This Maximalist Minibus Might be the Most Colorful Tiny Home on Wheels

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Mary Feuer

Name: Mary Feuer and my dog Cowboy
Location: Mobile – currently in North Waltham, MA
Type of home: Converted short school bus
Size: 75 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year

Tell us a little (or a lot) about your home and the people who live there: In 2012, I was building a career as a screenwriter, something I’d come to pretty late in life. I had written some B-movie scripts for hire, none of which got made, then a TV show, which did. Around that time, someone said to me, “Gosh, you must be so happy—you’re living your dream writing for TV!” Hmm. Happy, I thought. Yeah, not so much. At the time, my life was one long endless ball of twined-up stress.

Credit: Mary Feuer
The bus doubles as a pop-up shop at events like the Brimfield Antique Market; this angle shows what it looks like when it's a working bus!

A chance visit to an antique mall sent me spinning in a different direction. I’d always been a vintage-y kind of girl, so I rented a booth, and to my surprise I quickly developed a following. Shortly thereafter, I opened my brick-and-mortar shop. I chose the name Cracked Vessel because it embodied my struggle to accept the beauty of imperfection.

Maintaining a physical store and selling online took an incredible amount of energy. I always said, if I ever change the shop name, it’s going to be Sisyphus, after that guy who kept rolling the rock up the hill. I loved it, but it was too much. Pretty soon my bottom line was so big there was no way for me to have any fun, as I was always struggling to keep the expenses covered.

Credit: Mary Feuer

The decision to close the physical store did not come lightly. Even writing this, my stomach still churns and my heart sinks thinking about it. But I couldn’t give it the love it needed when my entire life had become about paying the rent. It was time for a new chapter.

Throughout the past few decades my homes have gotten smaller and smaller, by choice. When I made the decision to close the store, I first considered building a tiny house. But when I saw some of the amazing little skoolies on YouTube, I fell in love—both with the vehicles and with the idea that I could travel and be home at the same time. I found a 1991 four-window short bus for sale on Facebook. At just 75 square feet of living space, the bus was the perfect next chapter.

Credit: Mary Feuer
"I'd say my favorite feature is the sink, with its Talavera blue color and gooseneck faucet."

I bought it, did a super basic conversion, closed the store, moved into the bus with my dog, Cowboy, and sold vintage out of it at the local street fair. Shortly after I became a full-time bus dweller my mom called me, asking me to come home. So I hopped in the bus (his name was Buster at the time, though it’s since been changed to Max) and embarked on a cross country excursion that ended when I reached her driveway in Massachusetts. And that’s where Cowboy and I are now. We’re living in the suburbs of Boston, doing short trips when we can, having a blast creating the tiny maximalist home of our dreams one project at a time.

Credit: Mary Feuer

I prefer very, very simple set-ups, like my foot pump sink and basic solar, to the more complex technical arrangements you see on most builds, because I like to be able to do the work myself with my limited skills. This is why I say I’m a practical minimalist and a visual maximalist: though my setup is as streamlined and basic as they come, my visual style is the opposite. I love excess, juxaposition, and extravagant colors and textures. I don’t have a lot of stuff anymore, but the stuff I have is FABULOUS.

I started a YouTube channel revolving around my bus adventures in March. This has been another exciting chapter! My mission is to spread the joy and empowerment I’ve gotten out of doing my own conversion, by encouraging other un-handy people to do the same.

Credit: Mary Feuer

Any advice for creating a home you love? Give yourself permission to create a space that makes you happy every day, even if it falls way outside the edges of convention. If it stops making you happy—if those touches you were in love with become invisible to you—redecorate. If they don’t, keep them forever. Don’t be afraid to juxtapose things that feel right to you, even if they seem to make no sense. And always have a dog.

This submission has been edited for length and clarity.

Share Your Style: