The Bus Journey So Far by Emma Fraser

We promised you an update on the big bus. Fortunately we have been very busy this year with kitchens, reception desks and commercial installations for a new office complex, which has bagged numerous awards! Now the end is in sight for our bus conversion, it’s a good time to reflect on the project so far. So we hope you are sitting comfortably as this is a bit of a long one. 

After a successful conversion of two single decker buses in to luxury self-catering accommodation we now have our hands on a double decker looking for the same glamorous make over. Commissioned by The Bus Stop, work began in March after a long winter of planning, designing and collaborating. The brief was simple; Convert a double decker bus into luxury self-catering accommodation for at least 6 people…we had a long way to go.

Creating an interior to fit within the confines of a bus shell comes with its challenges, you would be surprised how many curves there are! However many people across the world are doing just that in an effort to create their own little haven and, for the most part, this is their home, not just a weekend getaway. Many people see it as an escape from the 9 till’ 5, a huge money saver and a great way to unburden themselves from all the ‘stuff’ which we inevitably seem to gather along our way. 

After binging on blogs and you tube videos refreshing our minds on how to design a small living space, and using what we had already learned, we began designating areas of the bus. Planning the layout was incredibly simple as everything seemed to naturally fall in to place with the main living area taking over the whole ground floor and bedrooms to the upper deck. 

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The main obstacle we have in both the kitchen and lounge / dining area are the wheel arches. These will be concealed within cabinetry and have dictated where certain elements of furniture will be positioned. With the kitchen to the front of the bus we have had to remove a fair amount of original features such as the driver’s cabin partitions and some small sections of raised flooring. However this has left us with a good sized space for a galley style kitchen with all the mod-cons including a four ring hob, built in oven and microwave. 

The lounge is a multifunctioning space with large c-shaped seating area and a table which can be raised and lowered to become a coffee table, a dining table and a bed! Although this is a small space it needs to work incredibly hard to cover all eventualities.

Creating an adequate bathroom space within the main shell proved to be slightly more difficult, especially seeing as the bus can potentially sleep 8 people. We decided that a wood clad extension to the bus would provide a comfortable luxury bathroom, although there are a few little quirks which we’ll keep to ourselves for the time being.

Two king sized beds and bunk beds, each having their own designated bedroom space, will occupy the upper floor. The famous star gazer roof light will appear again in the master bedroom and again every little available space will be utilised for storage. 

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We were given free reign with the interior scheme and the client approved elements along the way. Our initial proposal was influenced by the surrounding farming landscape incorporating natural materials and textures to create a clean crisp environment. With the usable space being small it is crucial not to over complicate the design, crowd the space and distract from the stunning views. The client was delighted and with a small tweak to the colours to introduce some warmer tones, we had our final scheme:

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We set to work dismantling the interior, which is where the true nature of the project reveals itself. No matter how detailed a design you create it can never account for the angles, curves and immovable parts which only become apparent when you uncover the barebones of a bus.

We also made head-way with the exterior while the weather was kind to us and re-painted the shell from mail box red to a subtler slate grey. Turning our bus into quite the mean machine. 

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Once we had everything stripped back we then began to block up windows, some for privacy and others for practicality. Wiring, stud walls and plumbing were next. This bus features its very own central heating, as well as a log burning stove; cold thou shalt not be.

We completed as much as we could while the bus was still in situ at our workshop, then it was time to move the bus to its new home. With no power steering, two tractors and some good old-fashioned team work the bus was carefully guided to its final resting place, at times teetering on the edge of quite a steep hill, but it made it safely with no major incidents. 

Unfortunately for us (as far as converting a bus goes) we had the longest hottest summer we have had in a long time. We probably don’t need to tell you, but the top deck of a bus can get extremely toasty…

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Thankfully everyone survived, and we battled through the warm weather by mainly staying outside, working on the bathroom extension and our tans.

The wood cladding is now installed to the exterior which we are going to stain black to tie in with the bus colour scheme. 

Our latest addition to the interior has been carpets to the top floor, and it’s starting to feel really homely! In this shot you can see our popular skylight feature which appears on all the buses. When it’s not raining, this detail makes for an extra special feature!

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There have been changes to the design along the way, but we think this is the beauty of the project. It is fluid and you need to be able to adapt the solutions to suit the surroundings. Details have appeared which couldn’t have been designed without a full understanding of the final shell we had to work with. Such as hidden pelmet lighting to wash down walls. A subtle effect negating the need for wall or table lamps, which would ultimately make the space feel cluttered. It’s shaping up to be a beautiful space to exist within.

That is all the news we have for now, we will have another update shortly! 

Thanks for Reading!

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A Glowing Recommendation by Emma Fraser

A 30 year old office building has been completely transformed with the innovative vision of the Chris Stewart Group in collaboration with ISA Architects and GHI Contracts. Greenside, located in the bustling city centre of Edinburgh, is an award winning project and we are proud to say we played a part in this exceptional development. 

The building itself provided inspiration having originally been constructed with stone, concrete and lead and it was important that these materials were the bases of the scheme. We were asked to sensitively incorporate a natural element to the building, which allowed the beauty of the different materials to be appreciated, as well as reflecting the surrounding landscape of Calton Hill. 

 Photography By David Cadzow

Photography By David Cadzow

Exploring texture and its uses to create depth and interest to the façade led us to the ancient Japanese art of Shou Sugi Ban, charring wood. The beautiful textures and patterns of the Douglas Fir grain come in to their own but as well as aesthetic this treatment it is also practical. The charring method provides a natural resistance to weathering and fire!

 Photography By David Cadzow

Photography By David Cadzow

The treated cladding adorns the exterior of the building and also appears in the reception area, where we incorporated a gradient effect, creating a connection between inside and out. 

Fire doors are discreetly co-ordinated and concealed within laminated wall panelling and at a mere 2.8m high this was no mean feat! Our work can also be seen around various other points of the building including 100 fire rated door panels. 

The building has gone on to win a British Council for Offices (BCO) award for Best Refurbished / Recycled Workplace in Scotland 2018 and has also been nominated for the national awards, with the winner to be announced in October.  

 Photography By David Cadzow

Photography By David Cadzow

We were delighted to receive a glowing letter of recommendation from Nicola Gourlay, Architect and Development Manager at the Chris Stewart Group:

‘Chris Stewart Group worked with Good With Wood (GWW) on the award winning Greenside Development, a 38000sqft reimagining of a tired 1980’s office, into grade A workspace. GWW were involved in the project from the outset and worked closely with our in-house interior designers to develop the detailing and budget and then with the main contractor to fabricate and install the final design. The process of design development was greatly enhanced by GWW’s extensive knowledge of materials and detailing. The costs were managed at all times with GWW continuing organisation of itemised budgets in line with the design and recommendations for simplifications of elements where appropriate. The main-contractor extended the scope of works that GWW delivered given the quality of their workmanship.’

‘GWW made a substantial contribution to the overall design aesthetic which secured the development a recent British Council of Offices (BCO) award, with their skill and attention to detailing in the main reception and new external envelope. The alterations to the building focused on the use of charred Douglas Fir to connect the building to the wooded slopes of Calton Hill behind and soften the robust and weary 1980’s exterior. The GWW timber elements elevate the building beyond most grade A office developments but also importantly create an environment where the spaces are focused on the everyday users. Distinctive and user friendly, sophisticated and yet warm the façade, reception, toilets and lobbies were all transformed with GWW workmanship.’

‘We would recommend working with GWW, and in particular on bespoke projects that require attention to detail along with value for money. We would also recommend that the earlier GWW are involved in a project the better value that can be realised and indeed the finished result would likely celebrate the unique warmth and character that can be created in skilled hands.’

 Photography By David Cadzow

Photography By David Cadzow

Welcome by Emma Fraser

Hello and welcome to our new website and blog!

It is here that we invite you to experience the inner workings of our family; our excitement, processes, challenges and triumphs as we navigate through the world of bespoke interiors.

With a dedicated team of craftsmen and an in-house design service, not to mention Arthur (the extremely well behaved dog), the company has grown and developed to new levels. With exciting prospects on the horizon, our close-knit team are taking it all in their stride.

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Inspiration comes in many forms and for a team that designs, manufactures and installs everything, these influences inspire our work and drive innovation. Known for our attention to detail, outstanding customer service and innate ability to bring visions to reality, the team are now producing work which is featuring within Scotland’s finest architectural projects.

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Working for both residential and commercial clients has provided us with a wealth of knowledge, which can be applied to any new challenge. Our clients come to us looking for something unique to fit in to their lives and enhance how they use the spaces that they inhabit. We can create interiors that work for them rather than having to make compromises with what they have or with what they can purchase off the shelf.

As we expand our blog and discuss all the ins and outs of our days work, we will also be updating our various social feeds, including Instagram, Pinterest and Houzz with the latest up to date happenings from within our bespoke world.

Please stay tuned for our next post!