Before and After: A Standard School Bus Gets a Stylish New Life as a Tiny Home on Wheels
September is Transformation Month at Apartment Therapy! That means every day, we’re sharing a new before & after to show the power of transformations at home. Head over here to see them all!
When Brooke Cook came across a school bus converted into a tiny home on Instagram, she was smitten. Almost immediately, she and her husband Daniel started searching for a potential bus they could turn into a tiny house of their own.
“We had lots of incentives to go tiny and mobile,” writes Brooke. “We hated our long commutes into downtown Nashville, we didn’t feel comfortable buying a traditional home in Nashville’s skyrocketing housing market, and we love to travel. We also previously lived out of 60-liter backpacks for months while doing mission work in southeast Asia and southern Africa, so downsizing was no hardship for us.”
In the summer of 2018, the couple purchased a 1999 37-foot-long school bus on Craigslist for $3,000 and came up with a plan to completely renovate it in six months. Except for hiring an electrician to handle the basic wiring, they did all of the work themselves, from demo to construction to repainting the exterior. They learned everything as they went along: carpentry, plumbing, tiling, and so on. While they didn’t face any major setbacks throughout the process, they did underestimate how long their reno would take—they ended up spending a little over a year’s worth of weekends on it.
Even though the bus is only 250 square feet, there’s now room for a king-sized bed, a combination washer/dryer, and a 6-foot-long, gorgeous built-in desk from IKEA. The bus is heated with a tiny wood stove, and the couple has a a shower and composting toilet and uses propane to fuel the refrigerator and range. Beyond the initial cost of the bus, Brooke and Daniel spent about $25,000 on the conversion and a solar setup.
“We love how functional, bright, and open our bus is,” writes Brooke. “Because we designed everything ourselves, it almost perfectly fits our wants and needs.”
Thank you for sharing, Brooke!