A couple from the UK are travelling around Europe in a former bread-delivery truck they turned into a tiny home.
Iona Stewart and Martin Hill met while working in the French Alps during the winter ski season, and eventually decided to buy a home together.
That home turned out to be a bright yellow truck. But in a few short months, the couple redesigned it into a cosy sanctuary that they now live and travel in full-time.
INSIDER talked with Stewart about her home on wheels and what it’s like to join the tiny-home movement.
Iona Stewart and Martin Hill were originally living in an RV when they decided to design a tiny home.
Already living a pretty nomadic lifestyle, the pair were staying in an RV when they first met, but they but wanted to find something more permanent that they could take on the road.
“The RV we were staying in needed a lot of work, so it was either gut that out and completely rebuild that or start fresh,” Stewart told INSIDER. “We came up with a silly plan to build a new camper out of a lorry.”
After struggling to find a truck that was spacious enough for their needs, they finally found one on eBay.
They discovered the perfect space in a former bread-delivery truck, and bought it off eBay for $US4,600.
The truck is 28 feet long and just 7 feet wide, but Stewart and Hill worked together to make it as functional as possible.
“I’m handy in design,” Stewart said. “Martin knows electrics, plumbing, and generally likes building stuff for fun, so we work well together.”
Stewart and Hill renovated the entire home themselves in just a few months.
“We renovated it in four months,” Iona said. “We were lucky enough not to have to work, so we worked on it nearly every day.”
The truck has been redesigned to be completely solar-powered.
“We didn’t go out purposefully to design our lorry to be green. It’s just the way we live,” she said. “We live in a beautiful world, so why ruin it with unnecessary pollution?”
It has a full kitchen and cosy living space.
“We have a full kitchen, just like any house – apart from a toaster and microwave because they’re too high in power,” she explained.
The living room even doubles as a guest room, thanks to a pullout couch.
“We wanted space to have friends and family over, too,” she said. She added that “living in it full-time meant it had to be spacious.”
The bedroom is on a different level from the rest of the home.
Two wooden steps lead to the quaint but cosy bedroom.
It fits a double bed and has plenty of storage space.
Stewart said they don’t have any storage issues, despite the smaller space.
“When you live in a van full-time, I think you live a more minimalist life, so you don’t keep as much stuff as people do in a house,” she said.
The low cost of living is the biggest advantage to tiny-home living, according to the couple.
“We feel that our money goes a lot further in life without the bills of a house,” she said. “We pay about $US51 a month for gas and fuel for heating. That’s it.”
Everything in the home was handcrafted by Hill and Stewart.
Hill and Stewart put their creative touches on everything inside the home, including the wooden shelves that separate the kitchen and living space.
Though water is a struggle in any tiny home, the toilet works almost as well as one in a regular house.
Although you have to actually place water into the toilet before using it, it works almost as well as one connected to plumbing. Stewart said she wishes she could take longer showers, but she and Hill have to be conscious of water conservation.
“Tiny-home life isn’t for everyone,” Stewart said. “It’s a completely different way of living.”
A pellet stove and a diesel heater keep the little home nice and warm.
“It [the pellet stove] creates hardly any pollution,” Stewart said.
The best part of living in a house on wheels? Travelling the world in it.
They are living in France for the foreseeable future, and are perfectly snug in their movable dream home.
Stewart said, “Van life beats house life for us any day, and our lorry is exactly how we want it.”
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