Student and Yogi Transform a Bus Into a Healthy Home

Extra care was taken to ensure healthy indoor air quality in this DIY bus conversion.

Savor It school bus conversion Savor It Skoolie interior

Savor It Skoolie

The fascinating thing about tiny houses—and in particular, van and bus conversions—is that there's often an even more fascinating story behind them. From architects who think outside the box, to nomadic, artistic families and barrier-busting entrepreneurs, each home-on-wheels has its special origination and motivation behind it.

For new bus homeowners Audrey and Paul, who are now living in a 36-foot-long bus they renovated themselves, going tiny by renovating their own bus was motivated by a desire to have more freedom. As they explain on Tiny House Talk, for them it was all about:

"The opportunity for freedom that comes with a tiny lifestyle… freedom to travel, freedom to live life through less of a consumer mindset, freedom from the expenses that go along with living in a brick and mortar home."

Here's a more detailed tour of the bus, via Tiny Home Tours:

Audrey, who is a yoga teacher, health coach, and remote worker, and Paul, who is a full-time student and a former Marine, bought their bus (a 1998 Thomas Saf-T-Liner bus with a Caterpillar engine) back in 2018 and spent 20 months refurbishing it. They have now nicknamed it "Savor It," which they recount on their blog as a motto stemming from an inside joke between them. When Paul came back from boot camp, he had developed a habit of wolfing down food, prompting Audrey's mother to say "Savor it!" That phrase became a meal-time staple, with Paul quipping one day that it should be the name of the bus. The couple says that:

"While it started partly as a joke, we have really come to look at ‘Savor It’ as a bigger part of this adventure than just the name of our bus. Our desire is that through the experience of converting and living in our tiny home, that we can live simply and really make the time to enjoy life. Savoring it."

The exterior of the original bus was bright yellow, which the couple has now repainted in varying shades of green. The outside of the bus is outfitted with rooftop solar panels, storage compartments, and an outdoor shower for hosing things down.

Savor It school bus conversion Savor It Skoolie exterior
Tiny Home Tours

The interior of the bus exudes a calm, homey feel, thanks to the extensive use of wood on the walls and the soft sea green cabinetry. The front part of the bus includes a lot of upholstered seating, as well as storage underneath. An interior with healthy air quality was a priority, says Audrey:

"We tried to be intentional about the products used in the build, such as non-toxic adhesives, paints, sealants, flooring and fabrics."
Savor It school bus conversion Savor It Skoolie interior
Tiny Home Tours

The dinette features a lovely lettered sign that the couple had initially wanted to hang up, but they ended up having it engraved on the tabletop instead.

Savor It school bus conversion Savor It Skoolie dinette table
Tiny Home Tours

The middle zone is taken up by the kitchen, which includes a Dometic propane stove and oven, a large sink, and an apartment-sized refrigerator. The couple made sure to integrate lots of storage in the drawers.

Savor It school bus conversion Savor It Skoolie kitchen
Savor It Skoolie

Beyond the kitchen, we have more storage, as well as the laundry area. Because the couple is currently located in an RV park near Paul's school, they have an electrical hook up to power their combination washer-dryer and their mini-split for heating and air conditioning. The bus also uses a mini-woodstove.

The counter here also doubles as a standing work desk—with integrated storage underneath.

Savor It school bus conversion Savor It Skoolie laundry and work area
Savor It Skoolie

Across from the laundry and work area is the bathroom, which the couple deliberately placed in the location of the emergency door. Besides having a window to light the space, this eliminates the need to drag the composting toilet tank through the rest of the bus when it's time to empty it. In addition, there is a tiled shower stall here with a skylight, which is closed off with a glass door.

Savor It school bus conversion Savor It Skoolie bathroom
Savor It Skoolie

At the rear of the bus is the couple's bedroom. Besides a clothes closet off to the side, there is built-in storage underneath the bed and in the cabinet that hides the wheel well. The bed platform can be folded up to provide access to the large freshwater tank.

Savor It school bus conversion Savor It Skoolie bedroom
Savor It Skoolie

The couple has since added a new feline member to the bus, Monroe. In the meantime, they have made some nearby excursions to visit natural destinations, but plan to mostly stay put until Paul has finished school, and have these words of advice for those thinking of converting a bus into a full-time home:

You can do it! It’s not impossible but it will be more time, money and effort than what you think. There are so many resources out there on how to convert a bus. Plus the community is awesome! [..] Someone wiser and further along in their build than us once said, 'You’re going to want to quit and that’s okay.' Sometimes you just need to take a break, even when you feel like you should be working on the build.

To see more or to find out how the couple converted their bus, visit the Savor It blog, YouTube, and Instagram.