Before & After: A Classic School Bus Becomes This Family of Four’s Home on the Road
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Before & After: A Classic School Bus Becomes This Family of Four’s Home on the Road

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By Anna Squier
With a gray exterior and crisp, white shiplap interiors, this Blue Bird All American skoolie is a stylish home base for a traveling family.

Having spent 16 years living and working in Africa with trips to the States to visit friends and family every year, Elizabeth J.W. Spencer and her husband wanted a home that could move them coast to coast across America. 

It was actually Elizabeth’s husband who suggested, "Let's build a skoolie"—which, Elizabeth soon learned, is the term for a school bus converted into a tiny home. And so, they did just that. With the help of Wind River Tiny Homes, a pioneer builder of custom and sustainable tiny homes, they transformed a 250-square-foot bus into a modern home on wheels. 

Before

What was once an iconic Blue Bird All American school bus filled with rows of seats was completely converted into a comfortable family home. Gutted down to its shell, the bus was an open floor plan for building functional living and sleeping spaces for Elizabeth, her husband, their one-year-old, and their pup Ginger.

Before: The Blue Bird All American school bus was  decked out in the traditional yellow, black, and white hues.

Before: The Blue Bird All American school bus was decked out in the traditional yellow, black, and white hues.

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Before: The original interior was industrial and bare, lacking warmth or any touch of home.  Windows extended the whole length of both sides of the bus, as well as the rear.

Before: The original interior was industrial and bare, lacking warmth or any touch of home. Windows extended the whole length of both sides of the bus, as well as the rear.

Before: The interior of the original bus minus the traditional rows of bus seats. It was a wide open space to be transformed into a new home on wheels.

Before: The interior of the original bus minus the traditional rows of bus seats. It was a wide open space to be transformed into a new home on wheels.

Wind River Tiny Homes helped this young family transform an open bus shell into functional living spaces.  Every square inch of the bus was maximized for the best use.

Wind River Tiny Homes helped this young family transform an open bus shell into functional living spaces. Every square inch of the bus was maximized for the best use.

After

White shiplap wraps the interior walls and ceiling, while dark wood flooring extends the length of the bus. An open living space, complete with lounge seating, a dining room, and contemporary kitchen, anchor the front of the bus.  

The original windows were removed and replaced with thoughtfully positioned new ones, providing privacy while still drawing in daylight. The exterior of the bus was filled in and painted a serene, gray blue with white trim.

The original windows were removed and replaced with thoughtfully positioned new ones, providing privacy while still drawing in daylight. The exterior of the bus was filled in and painted a serene, gray blue with white trim.

This young family of four has fully embraced life on the road with their newly revamped skoolie.

This young family of four has fully embraced life on the road with their newly revamped skoolie.

The open living space has all the elements of a home in a tiny space—kitchen, dining, and living.  For added flexibility, the couch turns into a bed and a dining table.

The open living space has all the elements of a home in a tiny space—kitchen, dining, and living. For added flexibility, the couch turns into a bed and a dining table.

Floating wood shelves on brass brackets provide additional storage space while leaving the bus feeling open and airy. A butcher block top, subway tile, and stainless steel sink bring traditional, homey kitchen elements into this school bus.

Floating wood shelves on brass brackets provide additional storage space while leaving the bus feeling open and airy. A butcher block top, subway tile, and stainless steel sink bring traditional, homey kitchen elements into this school bus.

The kitchen is complete with all the cooking necessities—fridge, range, hood—and decorated with modern black cabinets, brass hardware, and butcher block counters.

The kitchen is complete with all the cooking necessities—fridge, range, hood—and decorated with modern black cabinets, brass hardware, and butcher block counters.

With natural wood elements, shiplap siding on both the walls and ceiling, and modern  fixtures, the bus has really transformed into a cozy, comfortable home.

With natural wood elements, shiplap siding on both the walls and ceiling, and modern fixtures, the bus has really transformed into a cozy, comfortable home.

The red door has become one of the family's favorite design elements.

The red door has become one of the family's favorite design elements.

<span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, &quot;Segoe UI&quot;, Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, &quot;Helvetica Neue&quot;, sans-serif;">Sleeping spaces, closets, and small bathroom are located at the rear of the bus. The couple's style can be seen through the warm colors, patterned textiles, and natural elements that accent the cozy living spaces.</span>

Sleeping spaces, closets, and small bathroom are located at the rear of the bus. The couple's style can be seen through the warm colors, patterned textiles, and natural elements that accent the cozy living spaces.

A small, wall-mounted sink  and mirror adorn the tiny bathroom on the bus.

A small, wall-mounted sink and mirror adorn the tiny bathroom on the bus.

A lofted bed provides plenty of space in the master bedroom. Full-height closet walls create a walk-in closet that maximizes storage.

A lofted bed provides plenty of space in the master bedroom. Full-height closet walls create a walk-in closet that maximizes storage.

A small work surface and task light designate this corner of the bus as the office zone.  The couple can keep up on their work while on the road.

A small work surface and task light designate this corner of the bus as the office zone. The couple can keep up on their work while on the road.

The conversion was completed in November 2018, and the couple hit the road over the winter to see friends and family all across the States. This young family has embraced their sense of adventure, creating a life on the road in their very own skoolie. 

New adventures&nbsp; are just outside the family's new front door.

New adventures  are just outside the family's new front door.

To follow along with the Spencer family's adventures and learn more about the trials and tribulations of bus life, you can follow along through Elizabeth's blog Making Me Brave.

Related Reading: 

A Couple Convert An Old School Bus Into A Light and Efficient Family Home

Before & After: A Michigan Couple Turn a School Bus Into an Adventure Mobile

Project Credits:

Builder / General Contractor: Wind River Tiny Homes / @windrivertinyhomes

Interior Design: Wind River Tiny Homes