This couple ditched the burbs to travel in a converted school bus
It’s amazing how one experience or event can completely change the trajectory of our lives, as was the case for Nick and Frankie.
After watching a documentary on Netflix about a couple who traveled the US with their dog in a converted school bus, they were inspired to do the same.
At the time, they were living in the suburbs of Chicago, each working 60+ hours a week, and knew they wanted more from life. They craved more adventure, more experiences, and more quality time with each other and their 3 pups.
Before long, they were the proud owners of a 38-foot school bus they purchased for $5k at an auction.
“We both have always wanted travel and thought this could be a way of achieving that. I (Frankie) already had a remote job, so it was just a matter of finding Nick a remote job. He ended up finding a physical job in Colorado. Luckily, Colorado is pretty RV friendly and has a lot of parks and campgrounds to choose from. We move from park to park and take trips deeper into Colorado on the weekends. In the future, we hope to position ourselves financially so we can live and work on the road full-time.”
They hired Skoolie to build out the bus for them, a process that took 8 months. The remodel included a complete transformation of the interior and exterior, along with a 20-foot roof raise. It cost them $55k, but if you’re looking to do something similar yourself, the materials for their conversion cost roughly $30k.
The interior is now modern, bright, and beautiful and it’s difficult to imagine this home on wheels once served as a mode of transportation for students. They have enough solar power to go off-grid, and their wood-burning stove helps keep them warm during the Colorado winter.
I’m especially in love with the design of their tiny kitchen and the clever storage solutions they have incorporated, including the small mesh bags holding fruits and veggies. It was a DIY project using a wood dowel and hooks from Walmart, and small laundry bags from the Dollar Tree. How genius is that?!
If you’re considering life on the road, this couple and their converted school bus are sure to inspire!
Converted School Bus with a casual boho interior
Do you travel or are you stationary?
Both – currently stationary
How would you describe your decorating style?
I would say my decorating style is thrifty-boho-farmhouse. I love a good deal and most of our decor is from thrift stores or are DIY projects.
Where you do draw your inspiration from?
I get a lot of inspiration from Instagram and Pinterest, but for the most part I love to come up with ideas while thrifting and use what I find as inspiration for projects.
What was most challenging about your converted school bus renovation?
For us, the most challenging part about the renovation was not being near it. The builders had the bus in North Carolina, while we lived in Illinois. It was hard not being able to change things as we go with the build.
What project made the most difference?
We originally had a 10ft couch and a 4ft couch. The 4ft couch somewhat crowded the entrance so we decided to remove it. It made a huge difference for us because it made the bus even more open.
What piece of advice would you give someone considering living in a converted school bus?
I would recommend to create a lot of different layouts before making your final decision. We used sketch.up and roomsketcher as well as taped out the design in our house.
What’s your favorite aspect of tiny living?
Living tiny on wheels has provided us the ability to move our home wherever we want or need to go. Mobility is definitely our favorite aspect of tiny living so far.
What’s your least favorite aspect?
Our least favorite aspect is probably having to dump and fill our tanks and all-around bus maintenance. It’s really not that bad, but it if we had to choose our least favorite aspect, that would be it.
Do you have any future projects or changes planned for the interior?
We chose to have the builders leave our back bedroom empty so that we could live in the space for a bit and then decide on the final layout. At the moment, we have a full-size mattress and an 8-cube dresser. In the future, we would like to have a pullout sofa-bed, desk, and closet.
What is something you’ve learned about yourself since going tiny?
We have learned that we don’t need half the stuff we think we need. It feels so good to downsize and have less. We love living tiny and are so happy we have found this way of life.
What has been your favorite place to explore or a place you are excited to explore in the future?
Our favorite place to explore so far has been the Rocky Mountain National Park. In the future, we are excited to head south. We love the beach and warm weather year-round.
Most asked about product sources:
We get asked about our refrigerator, stove, flooring, wood stove, toilet, and showerhead. Links to products provided below.
Follow Frankie and Nick (@happyhomebodies)
Follow Frankie and Nick on Instagram to learn more about their converted school bus and transition to life on the road. Nick recently took a remote job, so I’m excited to see what this down to earth couple has planned next!