Toyota Coaster, I had only seen the concept online in European camping vans. Here’s how it works:
The children access the bed by climbing first onto the dashboard at the front. I usually climb up directly from the body of the bus.
The width of the bed is 1700mm and the length is 2400mm, so it’s big enough to fit all five of us if we sleep sideways. We’re rarely organised to sleep side-by-side like peas-in-a-pod, and so the generous length is great to ensure no one falls off the ends.
Packing away the bed is really easy — it has to be! I unhook it from its mounts and roll it up.
I’m still not sure if one large inflatable mattress would be better than three small ones because it may reduce some of the sagging. It’s also possible to take the canvas back to the sail-maker who sewed it up and ask him to tighten the fabric. In the meantime, I have been sleeping well with up to three children in the bed with me!
There are also a couple of extra spots available around the bus for people to sleep if they want some more space. A cupboard at the back is designated as a bed-space (and holds all our bedding in the day-time), the bench-seat at the back is big enough for a child to use, and I’ll get a spare mattress to lay out in the middle of the floor for late-night insomniacs.
Now that we’re moving into the bus, it’s feeling a lot more like home. Sharing a bed with my girls is a privilege I have recently embraced — especially now that I’ve lost one of my children and would give anything to sleep alongside him again — and I’m glad to be able to do this in The Gifted Gypsy.