Ally had wanted to name one of her children Radley, but instead the name went to the school bus she and her family converted into a mobile home. “We bought the bus in upstate New York,” Ally relates. It was painted yellow and it still had all the original seats.
It wasn't easy turning the bus into their dream home. “We ripped everything out and patched the holes in the sheet metal floors, and began making Ally’s blueprint a reality," Sean said. "I have construction experience and it was very useful in this project. We followed the blueprint as much as possible, but some things gained an inch, some lost an inch.”
They scraped all the decals and reflectors, and they prepped the bus for a new coat of paint. Then they hand-painted Radley Rust-Oleum gray.
As the solo guitarist and lead singer of Sean Hetrick and The Leftovers, Sean was often away on the road with his band. With the new mobile home, he is now able to spend more time with his wife Ally, their 10-year-old son, Kaiden, 3-year-old daughter Coco, and their dog Walnut, even while he is on tour. It's a simple solution: If you’re unhappy leaving your family behind, take them with you.
The couches in the living room came from a music venue in Annapolis. They were headed to the dump, but Sean took them to the bus instead. He cut them to size and Ally wrapped them with printed fabric. Seatbelts were attached to the bus frame and pulled through the couch. The backs of the couches are separated and can come off to convert into a guest bed.
The refrigerator was purchased from Amazon. “It came dented so I got a discount on it,” Sean shared. The camper propane stove and the kitchen cabinets are from Facebook Marketplace. The ventless washer/dryer combo fits snugly in a corner right next to the oven. “It was essential for me with two kids,” Ally said.
To the right of the kitchen is a fold up/down table from the same cut of plywood as the kitchen counter. “I did double the thickness of the wood,” Sean explains. The dining room table and countertops were stained with traditional cherry stain and covered with a coat of polyurethane.
A full-length mirror that hangs on a wall makes the tiny space feel bigger and look brighter.
A king-size bed wouldn’t fit in the bedroom so they settled for a queen-size bed instead. A finely finished wood plank hangs above the bed and serves as a bookshelf as well as a place to display decorative items. A TV set in the bedroom provides entertainment. For privacy, an accordion-style door separates the main bedroom from the rest of the house.
The kids’ beds were regular twin beds from their old house. They were simply framed on twin mattress measurements. Baskets were added to act as storage space for books and toys. Kaiden got the top bunk. “It is probably the best bed in the bus simply because Coco or the dog can’t get up and wake him,” Sean said. Both kids also get their own TV screen.
A small desk perfect for writing can also be found in the kids’ bunk area. A small pot of greenery adds a touch of nature indoors.
The bathroom was framed around the toilet, which fits into its tiny water closet. The little sink was a must-have. The space is small but functional, complete with a towel hanger, medicine cabinet and a light.
The shower is hooked up to a water heater. Ally scored some free tiles on Facebook Marketplace that she used to create a crescent moon mosaic on the bathroom wall.
The windows are original. “We insulated and boarded up a few. And trimmed out the ones we left,” Sean shares.
The sky light lets in a lot of natural light inside the house. Kaiden loves to sit on top of the bus for a welcome breath of fresh air.
Sean is happy with their 400-watt solar system from WindyNation. He found it very easy to install. They have shore power, a generator and solar power. “Electrical has been the most complex part of the conversion for me,” Sean shares. They are now ready to go off grid.