Renovated School Bus Becomes Home for Family of 6 (PHOTOS)

Michele Zipp | Mar 19, 2015 Home & Garden
Renovated School Bus Becomes Home for Family of 6 (PHOTOS)

school bus

Many of us talk about downsizing, about simplifying, about selling all our stuff and living in a tiny space. But could you really do it? The Nelson family did and they are a family of six. Parents Nina and Ian and their four kids bought an old school bus they called Skoolie and transformed it in the place they call home. Take look inside.

It took months to renovate Skoolie, but once completed it became one of the coolest homes on wheels. Plus, it allowed the Nelsons to travel all over the country in their mobile home. What an adventure!

Would you and your family be able to live in the space of Skoolie?

Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

  • Gutting the bus


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    The bus was purchased in 2012, and it needed to be gutted to open up the 275 square feet of living space. Obviously, the 40-foot long bus needed everything. Their budget was $8,500 for the purchase and renovation of the bus, and they managed a near complete conversion for that amount.

  • Installing the bathroom


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    Behold the start of the most private "room" on this bus. As most parents know, bathroom privacy doesn't really exist anyway.

  • Adding light fixtures


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    A bus has that curved roof, making it quite adorable. It's amazing what a little white paint can do.

  • View toward the back


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    This is a view toward the back of the bus, which is being transformed into the bedroom areas. The parents bed will be on that lofted space under the window, with bunk beds made in front of it.


  • Sleeping quarters


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    When you have young kids, sleeping close is a good thing. It seems everyone ends up in the same bed a lot of the time, but in this case, the beds are all so close, everyone should feel cozy in their own nook.

  • Storage


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    When moving into the bus, the kids were told to fill one box of toys -- that's it. This is the toy storage under the parents' bed.

  • Kid time


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    See? Always end up in mom and dad's bed! I love how bright and airy it feels. This shows how a small living space doesn't have to feel cramped.

  • Kitchen


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    This is a view of the kitchen toward the back bedroom area. I've lived in NYC apartments with less kitchen space than this.

  • View to the front


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    Here's the view from the sleeping quarters up to the front.

  • Shalom Y'all


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    This really is a darling kitchen with a nod to Nina's blog Shalom Mama. The sign on the countertop reads "Shalom Y'all." When the stove isn't in use, the countertop extends over it for more space.

  • A very welcoming entrance


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    A nice view of the countertop and sink, along with Skoolie's front door. The green curtains set against the white tiles is lovely.

  • Sitting/eating area


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    This is the sitting area, and you may be wondering why the floor looks the way it does. A table pops up when needed, and here is it easily stored below.

  • Table up


    Image via Nina Nelson/Instagram

    Here you can see the table popped up. Clever!

  • Warmth


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    A pretty white electric fireplace helps keep the family warm. Cozy!

  • The shower


    Image via Nina Nelson/Instagram

    Metal basin as a tub? No problem! This is the family's shower, which I'll admit is the one worrisome feature if I were to live in a bus. Then again, you'd certainly conserve water and not waste time in this bath, so that's a plus.

  • Life on the bus


    Image via Nina Nelson/Instagram

    It really does look like home sweet home.

  • Life moments happen here


    Image via Nina Nelson/Instagram

    This is how the family celebrated Ava's birthday. I love seeing the completed bus from this angle with the front windows shining all that sun inside.

  • The Nelson family


    Image via Nina Nelson/Flickr

    Isaiah, Ella, Eva, Issac, and parents Ian and Nina in their home. They lived in Skoolie for one year -- they traveled and the kids were homeschooled (bus-schooled technically or should we say Skoolie-schooled?). What an incredible experience. The Nelsons had to find a stationary residence when Ian took a new job. 

    Nina shared that this adventure brought her family closer and they all spent more time outside -- which is exactly what we all need. She also said the downsizing helped with valuing the things she does have and of course, less to clean! Less to clean means more time outside and with the family.

    They are now settled into a home and rent out Skoolie as a B&B. And of course it's on standby for when they want to take their next adventure on wheels.

    Learn more about Nina at Shalom Mama.

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