7 Skillful School Bus Conversions That Get an A-Plus in Our Book

7 Skillful School Bus Conversions That Get an A-Plus in Our Book

By Marissa Hermanson
Revived and retrofitted as delightful tiny homes, these skoolies receive top marks.

Back-to-school season has us reminiscing about our favorite school bus conversions—aka skoolies. These Internationals and Blue Birds have been stripped down to their hulls and custom-built for life on the open road. With cozy sleeping quarters, multipurpose nooks, and full baths and kitchens, some of these spaces are even equipped to house a family of six so everyone—including Fido—can come along for the ride.

Gabriel and Debbie Mayes’s Skoolie for Six

A family of six downsized from a 5,000-square-foot house to a 250-square-foot skoolie that they renovated themselves. With a neutral color scheme and warm wood accents, the home-on-wheels feels large and homey. A layout with sleeping quarters in the back and the living, dining, and kitchen areas in the front gives this space definition and a thoughtful flow.  

A Michigan couple renovated a 1992 International school bus, transforming it into their adventure vehicle. The duo embraced reclaimed materials and items during the DIY build-out, reusing foam from the school bus seats to create banquette cushions and salvaging a 1950s stove from an old RV. To extend their space, they added a rooftop deck, giving themselves a place to stargaze and store their paddle boards. 

This family of five spent $30,000 and several months converting a 1999 Blue Bird school bus into a home-on-wheels. What started as a vacation vehicle is now the family’s full-time residence. A neutral color scheme, bright white walls, and plenty of windows makes this small 320-square-foot home appear big and bright.  

A couple and their toddler wanted to stay connected to family across the country, so they decided a roving tiny home was the life for them. The front of the bus has an open-concept layout with the living, kitchen, and dining areas all flowing together. And closed off in the back of the bus, you’ll find cozy sleeping areas, storage, a bathroom, and a standing desk for remote working.

The owners of this 38-foot-long skoolie drew their inspiration from modern Scandinavian design, which they brought to life with light wood, clean lines, black hardware, along with black-and-white textiles. The 1980s-era school bus includes all the comforts of home, such as a bathroom with a full shower, washing machine, and a private principal suite—a cozy vacation home for a family of five.

This family of four maximized space within their 234-square-foot skoolie by creating smart storage options—overhead bins, shelves galore, reclaimed lockers, baskets that attach to the wall, and even a cool display to show off plant clippings. Forgoing a big kitchen and using a pressure cooker and stovetop to do most of their cooking, this family saved themselves a ton of space.

A Brooklyn-based couple did their build-out in the big city after scoring a 2000 Bluebird off Facebook Marketplace. Spending around $20,000 for the bus itself and the renovation, the duo DIY'ed the skoolie from top to bottom. They were hands-on with even the smallest details, from sewing the seat cushions to hand-stenciling the faux marble countertops. Materials like terra cotta, baltic birch, and cane give this tiny home a warm, inviting vibe.

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