Monday, January 16, 2012

School Bus Art Studio

When I was a little girl I saw an article in the Sunset Magazine about creative play houses. One of the featured playhouse was an old schoolbus.

 I promised myself that when I had kids I would acquire an old bus and convert it into a playhouse for my own kids. When we bought our first home with a large yard I started to scout the junk and salvage yards but the lowest price I found was about $600.00, which was $500.00 above my meager budget. I kept my eyes peeled for a low cost bus and then a few months later when we were on a walk near our home in Cedar City, Utah I spied an old 1962 Bluebird school bus behind an apartment complex. I found out who the owner was and called him and asked him if he'd sell it to me. He told me he was just happy to get the bus off his property and that I could have it. I thought I'd won the lottery. So for $50.00 in towing fees I had the old engine-less bus towed a few blocks to my home and carefully maneuvered into place in my back yard.

The kids and I spent the summer gutting the insides and scraping, sanding, power washing and painting the bus with some mistint paint we'd gotten from a paint store. The girls chose a pepto bismol pink for their interior half and my son chose a steel grey-blue for his half near the drivers seat. It was a big project and the whole neighborhood was in on the fun and when it was finished the old metal walls rang with the sounds of dozens of neighborhood kids running through and playing every sort of imaginative game and adventure inside. There were slumber parties, birthday parties, puppet shows, pirate adventures, and sometimes they even pretended they were at McDonalds and would give me food orders through the drivers window and I'd bring out goldfish crackers and Koolaid and they'd pretend they were out to lunch. It served it's purpose for many years until I moved to a new town nearby and then I paid the same tow truck driver to move the bus to my new larger property in New Harmony. 

There it became tool and garage storage since the little cabin was so tiny and there was nowhere to put the many tools needed for yardwork and renovations. It fell into a sort of chaotic dusty filthy mess as stuff accumulated and the space was forgotten. Then last year I decided to renovate it and turn it back into my own space again since the kids are grown and gone. I wanted it to be a great art space for arts, crafts, sewing or just a fun place to enjoy reading books and bask in the abundant natural light that came in from the banks of windows on the North and South sides.