With the help of a crane.

After graduating from Baylor Univer­sity more than a decade ago, Rex Wildey headed west with some friends, killing time surfing in Santa Monica, watching the wetsuit-clad locals spill out of their Volkswagen buses – the emblem­ atic surfer vehicle since Lyndon Johnson was in the White House.

Fast-forward to 2013: Dr. Rex Wildey, now a San Antonio-based pediatric dentist in his first year post-residency, heads back to California with his wife, Jennifer, in search of inspiration for the design of his first practice.

“I’ve always liked the VW bus,” he says. “You see a lot of surfers driving them with their boards packed in. It’s fun.” His sojourn con­vinced Dr. Wildey to pursue a “surf shop” theme for his practice – “a relaxing atmosphere for a place people don’t consider very relaxing.”

Back in Texas, he found a beat-up 1974 VW bus for sale.

“I took my truck out and towed it back, and next thing you now, we’re hoisting it into the second story with a crane.” (“You want to do what?” Dr. Wildey remembers his contractor, Brian Garrison, saying. “Let’s do it – no problem, I got it.”) A fresh coat or vi­brant orange paint later, the bus is now the centerpiece of Dr. Wildey’s immensely inviting practice – completed in just three months, thanks to a preexisting shell perfect for a dental office.screenshot-2016-09-09-17-31-43
ll opened last June. The front two-thirds or the bus jut into the reception area; the back sticks through a wall into checkout, where kids can open the hatch and grab a prize on their way out. (A flat-screen TV is mounted inside so young patients can play video games while they wait.)

The VW is the obvious focal point of Wildey Pediatric, but the rest of the immaculate space adheres to the design aesthetic of what Dr. Wildey calls “the cleanest surf shop you’ll ever be in”: calming colors throughout, tranquil blue VCT tile in the treatment rooms and large win­dows on three sides of the practice.

See more images and read the full interview with this 2014 Incisal Edge Design Competition Award winner at: https://viewer.zmags.com/publication/07e88128#/07e88128/60

Enter your practice today into the 2017 Incisal Edge Design Competition. Don’t wait, deadline is Monday, Sept. 12!  https://www.iedesigncontest.com/entryforms/