This Couple Took A Grungy Old School Bus And Turned It Into An Adorable Home On Wheels!
Most of us rode the school bus when we were kids and almost all of us could agree on one thing, they were as boring as…well, school buses. They all had to be the same and look exactly the same.
A bus on one side of the United States would most likely look identical to one that was on the other side of the country. There wasn’t a whole lot to them, just a bunch of high-backed bench seats and those windows you could never quite get open properly.
They are blank canvases to say the least, which is actually a good thing! Think about it, with a blank canvas you can do practically anything that you want. You can transform an old school bus into anything that you can think of.
You’re about to meet a lovely young couple named Maria and Chase, two people who have a sense of adventure and a knack for turning a blank canvas into an absolute masterpiece. They took a plain old yellow school bus and turned it into a home that anyone would love to have!
Let’s start off by meeting Maria and Chase. These two have taken creativity to an entirely whole new level.
I have seen a lot of DIY campers in my time and I have to say, what they are about to do with that yellow monstrosity behind them is nothing short of a work of art. What started out as just a bus is about to become something so much more.
They were able to take something that you would loathe to sit in every morning and every afternoon and turn it into something that you would pay to sit in. Heck, something you would pay to sleep in…
In fact, they’re going to turn it into something that they actually do sleep in every night – a house! Read on to see how they did it!
Let’s start with one of their most amazing features. Yes, folks, Chase and Maria went and put a full-size kitchen into a school bus. I know what you are thinking – there isn’t enough room on a school bus for that sort of thing.
Actually, when you take something meant to hold sixty people and make it a lovely home for two you’d be surprised at what you can fit into one of these things! They packed a lot more in here than you think!
The very first thing that you are going to have to do if you are going to turn a bus into a home like Chase and Maria is to remove everything that makes it a school bus. That meant they had to pull out the seats, the little path that goes down the middle of the aisle, everything.
After all, you can’t sleep comfortably at night when there are bus seats bolted to the floor! Chase said that removing these was a lot more labor-intensive than he thought it was going to be.
Once the seats got removed, it was time to paint the interior. As someone with experience with painting houses, I totally get Maria’s desire to paint the interior white.
White is always the perfect base to start any project from, and you can always paint over it if you don’t like how it looks. Also, it is a great little way to beat the heat in the summer since white reflects heat.
Next came installing the flooring. Chase and Maria found this wonderful wooden flooring that would fit into the bus like a hand into a glove. After all, the bus is really just a big rectangle and the flooring pieces are just big rectangles, too.
Installing it in small pieces like this is always a good idea. If one piece gets damaged, it always ends up being really easy to replace. I had to find out the hard way by dropping a bowling ball on mine…
The average American school bus is somewhere around forty-five feet long, so when you discount the driver’s seat you have around thirty-five feet to work with. That may not seem like a lot but they have installed that much flooring into a space that big. Wow!
This bus, completely cleaned out, is bigger than some apartments I have had. Shoot just with the flooring installed I would consider this one a success. However, we are far from finished and they have plenty more surprises for us!
A house at its absolute minimum is four walls and a roof. They have the roof already, now it is time for the walls.
Sure, Maria and Chase could go the simple route and use the metal walls of the bus itself and stop there. They COULD do that, but it wouldn’t look nearly as good. They decided to make this bus look as much like a home as possible and use the walls of the bus to build an absolutely wonderful interior.
The metal walls of the bus are working great as a foundation to build the rest of the house around. Just like any other building, they are starting with a wooden skeleton that they are slowly adding to.
Now you might be thinking to yourself that this would take a long time to put together. You’re right. It’s not something to worry about though – this bus is literally the size of a house. But like our mothers always said, good things come to those who wait!
It looks from the angle of this photo that Maria and Chase are working on something underneath the bus. If I know my bus renovations, this means that they are working on something related to the plumbing.
This is definitely one of the parts of the job where they are going to want to take their sweet time getting this one right. If you have an engine seize up on you in the middle of nowhere, you can find someone to fix it. It’s a lot harder to find someone to fix the plumbing on a converted school bus!
Getting a closer look at the underside of the bus, we’re able to get a clearer picture of what is going on with the plumbing system. These pipes appear to be much bigger around than most plumbing systems I have seen.
That must mean that they are planning on making this bad boy something far greater than the run of the mill conversion we see with a lot of vans. Just take a look at that water tank! That thing looks like it holds enough water to take a long shower with.
Putting some of the creature comforts into the bus is definitely a chore and a half, but that work is always worth it. Like any project I have ever worked on, you always use what you are working on for a lot longer than you worked to make it just perfect.
This little piece of material looks like a bit of flooring. I’m not sure exactly what they plan on doing with it right now but it seems like they are making sure that no stone goes unturned when it comes to their comfort.
Now, wait just a darned minute. That doesn’t look like a refrigerator I have ever seen in any conversion I have ever done.
Most of the conversions that I have seen usually have a small mini-fridge as you would have in a college dorm room. This one, on the other hand, looks like it happens to be just the freezer part. Wait, they couldn’t POSSIBLY be putting a whole regular sized fridge in this thing, could they? We’re gonna have to keep going and find out…
While we are touring around the bus being absolutely astounded by everything that Chase and Maria are doing, we stumble into something that is just absolutely astounding. Someone is tiling, I REPEAT, tiling a wall in what looks like a bathroom for a shower.
A full size, tile shower. This is just absolutely amazing. When you think about it, they do have more than enough headroom. When Maria and Chase are going for points in the “impress everyone” department, they really lean into the concept.
Oh, I was so astounded by the idea that they were installing a tile shower into the full bathroom on a bus that I forgot to also mention that they are also installing a full-sized toilet. You know, like the one you have at home!
Think about this: if you factor in the amount of space that they have from the front to the back of the bus, there is more than enough room to install everything that one could ever want.
Alright folks, back to this shower. As you can see, the installation of the tiles is going just as smoothly as any other tile installation of any shower that you might see in any new home construction.
Doing something like this under any circumstances is an art and a half because if you don’t have something exactly right you will eventually lose the whole wall from the wood behind the tiles rotting out. I know Maria and Chase want to get this thing finished, but it is good they are taking their time with this part.
From floor to ceiling they have an amazing tiled shower. If you got any closer and took the picture, nobody but you would know that this isn’t part of a bus construction. They would think that this was part of a normal home.
That is probably the most impressive thing about this particular conversion. From the inside looking out, you would have to look really hard to see that it was a bus you were standing in.
Speaking of looking at things from the outside, it is time to go on the outside and make sure that things look good around every inch of the bus. After all, what is any good home without a good paint job?
School buses tend to take a bit of extra work to properly paint over because that yellow does tend to poke out through lighter colors. That’s why Chase is sanding down as much of the old paint as he possibly can so the paint job they do to the outside is a success on the first try!
Painting this behemoth is proving to be a lot of work, but it will all be worth it in the end. Chase and Maria have decided to paint the exterior of the bus white.
That’s a smart decision as in most school buses weren’t equipped with air conditioning as anyone who went to public school could tell you. Which is why it was a smart decision to choose a color that will reflect heat and light instead of absorbing it.
Painting a school bus couldn’t be that hard of a task right? I mean, it’s just like painting a house. Just get a can and a roller and off you go.
Actually, there’s a lot more nuance that one would think when it came to something like this. You have a lot of small nooks and crannies to make sure you don’t miss….
And did I mention that you also have to be willing to throw a tarp over the bus if it starts raining on a moment’s notice? Yep, that’s part of it too!
Luckily, Maria and Chase have got several friends that are helping them with this job that they were able to enlist in getting the tarp over the bus. As anyone who has ever painted anything knows, you get more than a few errant drops of rain on a paint job and the whole thing is ruined!
With the tarp successfully placed over the school bus, Maria and Chase are going to head for a much drier locale to think about what they would want to place on the bus. They are going to have a lot more room than one would think.
They already have a fridge, a fully working toilet, and a stand-up shower. They are starting to run out of things to put into this amazing home away from home. Or are they?
Before the couple started thinking about what more they could put inside the bus, they had to start thinking about what they were going to put on top of the bus. Specifically, this set of solar panels.
It’s a pretty good idea to have as many solar panels as one could have on a project this large. You are going to have a lot of room for storing batteries so if you have to spend a few days on battery power you won’t have any loss of comfort whatsoever. Also, they are going to have a lot of kitchen-sized appliances on the bus, so they will need all the help they can get powering it all!
When you are installing solar panels, the most important thing, aside from plugging everything in, is making sure that they are secured to the roof of the bus. This might be as important as keeping your hand on the wheel at all times while driving.
Let’s be serious here for a moment, solar panels are not cheap. Sure, they pay off in the end but they require a lot of initial investment. The last thing that you want is one of them falling off while driving or during a storm because they weren’t secured tightly enough!
There’s not all that much to it when it comes to fastening them down. It’s almost like playing with Erector sets as a kid. Just bolt thing A to thing B, and screw thing B into thing C.
This way, Chase and Maria will have a practically unlimited source of power. All they have to do is keep fuel in the gas tank of the bus and water in that big tank we saw earlier and they will be all ready to go!
Well, when I said that they were heading in earlier during the rain to think about what they were going to put into the bus as another creature comfort, I didn’t think it was going to be this big.
I thought it was going to be a pop-up television or something. This is way cooler! They took a little bit of the leftover wood from earlier in the project and have made a deck that they have attached to the roof of the van. Now when they are making their stops for the night they can climb up to the top and watch the sun go down on this amazing deck.
This is just amazing. The first apartment I ever lived in had less room in the kitchen than this place. If you didn’t know any better you would really think that this was a kitchen in someone’s home.
I mean, how many conversions do you see with this many cabinets? Or this much counter space? Or a FULL-SIZE REFRIGERATOR?
Despite having enough room to qualify as a small house, Maria and Chase are doing everything that they can to make sure that they use every inch of their new home to its ultimate potential.
Here, you see Chase screwing some small baskets into the wall of the kitchen. This is always a good idea on any conversion project because you can arrange these from floor to ceiling and make good use out of space you were otherwise not going to use!
Now onto Maria giving the interior of the kitchen some more homey touches. The green that they are painting the cabinets is definitely a wonderful touch.
All of the paint that they are using on the inside is interior paint that they would have used on any other home renovation project. Also, being a slightly darker color, you won’t have to clean it nearly as often.
What would any good home be without a bed to sleep in at night? It looks like Chase and Maria have decided to place their bed on sideways instead of aligning with the nose and nail of the bus. This is actually a good idea for several reasons.
If we are talking about using every inch of the bus to its fullest, you can install what looks like a queen size mattress and not have to permanently give up any space during the time when you aren’t sleeping. Speaking of when you aren’t sleeping…
…they can remove the center part of the bed and it converts into a lovely series of couches. We see this a lot with more traditional motorhomes.
However, they have put a lot more personal touches into theirs and it seems that they were easily able to put in whatever size bed that they want. That way, they are comfortable day or night!
Once again, the name of the game on just about any conversion project is space. More importantly, how can you make use out of every inch of space you have.
That wall was going to have to be there whether they were doing to be storing anything there or not. Since it was going to have to be there anyway, might as well press it into service holding a laptop or two!
Speaking of making the most of every single inch of space, Chase and Maria have made these wonderful little cubbyholes under each one of the couches. That’s a pretty good idea, and since they were going to be there anyway they might as well make use of them!
With the two of them living in the bus and the two giant spaces under the couches, they can each have their own little space to store whatever they like. It’s like they have their own personal dressers.
You tell me right now if you were to look at this picture blind that you would think the person taking it was standing in an old school bus. If you said that you did you’d be lying to yourself!
On first look, there is almost no way anyone would be able to say that this looks like anything but the kitchen of a small apartment. Just imagine coming off a long hike at the end of a long day and cooking a meal in this beauty of a kitchen.
Then when you were done eating, you would be able to clean up in this full shower that you would think was in the bathroom of any residential home in the country. It is just mind-blowing that they were able to put something like this into a school bus!
It just goes to show you what you can do if you really put your mind to it. What an absolutely amazing shower!
Just like any other shower that any of us would have in our home or apartment, it has the drain leading to one of the tanks that they have under the bus. Remember those pipes from earlier?
Yep, they were to help carry greywater from the drains in the shower and the sink so that they can properly dispose of it when they get somewhere safe. It’s absolutely stunning what they have done here.
Of course, any trip to the bathroom needs to come with some privacy. You can’t have everyone looking at you while you are doing your business! Good thing they installed this simple privacy curtain.
Also, that little towel rack that they hung up is absolutely perfect. It’s amazing how many wonderful touches they have added to this project that took just a minute of thought and a few minutes of installation!
More storage shelves make perfect sense here given that from the size of this bus they are going to be able to stay in this for very long periods of time. Also, it’s big enough to work from home in, so they might as well put together a nice desk to work on.
You don’t need a fancy desk that is nine feet long. Sometimes all you need is no bigger than this. By the way, look at the little stool that you can sit on while at the desk. The seat actually comes off to reveal even more storage space!
Oh, I didn’t mean to spring this on you so close to the end of the road, but there is one more surprise. What you are looking at right now is actually a second bed!
Yes, they didn’t tell me about this until way late in the game but Maria and Chase actually surprised us with a second bed. They have enough room to sleep four people comfortably on this monster!
From a second bedroom to a full-size bathroom, a giant refrigerator and a kitchen you could cook Thanksgiving dinner in, this bus-turned-home has it all! It is no surprise that they are able to be so happy in something like this.
If you didn’t know it was a bus from the pictures, nobody would ever be able to convince you. This home is truly wonderful!
Well, it looks like there is nothing left to do but sit back and enjoy the view! They have all the power, all the room, and all the storage that they need.
All that’s left is to climb up to the patio, put an umbrella up, and enjoy everything that is out there to see. My goodness, it sure is beautiful, isn’t it?