When New England couple Ben and Meag Poirier first laid eyes on the 31-foot 1989 Chevy retired prison bus from MA, they were intrigued. They had to see it in person and decide whether it would be the best bus to turn into a home on wheels. They drove to MA, noticed it had many of the things they would need in their house bus, and made the deal. The bus was listed for $10,000, but they settled on $8,000 cash.
What they started with was a retired prison bus with a Cummings Onan 8000 generator, 19,000 miles on the clock, shore power, and electrical wiring. What they ended up with was a labour of love and a new home. The bus underwent an $18,000 transformation over many long weekends in two years. By January 2018, the pair – and their dog – moved in permanently.
From the outside, you will see that a lot of work has gone into removing that ”prison” vibe. It has a wood stove flue poking out the top, solar panels on the roof, and a vibrant blue colour scheme that Meag and Ben prepared and painted themselves.
The bus covers 165 square feet with industrial accents, bursts of colour, and custom woodworking throughout. Meag and Ben went with an open plan layout to make it as uncluttered as possible. Much of the materials in use are reclaimed or recycled, such as the maple flooring from a textile mill in MA. This same wood is also used throughout the face frames and wall trims.
The kitchen is perfect for a couple who aren’t fussed on needing a permanent cooking solution. There is a simple solar battery bank to run the water pump and fridge, but the occupants rely on a portable gas cooker to prepare the evening meal. A toaster oven also comes out of storage for when they are plugged into shore power supplies.
The reclaimed barn board countertop is one of Ben and Meag’s favourite finds.
The spice rack in the dining area boasts birch tree corner pieces for frugalness.
The dining table is an old butcher’s block, refinished in tung oil, paired with two home-made hickory chairs.
The butcher’s block table folds down to allow more space.
Once the colder weather arrives, the woodstove gets a workout. It’s set on a granite hearth with a brick surround and tile reinforcing, as well as blue beadboard paneling and cement board. The stove is the centerpiece of the bus and captures the curiosity of all who jump aboard.
The ex-prison bus even has space for the couple’s dog right next to the woodstove.
The raised queen bed sits adjacent to the locking prison cage doors which are at the front and rear of the bus.
The bedroom nook is tucked away between a composting toilet and tub/shower.
The southern yellow pine shower/tub is unique and boasts a drain and shower head/wand.
The prison bus has been a labour of love and passion, but Ben and Meag are ready for something new. Their pride and joy is now up for sale for $68,000. You can learn more about the bus on Ben and Meag’s blog The Wild Drive