12 Buses Converted Into Fabulous Tiny Homes on Wheels (2024)

It used to be that the picture of the American dream included 2.5 children, a car to impress the neighbors, and a tidy home, the bigger the better, with a white picket fence. Fast forward to 2017 and cue the "record scratch" sound effect. Welcome to the new dream homes.

While Norman Rockwell towns and big houses will likely always have some appeal, we're seeing more and more minimalist tiny homes and apartments, adaptively reused spaces, even treehouses! And for those who aren't rooted to a single location, converted vans and buses are decked out as beautifully functional roaming homes.

Lured by the idea of escaping the mortgage miasma and rent rut, a new generation of nomads is proving that a life fueled by wanderlust doesn't require a trust fund. It seems that the American dream is getting a bit of a makeover—as you can see for yourself in this list featuring some of our favorite converted buses. These modern takes on the mobile home are fresh, fun, and comfortably livable.


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Family Converts Bus Into Beautiful Cottage on Wheels

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If somehow a storybook cottage and a school bus fell in love and had a child, it would certainly look just like this! The lucky inhabitants are a young family of three in Key Peninsula, Washington. "With a lot of imagination, design-savvy, and skillful craftsmanship, they've managed to transform this vehicle into a whimsical, modern cottage on wheels," writes Kimberly.


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Old School Bus Converted Into Loft Is Traveling From Alaska to South America

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This creative couple, filmmaker Felix Starck and musician Selima Taibi, plus dog Rudi, bought a 1996 Thomas International school bus for $9,500, turned it into a beautiful loft-style home on wheels, and traveled from Alaska to Mexico. They even made a documentary film about it, called "Expedition Happiness."


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Traveling Family Raises the Roof on This Brilliant Off-Grid Bus Conversion

Kimberly, our resident tiny home expert, says that this is "one of the best conversions we've seen thus far, featuring a raised roof and lots of lovely design touches." And it's amazing that this used to be a school bus—and one bought for a mere $4,000, no less. The couple behind this conversion took about a year and a half to do the renovations. Notable is that they raised the roof by 24 inches to a total of 12' 9" and created a lovely interior that includes a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and two beds. Seriously, the kitchen looks more workable than many a NYC studio apartment.

After living in it for three years (with two kids!), they settled in North Carolina to found a school bus conversion company called Skoolie, that can make your own bus-living dreams come true.


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Adventure-Loving Couple Travel & Work in This Beautiful Bus Conversion

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This is the story of a San Francisco couple who gave up their stressful Silicon Valley start-up work to follow their outdoor enthusiast hearts. They quit their jobs and moved to Boulder, Colorado, launched their own tech consulting company, and then bought and renovated a 2001 GMC Bluebird bus. It's a beautiful conversion, and what an inspiration!

Update: The couple has since moved on to other, more permanently-situated adventures in Bozeman, Montana, and the "Outward Found" bus, as it was called, was sold.


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'Big Bertha' Is Modern School Bus Conversion That's Home to Family of 5

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Bus life isn't just for adventurous singles or couples with dogs, as this family of five from Washington state proves. The Sullivans purchased a 40-foot-long 1996 Blue Bird bus for $2,800, spent $25,000 renovating it, called it "Big Bertha," and seem to have never been happier. Brian Sullivan, the dad, says the best part is the freedom:

Freedom with our money, our time and our location. [..] The most important thing in life is people, and spending the most time with our family and children was a huge priority. We were not about to sacrifice our family time to work multiple jobs, paying for a lifestyle we didn't want. [..] Less space, less stuff, less time cleaning, less stress. More time to enjoy life and our children.


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Professional Bus Homebuilder Is at Home—on a Converted Bus

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Charles Kern converted a bus for a reason many can relate to: He needed cheap digs as a cash-strapped 20-year-old student. He bought a bus he calls The Queen—a 1982 Bluebird Bus on an International Harvester chassis, and did a beautiful conversion. And not only is it super spacious and delightful, but it can go completely off-grid. Now Kern continues to provide school bus conversions for a range of clients, through his company Chrome Yellow Corp.


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Couple Travels Full-Time With Off-Grid School Bus Tiny Home

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How does one go about moving out of the rat race and on to the open road? American couple Justine and Ryan of We Got Schooled explain how they did it:

After years of staying put, working too many hours in stressful jobs, and always feeling like we were missing something, we decided to make changes. We started saving money, bought the bus and converted it, and finally left our nine-to-fives. Our motivations are manifold – ranging from an urge to live more simply, a goal to escape the rat-race, to a deep-rooted desire to get out and see more of this world while we can. We were done dreaming and were ready to take action.

They bought a 1991 International School Bus and turned it into a stunning 200-square-foot home featuring a generously sized sitting area, a nice kitchen, dining and work area, a bathroom, bedroom and plenty of storage.


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Carpenter Lives, Works, and Travels Out of This Well-Crafted Bus Conversion

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Idaho photographer, musician, and carpenter Kyle Volkman renovated a 30-foot Blue Bird school bus and now lives in it full-time, affording him the freedom to do the things he enjoys—snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking and carpentry. His conversion, which runs on waste vegetable oil, is really lovely, with all kinds of custom woodwork he did himself.


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Husband and Wife Move From the Big City Into Housebus They Converted Themselves

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A 30% rent increase for their apartment in an up-and-coming Atlanta neighborhood inspired this husband and wife to consider other options. While they considered buying a tiny home, the huge initial cost was prohibitive, and thus the idea of the "housebus," or bus converted into a home, was born.

The result? "Before the move, we were often too busy hustling to have the lightning "Ah-ha!" moments of thoughtfulness we find ourselves with now. We're at peace here in a way we never were before."


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Thrifty Young Couple's Dream Home Is a $17K Converted School Bus

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This couple wanted to travel, and also wanted to save money to pay off their student debt. Here's proof that the two aren't mutually exclusive! The bus was bought and renovated for $17,600. It's a charming DIY renovation, and yet "another example of enterprising young people taking control of their lives into their own hands, and building something that works for them, rather than them working for something that might not necessarily fit them."


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Home Sweet Bus: Student Converts Old School Bus Into Versatile Mobile Home

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Don't let the minimalist interior fool you. This is a beautifully designed space with a lot of smart storage solutions. Little wonder that this mobile home was designed by architecture student Hank Butitta. His take:

In architecture school I was tired of drawing buildings that would never exist, for clients that were imaginary, and with details I didn’t fully understand. I prefer to work with my hands, exploring details thoroughly, and enjoy working/prototyping at full scale. So for my Masters Final Project I decided to buy a school bus and convert it into a tiny living space.

He has since taken the bus on a 5,000 mile tour around the midwestern and coastal United States, though it's since been parked permanently on Hank's family's land, where it's likely to remain for the rest of its life.


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This Couple's School Bus Is a Modern Motorhome for Working and Traveling

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This 2001 Thomas HDX school bus conversion is solar-powered and has a gorgeous, modern feel to it. One of its more unique features is the numerous doors, which allow it to be opened up. Plus this: A king-sized bed! We also love the roof hatch, which gives access to the roof which can be used for storage ... or stargazing.

12 Buses Converted Into Fabulous Tiny Homes on Wheels (2024)
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