It's the start of school season for many of us, and those big, yellow school buses are coming out in droves. But these trusty old vehicles aren't just for getting kids to school -- they can be converted into beautiful spaces to live in for college students and even families.
Filmmaker Felix Starck and musician Selima Taibi (and their dog Rudi) recently transformed this 1996 Thomas International school bus into a small, loft-style home on wheels, with the plan to travel from Alaska to South America. Watch their video tour:
They are calling their project Expedition Happiness, and explain:
We are originally from Germany and got tired of the big city life in Berlin. So we decided to buy a 20 year old school bus through the internet. Few weeks later we took a plane to the US and started converting the school bus into a motorhome, tiny house or loft on wheels - call it what you want. After 12 weeks of daily failure we are quite done with the conversion and now we are ready to take our beauty all the way down to South America. If we make it that far - I have no idea, probably not! Are we going to have a great time? For sure!
Their project is a real leap of faith right from the start -- the couple bought the 39-foot bus for USD $9,500 -- online, without seeing the bus beforehand. But both are no stranger to adventurous leaps into the unknown; Starck has cycled around the world in 365 days, creating a documentary on his journey that was the most popular doc in Germany last year. Taibi wrote the soundtrack to the film, and goes under the name Mogli.
Both didn't really have much construction experience, so they turned to online forums to find help. They got assistance from a North Carolina couple who'd also altered a school bus into a full-time residence. So far, they've done a great job of reusing salvaged materials like pallet wood, and remaking the interior into a livable space. To make it feel as open as possible, they put the sitting area and dining/work table right at the front -- lots of room for Rudi too.
The kitchen is well-organized, with an angled counter that breaks up the monotony a bit. There's plenty of storage and a decently sized refrigerator.
The bathroom is split into two at the middle of the bus -- a toilet room only large enough for one person to squeeze in, and a beautifully tiled shower room, covered with handmade tiles.
The bedroom features a DIY bed with storage drawers underneath, that's located conveniently under the emergency rooftop hatch that can be great for nighttime stargazing.
For power, the bus can be solar-powered or plugged into the grid. All the power equipment and Taibi's keyboard is at the back, which can be accessed via the rear door.
It's an impressive remodel of an old bus into a comfortable and creative home on wheels. The couple is now heading down past Canada, and are already making regular vlogs and blog posts of their journey. You can catch up with them via their website, Facebook and support them via Patreon.
To see more inspirational bus conversions, check out Kimberley's book, The Modern House Bus.