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Monthly Recap | January 2022 - A Great Start to the New Year

If I had to sum up the month of January in one word, I would choose the word exciting. We've gotten so much progress done on the bus and it seems like more finishing touches are being added everyday.

We've still got some work ahead of us, don't get me wrong! But this month has done a great job at refreshing us and getting us hyped for hitting the road sometime soon.

I'm so excited to show you what we got done!


Nearly Finished the Bathroom


We were finally in a position to paint the bathroom this month. All the wood-puttying was done, the cabinets were built in, and the trim was added.

It was nice painting a much smaller room this time.

We decided to add a couple colors to our color palette to help make the bathroom stand out as its own room rather than looking like a continuation of the first room. The colors work well together and we like the way it lightened up the bathroom.

While the cabinet doors for the laundry closet are built and painted, we don't have the hinges to install them.

It seems like each cabinet we make requires a different type on hinge to function the way we want it

Grouted the Shower

We probably should have done this before we painted because we got a little bit of grout on the paint. It'll just be some small touchups later. We were just too excited to paint the room!

I did most of the grouting so my hands are still recovering from how dried out they got. I'll remember to wear gloves when I do the kitchen backsplash later...

grouting the tiles of a shower wall in skoolie conversion
This took so long! But it's oddly satisfying work.

The grout came out great though! It's nice to see all the gaps filled in and the shower finally look complete. And our oil-rubbed bronze accents look great! We have a water saving shower head that is also oil-rubbed bronze, however, we didn't feel like installing it until the grout is completely dry.

rock tile and white wavy subway tile shower with oil-rubbed bronze fixtures in skoolie conversion bathroom
We love how the rock ties in our outdoorsy feel and brings some color to the space.

On the ceiling, where Matthew's sky mosaic is, we decided to use a different color grout. We used grey on the walls and floor, but used a "biscuit" or light beige color for the ceiling. The pattern that Matthew made is inspired by a sunburst of rays spreading out across the ceiling. We figured that using a light beige color would hint at sunshine and further enhance this idea. It really is a beautifully unique shower ceiling and it's quite fun to look up at.

tile mosaic ceiling in shower to resemble sky and sunshine bursts
Pictures just don't do it justice. In person, the ceiling sparkles!

This was another Habitat for Humanity find. We bought granite tiles for dirt cheap and broke them up to get the odd pieces. Matthew, of course, had a blast doing that part.

Re-grouted the Bathroom Floor

This project wasn't as exciting, but was much needed. We originally grouted our bathroom floor early on in our build. It was actually one of the first things we did. Unfortunately, we didn't use the right type of grout and tile adhesive so the grout was already cracked just from the one drive we took.

We found a tool that did a great job at removing the old grout. It's shaped like a screwdriver but the tip is a triangle that fits in-between the tiles to scrape out as much as it can reach. Hopefully you won't need this tool, but if you do, you can find one here.

bathroom tile floor with grey grout and green vanity in skoolie conversion bathroom
The big tiles definitely help to make the floor seem bigger than it really is.

The first grout we used was white. This time around, we decided to use the same grey that we used in the shower and we love it! It was bold to go with a darker color but I think it works beautifully.

Added Bathroom Lights

The same day that we painted the bathroom, we put in our vanity light. We were super tired from the long day, but just had to see the room with the light in.

oil-rubbed bronze vanity light fixture in skoolie bathroom

The room gets so much brighter! We had gotten used to seeing the room with just the one inset light in the ceiling so we were really shocked with how bright it gets. In fact, we might have to get dimmer bulbs or a dimmer switch!

There was one small oversight with the light fixture. Well, it has more to do with the medicine cabinet. We didn't measure how far down the light came to before installing the medicine cabinet. So when we open the medicine cabinet it hits the light. It's too late now to move the cabinet so it's just something we'll have to live with for now.

Eventually, we plan on replacing the light fixture anyways. Our choice of metal for the build is oil rubbed bronze, which is what this light fixture was supposed to be. However, when we took it out of the box, we realized it was just a black picture that they painted with a bronze color on the corners. Pretty lame in our opinion since we prefer all real materials. We'll definitely measure the space before buying a replacement fixture!

Installed our Second Pocket Door

Last month I mentioned that we refinished our second pocket door. We weren't quite ready to install it at the time, but we finally got around to it this month. It slides so well and is absolutely beautiful.

refinished wood door in bathroom skoolie conversion
The door looks so narrow in this photo! But it's plenty wide to walk through.

It honestly puts the first door to shame, so we plan on refinishing that one sometime as well.

We are still waiting to add the door handle hardware because we are debating on which style we like the most. We bought some that we liked, but are considering going a different route. That's a project for another day though.

Painted Our Bedroom Ceiling

This was't too big of a project, but it really started to change the feel of the room. We haven't done much to the bedroom so I suppose any little change makes a difference.

We used the leftover paint from the bathroom walls for the ceiling. It is a nice creamy color that lightens the room without being a bright white.

Installed our Dinner Table (mostly)

This is one of the projects we completed this month that I've been looking forward to for several months now. We already applied stain and polyurethane to the table top pieces a while ago, but didn't have the rest of the parts ready.

We bought a wooden table leg from Lowe's that we cut down to the right height. We applied a light grey stain and polyurethane to finish it which ended up looking really good.

butcher block dinette table with grey booth seats and pendant light fixture with big window in skoolie conversion dining room and living room area
Now that there is a table here, it keeps us from walking under and hitting our head on the light!

The reason why I said we "mostly" installed it is because we haven't added the fold out. We have a second piece of butcher block that will attach to the first one and fold out for when we have guests. We are going to try to make it as seamless as possible and find a way to fully support it without another leg in the way, so it is still in the design phase.

Hung our TV

We weren't planning on doing this for awhile, but we found a TV mount that was just right that happened to be on sale so we couldn't pass up the opportunity.

TV on swivel mount attached to wal in skoolie living rooml
This is about where the TV will be pulled out to when we're watching a movie. Otherwise it tucks nicely up to the wall.

Because of the location of the TV relative to the couch, we knew we would need a swivel mount for easy adjustment.

It took a bit of work to find the stud to screw the mount into. We built our studs off the window ribs, which were not evenly spaced. That is one of the joys of using a school bus for a base. As odd as it seems, not all the windows were the same size so the studs aren't all evenly spaced.

After trying enough methods, we were able to locate it. The rest of the process after that was quick and easy.

Bought Wallpaper for the Bedroom

The bedroom is the furthest from completion by far. We've been sort of working our way backwards and the bedroom is next. We're hoping to create a victorian era inspired theme in the bedroom to tie into the intricate piano door we have. What better way to do that than with wallpaper?

Don't be worried, we didn't go too crazy with colors or anything! We chose a pattern that we feel embodies the victorian spirit while keeping the colors simple and complementary to the build. There isn't much wall space in the bedroom anyways, so it will just be a nice accent.

I'll make sure to show you a picture of the wallpaper we chose once it's up on the wall!

It is surprisingly hard to find wallpaper nowadays. Sherwin Williams sells wallpaper, though only at some locations. Thankfully, the Port Orchard location was one of those few that had sample books for us to look through. We had fun flipping through the books and bookmarking our favorite ones.

We also found that wallpaper can get quite expensive. The one we decided to go with cost us $150 for 55 square feet of coverage. There were other wallpapers that cost less per square foot, but they didn't quite meet our needs so we threw in a little more cash.

Hung Our First Piece of Artwork

A good friend of ours, Clark, has been creating beautiful signs with wood burning. He was kind enough to make us a custom one for free! We chose a verse from the Bible that really reminds us of our goal for the next several years. It is hung front and center of our living room so there will be no missing it.

In case you can't read it in the picture, here is the verse we chose.

"For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can see his invisible qualities- his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.

- Romans 1:20

Went Exploring

What's the point of living if we don't take time to truly live and give thanks to God for giving us those opportunities?. We've found that it is incredibly easy to get caught up in work and never take a break. This impacts our mood, our productivity, and our interaction with each other.

It's much harder than it should be for us to get away and enjoy time away from work. We've been trying to get better at that!

Earlier this month, Matthew and I walked to the tip of Dungeness Spit in Sequim. It's about a five and a half mile walk each way. We didn't start until about two o'clock which meant we had to walk really fast to make it back before the sun set. I'm still not used to how early it gets dark.

At the tip of the Dungeness Spit, there is a lighthouse that is open for tours and offers a great view from the top.

beach with mountain and lighthouse on Dungeness Spit in Sequim Washington
When we took this picture, we thought we were a lot close to the lighthouse than we actually were...

The lighthouse is run by volunteers who stay there and keep things running for visitors. The family that happened to be there during our visit made the trip so much better.

We had fun getting a tour from Huckleberry and Poppy, two very friendly kids, who took us to the top and explained to us a few of the historic items on display.

volunteer lighthouse keeper family at Dungeness pit lighthouse in Sequim Washington
Poppy is on the left and Huckleberry is on the Right

We spent a little too much time talking and had to walk about twice as fast on the way back to beat the sunset. My legs could barely keep up with Matthew and were sore for probably a good four days afterwards!

More recently, we went out with some friends on a boat to visit Blake Island. I'd been here before when I was much younger to see a show at Tillicum Village. Turns out, the island is much bigger than I remember and made for some good hiking.

We spent a good portion of time walking the shore which proved difficult because several places along the cliff had collapsed leaving debris in our way. This was both challenging and fun.

beach with waves on Blake island Washington puget sound fallen trees and rocks
We walked back when the tide was at its lowest giving us this great viewing opportunity.

sandstone cliff with fallen tree on beach of Blake island in puget sound Washington
A large portion of the cliffs were sandstone which was really neat looking.

Matthew and I had the brilliantly crazy idea to jump into the frigid ocean. We did have wetsuits, but man it was cold! We hopped out of the water pretty quickly, but hey, we did it. Our friends were not too amused by the thought of joining us in the water so they watched and laughed. I don't blame them one bit.

Thankfully Matthew brought his camera, because we got some really spectacular views of a cargo ship. We boated up real close to one and he was able to capture this shot.

front view of cargo ship anchored in puget sound MSC ARICA
Sitting in our tiny little boat those close to a cargo ship made us realize how small we are.


What's Next?

The first thing on our list of to-dos for February is to get the bus to start... We've had a bit of trouble with that lately. We removed a wire or two that messed with a safety that prevents the bus from starting. So now we have to find a way to fix that.

We're also looking forward to getting the bedroom further along. With the wallpaper hopefully showing up within the week we can get going with that. We want to have the wallpaper up before we begin building the closets. Once the wallpaper is up, we can also put in our mahogany headboard!

Once we get our composting toilet in and finish off the plumbing, we will be able to register the skoolie as an RV. Then, when that's done, we can drive over to the granite countertop shop and get our counters. Driving the skoolie to them will make the price a little lower since they won't have to travel to do their measurements.

We already have a slab purchased for the bathroom, but have yet to find a piece for the kitchen.

We never quite know what will come up, but those are a few of the things we hope to tackle next. If we work extra hard, we might just be done next month!

If you don't already, make sure to follow us on Instagram and Facebook @mattnkate to get more behind the scenes footage and daily updates.

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Meet the Author


Hey! I'm Kaitlynn, a lover of the outdoors and all things travel. I quit my job to travel full-time with my husband, Matthew, in our skoolie.