12 Buses Converted Into Fabulous Tiny Homes on Wheels

Bus with bikes on front rack parked near a mountain

Alex Eggermont / Getty Images

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 apartments and tiny homes, adaptively reused spaces, and even treehouses! And for those who aren't rooted to a single location, converted vans and buses 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

Bedroom in school bus converted tiny house

Von Thompsons

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. See it all here: Family converts school bus into beautiful cottage on wheels

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Old school bus converted into loft is traveling from Alaska to South America

A school bus on the road

Expedition Happiness / Youtube

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 now plan to travel from Alaska to South America. Sold! See it all here: Old school bus converted into loft is traveling from Alaska to South America

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Traveling family raises the roof on this brilliant off-grid bus conversion

Seating area in school bus converted tiny house

 Midwest Wanderers

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 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. See it all here: Traveling family raises the roof on this brilliant off-grid bus conversion

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Adventure-loving couple travel & work in this beautiful bus conversion

School bus converted into a tiny house

Outside Found

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! See more photos here: Adventure-loving couple travel & work in this beautiful bus conversion

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"Big Bertha" is modern school bus conversion that's home to family of 5

School bus converted into a tiny house

BerthaTV

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 has been 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

School bus converted into a tiny house

Charles Kern / Art Builders Guild

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. Check out Charles' story and his regal Queen, here: Professional bus homebuilder is at home – on a converted bus

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Couple travels full-time with off-grid school bus tiny home

School bus converted into a tiny house

We Got Schooled

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. All of which you can see here:

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Carpenter lives, works and travels out of this well-crafted bus conversion

School bus converted into a tiny house

Kyle Volkman

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 vegetable oil – is really lovely, with all kinds of custom woodwork he did himself, more of which you can see here: Carpenter lives, works & travels out of this well-crafted bus conversion.

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Husband and wife move from the big city into Housebus they converted themselves

School bus converted into a tiny house with a dog

Housebus

A 30 percent 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" was borne. 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..." See more here: Husband & wife move from the big city into 'Housebus' they converted themselves

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Thrifty young couple's dream home is a $17K converted school bus

Kitchen of a school bus turned into a tiny house

Adventure or Bust

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." See more Thrifty young couple's dream home is a $17K converted school bus

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Home sweet bus: Student converts old school bus into versatile mobile home

Bedroom area of school bus tuned into a tiny house

Justin Evidon

Don't let the minimalist interior fool you, this is a beautifully design space with a lot of smart storage solutions. Little wonder that is was designed by an architecture student by the name of 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. See more here:

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This couple's school bus is a modern motorhome for working and traveling in

Modern looking school bus converted to a tiny house

Natural State Nomads

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. See details here: This couple's school bus is a modern motorhome for working & traveling in