Name: Jessie Lipskin
Location: Asbury Park, New Jersey
Size: 400 square feet
Years lived in: 6 months, owned
I grew up in Manhattan, so smaller square footage and limited space have never been an issue for me. I've always been very organized and love the idea of holding onto only what you really need. For me, that mainly includes things that hold sentimental value, particularly items that were handed down to me from my family.
After graduating college, I lived in New York City and had the realization that people waste a lot of time focusing on physical items: purchasing them, misplacing them, and subsequently looking for them. Most of these items, from my standpoint, felt superfluous to a meaningful life and I realized that the time and emotional energy devoted to physical things could be better spent elsewhere. This was the spark that led me to my tiny home lifestyle.
The downsizing process coincided with a period of frequent moves; during the process I relocated seven times, and by the end, just about everything I owned fit in my SUV. Once I started purging the things that held less value, I felt more free to travel. It occurred to me that a more mobile lifestyle might suit me.
This was a home built for comfort:
- Started out as a 1966 GMC Commuter Greyhound. "The Greyhound's classic body style and great condition made the perfect fit for a beautiful Tiny Home conversion."
- The bus totally runs!
- There are two sleeping areas and one full-sized bath; it can comfortably sleep up to four people.
- Brand-new hardwood flooring was installed.
- There are three large closets.
- "The home is illuminated by LED lighting with dimmers throughout, allowing for a tranquil ambiance."
- The kitchen boasts a "large sink, additional storage options, drawers, wooden counter tops, an oven and stove top. This area also houses an energy-efficient washing machine/drying spinner and instant hot water heater and propane tank."
- There are even two central air-conditioning units.
My first draw to the alternative sustainable lifestyle was the documentary Garbage Warrior. In the documentary Michael Reynolds (eco-architect) designs and builds earthships using all recycled materials. Reynold's says: "I feel like I'm in a herd of buffalo, and they are all stampeding toward thousand foot drop off, and I'm in that herd. And I'm like: 'I'm not going there. I'm not going down that way.' So I have to somehow affect the whole herd so that they will take a left turn or right turn and not go off this edge." This really resonated with me. I began to consume everything I could read more about sustainable lifestyles. Ultimately, a home on wheels seemed like a perfect solution: I could easily explore new places (finding a permanent place to settle, in the short term, was not a priority for me), and I could continue to live a vegan lifestyle. RVs lacked the aesthetic I was going for, so I landed on a vintage bus conversion which could be registered and insured as an RV.
I found my bus on eBay. It was love at first sight. It took three years from purchase to completion, with lots of ups and downs. It was a labor of love and I felt a true sense of accomplishment once everything came together.
Now I love to cozy up in my bed or reading nook with a book and cook in my large kitchen space. I opted out of owning a TV, as I prefer to spend my time outdoors.
Editor's note: Jessie has emailed to say the bus is now for sale. "I am selling my home mainly due to the large size! It's just too big for me to drive on my own. I work remotely, and have the opportunity to travel internationally for a while, which I want to experience in full. After that I'd love to return to tiny home life, something a bit more manageable for me to drive on my own—a Sprinter conversion or a towed Airstream trailer." You can view its Craigslist listing.
Apartment Therapy Survey:
My Style: Bright, minimalist, antique, open, light and airy.
Inspiration: Scandinavian minimalist, eclectic antiques, clean lines, bright natural light with pops of color, The Modern Caravan Airstreams, Zyl Vardos Little Bird Tiny House, The Majestic Bus Home, The Minim Home, Fern the Bus, Jinxed Antiques Philadelphia.
Favorite Element: The large closet space with mirrored double doors that really make the space feel quite large.
What is your favorite room and why? My bedroom—I love the feeling of being enclosed in my big cozy bed with all my favorite books an arm's length away.
If you could magically change something about your home, what would it be? I'd like to add a roof deck. I've had metal brackets installed which can either be used for solar panels or for decking.
Which fictional character would be most at home in your place? Anne of Green Gables.
Is there anything that embarrasses you about your home? I can't drive it myself! I grew up in New York City and I finally learned how to drive in my mid-twenties. Unfortunately I have yet to learn how to drive a stick shift!
What do friends say about your home when they visit? "Is this actually a bus?", "This is nicer than my apartment!"
Biggest Challenge: Moving/driving the bus to new locations. I have made lots of friends with the ability to drive a manual 40-foot bus without power steering!
Proudest DIY: Sanding and sealing the maple countertops in my kitchen. They are one of the few places you can see the wood grains. I love how it looks against the crisp white walls and ceiling.
Biggest Indulgence: Master carpenter to do all the custom woodwork.
Best Advice: Keep it simple and do some detailed advance planning!
PAINT & COLORS
Benjamin Moore — White
Reading Nook Cushion — Instagram account @finalcutnewjersey
Sailboat Candle — Sojourn Shop
Embroidered Animal Pillow — South Africa artist's embroidery shop
Wood Carved Box — Heritage Trading Co, Hawaii
Great North Wind Chair and Small Rug — Estate sale
Closet Knobs — Amazon
Curtains — Similar on Amazon
Flooring — Rigid Core Flooring - Carpet Depot, Ocean Township, NJ
Knobs — Amazon and Joann
Antique Bowls and Cups — Etsy
Stove — PPL Motorhomes
Antique Cast Iron Pan — Seasoned, New Orleans
Washer/Dryer (Spinner) — Amazon
Faucet — Amazon
Sink — eBay
Salt & Pepper Shakers — Le Creuset
Instant hot water heater — Shop Tiny Houses
Bedding — Tahari Sheets from Marshall's
Duvet Cover — Target
Curtains — HomeSense
Lamp — Estate sale
Picture Frame — Tahari
Painted Wood Lacquer Boxes —Nepal and India
Thermostat — Amazon
Internal Central Air Part — Amazon
Exterior Central Air Part — Amazon
Fresh water tank under bed — Amazon