British Surfer's Housetruck


I live in Cornwall in the South West of England, which is a beautiful county beside the sea but an economically depressed area. Due to this fact, it is a desirable with people from the cities to buy second homes/holiday homes, and consequently the price of housing is sky high.

After many years of renting flats and houses, I got tired of landlords moving me on for one reason or another, “Sorry we’re selling the flat” OR “Sorry we’re giving it to our son,” etc., etc. I decided that I wanted to get on with my life and not get bogged down constantly moving house and all the hassles that go with that! So, I decided to buy a bus to live in. Being a keen surfer, I had spent many summers camping by the beach and sleeping in my van, so a bigger vehicle was a natural progression, helped by the fact that I drive trucks for a living: Formula 1 and music industry long hauls across Europe!

My parameters for living in a vehicle were that:

1) I could stand up in it.

2) It would be wide enough to accommodate, a bed across its width.

3) The bed would be solely a bed and did not double as a sofa!

4) I had room to fit a shower and toilet.

5) I had room for an oven to cook pizzas and oven food in!

I ended up looking for a suitable vehicle for a while, and finally found what I now call home. It was for sale in Wales. My ‘bus’ as I call it used to be a Mobile Library which travelled through rural areas of Wales hiring out books. It was perfect, low mileage, well-serviced and best of all a diesel, as fuel here in Europe is an expensive commodity. All in all it covered all of my perimeters. The trader I bought it off could not believe, when I told him, that I was going “to live in it”. He was so staggered that, lets just say, that the negotiating on the price fell very favorably my way!

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I lived in the bus on a make-shift bed (and had axle stands and planks of wood for a sofa) for over 6 months while I decided upon my interior design. This turned out to be the best thing I ever did, as although I thought I had the perfect plan each time, it consequently went through 5 serious re-thinks before I came up with my current layout — which, I must add, is perfect. My design incorporates a few basic factors that I think anyone designing a small living space should consider:

1) Who is the space for primarily, 1, 2, or more people?

2) Is it your only space? If so

a) Will you expect visitors?

b) Where will these visitors sit, sleep, eat?

3) How will you heat (or cool) this space?

4) Is it insulated — against the cold and the heat, and also to keep noise in and to keep noise out?

5) Will the moisture condense? (Condensation can ruin your experience of living in a small space.)

I was adamant to build my bus without using motorhome and chandlery suppliers as these industries specializing in small vehicles and boats aren’t usually cheap. So this occasionally proved a challenge, but things such as my plumbing are totally domestic, like you would find in a normal house, and at a normal price. Half of my work surfaces, and all of my flooring were from a reclamation yard, and had been the roof of an old school. The other half of my work services are made from driftwood I had collected off the beaches and milled down to give a workable finish. I built the interior with a lot of help from a friend of mine, Gopher, who is a qualified cabinetmaker.

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I have now lived in the bus for over 7 years and thoroughly enjoy it. I am now looking to upgrade my bus and design and build myself two tiny homes on trailers, that I can configure in such a way as to give me a bit more space.

All in all, I highly recommend living in a tiny space but my words of advice are, make sure you insulate it a lot more than you think is necessary, regardless of your climate, hot or cold — surprisingly you lose all your heat from the cold coming up through the floor. Plus always remember that there is a stigma attached to living in a tiny house, a boat, or a bus; it is not the norm, and as you are not conforming you will be viewed as being different!!”


I hope this inspires you to build and create your own tiny space. Enjoy the journey — it’s wonderful.

–Steve Maclure

11 Responses to British Surfer's Housetruck

  1. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant !

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Anonymous says:

    Not many people are so ingenious as you – good luck and
    living in a tiny space is superb – tiny space to clean.

  4. Anonymous says:

    very cool

  5. Imo says:

    Yeah! Very, very cool indeed. You need to come sort us out some day.

  6. Graham says:

    Looks like a great pad

  7. Nikki says:

    We love your tiny home. You are a genius. I have 2 small children and a husband who are all very well behaved – when can we move in?

  8. I like how you have made it blend into the landscape while also appearing totally businesslike. This is stealthy and intelligent. So many people set up in a scruffy van and are surprised to be viewed negatively by locals who are paranoid due to having all their financial security in their house value.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Your an inspiration

  10. katee.korn says:

    very cool

  11. I would love to see more of the inside? 2 tiny houses? It sounded like you were going to join them together to live in, or is it just me?

    I have a larger stealth project brewing in my mind. This inspires me to take one more step towards it.

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