Converting a school bus into a permanent residence is a bit like a coming-of-age story. You take a school bus, probably one very similar to the one you rode in elementary school, gut it entirely, and build a tiny home out of it.
To me, the whole school bus conversion process feels very charming, sustainable, and appealing. Not only is it the ultimate upcycling project, but it’s also a journey that can take months, even years—with plenty of speed bumps along the way.
So whether you’re just a daydreamer like me or are actually in the process of buying a school bus to convert, check out some individuals that are actually living the #schoolie life.
1. Fern The Bus
Ben and Mande, owners of Fern The Bus, are Michigan natives that wanted to experience a simpler life, traveling west. And a school bus conversion was the way to go!
Ben and Mande mention on their website that while the bus is done, it will always be in a “state of continual transformation”.
The bus’s kitchen features exposed wood, white cabinetry and lots of natural light. And it looks like Penny the pup doesn’t mind a little sunbathing!
The bedroom is located at the back of the bus and utilizes the space above for storage.
Here’s a great aerial shot of the entire living area:
2. The Skoolie
Setting out to travel the USA and engage in charitable work, Dean has a YouTube channel where he logs all of his adventures with The Skoolie and the school bus conversion process.
The interior features exposed wood panels, robin blue cabinetry, and a bright beadboard ceiling.
I mean, what a life:
3. The Blue Ridge Mountain Bus
Located in the mountains of Hot Springs, North Carolina, the Blue Ridge Mountain Bus is home to Stacie Jameson and her family. They’ve even turned their own home project into a business: Blue Ridge Conversions!
They’ve built a deck that is attached to the side of the bus, offering shade and a nice place to have some morning coffee.
The kitchen features wood flooring, blue cabinetry, and lots of storage area for dishes.
4. Adventure Or Bust
Brittany and Steven own this gorgeous, robin blue beauty and are traveling across the country completely off-grid. Along with their two pups, they plan on traveling coast to coast this summer. You can follow on their journey at their website.
They’re really taking advantage of all that rooftop space with solar panels.
As for the interior, they have a wood stove and full-size appliances. Pretty impressive for an off-grid school bus!
The kitchen also has a washer/dryer combo. Now that’s something lots of tiny house owners are probably a bit envious of!
The bedroom lets in a lot of natural light and features a large, cozy bed.
As for the wheel well of the bus … they put a toilet on top of it!
5. The Simple Bus Life
Creating their off-grid home in the Virgin Islands, Amanda and Joe Trattner are small business owners that want to spread the word about tiny living.
Their goal through the Simple Bus Life project is to encourage others to live more self-sufficient lives and have financial freedom.
Their functional kitchen features a farmhouse sink with full-size appliances.
Looking out from the kitchen you can see the entire living room and bedroom. The area has lots of lighting, both interior and natural.
And from the living room, you can see the entire kitchen!
There’s nothing like a before and after:
6. Rolling Vistas
Still in the process of converting their bus into a full-time home, Zac and Tiff keep a YouTube channel where they update viewers on each step of their journey. They mention that while they don’t intend for their channel to be a how-to series, they hope that they can inspire others to take the bus-conversion leap! You can also keep up with their journey over on their website.
The kitchen cabinets have a real cabin vibe, matching the wood burning stove perfectly.
And those cabinets are accompanied by a long live-edge slab desktop.
As for the issue of bathroom privacy, Tiff added faux stained glass to the pre-existing windows!
7. Blanchard Bus Conversion
Crystal, husband Sequoya, and their son live in their converted bus in Florida. They have a full-size fridge and stove in their bus and are traveling around until they find the perfect property to settle down on.
How dreamy are these cabinets?
From the front of the bus you can see the kitchen and the master bedroom.
While the master bedroom is cozy, it still fits a king-sized bed!
Living in 200 square feet is all about ingenuity: turning a closet into a bed and a bedroom into a bathroom.
Originally owned by a small school in Canada, this school bus conversion originally took place in Calgary but was moved overseas to Devon, UK.
The dining table is large without commanding the entire space.
The use of a barn door to access the driver’s seat keeps with the style of bus.
Rather than a center hallway you see in many school bus designs, the Bus’N’Breakfast has a side hallway to take advantage of all the natural light.
The master bedroom is located in the back of the bus and takes advantage of all the windows. Look at that view!
A modern bathroom makes all the difference!
Who says that a school bus conversion can’t be modern and sleek? This family of five left behind a conventional home and turned their ’99 Blue Bird bus into their full-time residence.
Clean, white walls pair perfectly with wood countertops. Regardless of the fact that the kitchen is minimalistic, it features a deep sink with lots of storage.
A set of kids bunk beds in the hallway lead to the master bedroom.
10. The Liminal Caravan
For a school bus conversion made of out 100% reclaimed materials, check out this video:
Would you ever do a school bus conversion? Or do you live in a converted school bus already? Share your thoughts and pictures with us in the comments below!
Anita C Floyd says
How do converted buses to meet the same standards as an RV? Is there a certifying agency that puts out a sticker? My HOA doesn’t have specific rules against “buses”, but they are showing up and members are complaining. I’m researching how to change their minds, and my own, that someone can actually convert a bus into a living space. Knowing that not everyone believes in having a ‘high’ standard of living, we now have 2 current examples of someone doing it the right way, and someone getting inside and swinging a hammer around and calling it home.
Is there any agency that has the authority to grant a certificate that says it meets or exceeds a specific standard? Please help us, my HOA, get this right so those folks who have constructed their home to ACCEPTABLE standards can be welcomed into our community.
Do you know that the link to number 8 Bus’N’Breakfast’s
website link goes to a porn site? Just thought you should know if that wasn’t your intention.
Kane Jamison says
😬 Thanks for the heads up! Sad to see their site expired, so we’ve removed the link.
Lisa Lynn says
We have been living in our 1994 38ft Bluebird for three years and driven as far South to Puerto Vallarta Mexico & North-Wyoming. We have 2500watts of solar & 200 gallons of fresh water, A/c & diesel heater. My husband was a mechanical contractor & I am an artist. We used a lot of pallet wood to save on wood costs. Life has been amazing on the road!