This Family of 7 Shares a Stylish 250-Square-Foot School Bus

updated Apr 14, 2019

This Family of 7 Shares a Stylish 250-Square-Foot School Bus

updated Apr 14, 2019
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Name: Gabriel and Debbie Mayes and kids Gracen, Darby, Deacon, Jovey and Gideon.
Location: Redding, California
Size: 250 square feet
Years Lived In: 6 months, owned

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Gabriel and Debbie Mayes’ journey to small home living started when they purchased a school bus in February 2017, with the intent to convert it to a full-time home for themselves and their kids. Unfortunately, their first bus buy turned out to be a (rust-covered) lemon. “At the time, we didn’t know anything about school buses or conversions so we relied heavily on the company we hired to guide us through the process of purchasing our next bus in March.” After purchasing this bus, a 2000 Thomas High Top (with a roof deck and full kitchen), The Mayes Team immediately drew up plans, downsized their life from a 5000-square-foot house to a 250-square-foot home on wheels, and moved themselves and the kids into their “skoolie” in August of 2017.

“We had gotten to a place where we were miserable, frustrated, disconnected and we knew that we needed change in every area of our life,” writes Debbie on The Mayes Team blog. Though their roving home might seem like a tight squeeze for some, it’s turning out to be just the right fit for Gabriel, Debbie, Gracen, Darby, Deacon, Jovey and Gideon in heaven. The family’s new lifestyle is still fresh, but I have no doubt they’ve got great adventures ahead. Follow along with them on their Instagram account.

Apartment Therapy Survey:

Our Style: Modern…black, white and grey with a little bit of wood.

Inspiration: We are inspired by Minimalist Scandinavian Modern design…we don’t have much space so we keep it bright, open and free from clutter.

Favorite Element: Our kitchen counter. We intentionally designed our kitchen so that we would have a lot of countertop space; it is rare to have in such a tiny space!

Biggest Challenge: The laundry! This is our first time living in a space without its own laundry room so we end up using our bathtub to store laundry once our tiny basket is full!

Proudest DIY: Peel and Stick tile backsplash. We heard from a lot of people that ceramic tile can easily crack while moving so we decided to go with peel and stick tile. We weren’t sure how it would turn out but we love the results!

Biggest Indulgence: The roof deck…it was the only thing that we could’ve lived without but didn’t want to! We love to climb up there and enjoy the sunsets or look at the stars…it’s our little haven!

Best Advice: If you have a dream to take life on the road…do it! There are challenges with every path you take in life but the benefits of minimizing and connecting as a family have FAR outweighed any inconvenience of living in a small space.


Sherwin Williams ProClassic — Extra White

Camel Leather Floor Pillow — Beacon Home (Debbie sells some of the objects she has in their school bus through Beacon Home)
Oxidized Walnut Tray — Multiply Made
Brass Bottle Opener — Brand & Iron
Pineapple planter — Dovekie & Finch

Abstract Art Originals — Spark of Joy
Lucy Side Chair — Bend Goods
Couch Cushions — PierOne
Hills and Valleys’ Pillow — Cotton & Flax
Mudcloth Pillow — Bryar Wolf
Throw Blanket — Happy Habitat
Fold Down Desk — Haotain
Double Cell Blinds — Budget Blinds
Hook — World Market
Key Hooks — Target
Wall Calendar — Target
Clock — Target

Ceramic Mugs — Corrin Ceramics
Capuccino Mugs — Corrin Ceramics
Pour Over — Peaking Through Fingers
Jar Candle — The Awesome Candle
Tea Towels — Cotton and Flax
Cereal Bowls — Charm Ceramics
Ceramic Spoon — Avesha Michael
Brass Trivet — West Elm
Igloo Under Counter Fridge/Freezer — Amazon
Planter — World Market
Letterboard — Letterfolk
Knife Magnet — Amazon
Peel and Stick Tile — TicTac Tiles
Closet Pulls — HomeDIY
Paper Towel Holder — mDesign
Ceramic Ring Holder — funsize ceramics
Floating Shelf — SanLem
Drying Rack — Simple Human
Fold up Grill — Coleman

Bedding — Beddy’s
Throw Pillows — Target, Ikea
Macrame Wall Hanging — Macramama
Gazelle Head — Target
Brass Mirror — Target
Throw Blanket — Happy Habitat
Kids Sheets — Target
Kids Blankets — Target
Kids Book Shelves — Ikea

Brass Mirror — Target

Vessel Sink — Comllen
Brass Wall Hanging — Electric Sun Creatives
Macrame Wall Hanging — Macramama
Towel — Cotton and Flax
Toilet — Dometic
Toilet Paper Roll Holder — KES on Amazon
Towel Ring — KES on Amazon
Towel Hook — OnWard
Shower Curtain — Target
Shower Fixtures — KES
Faucet — Vigo
Macrame Planter — Mkono
Toilet Brush — Umbra

Thanks, Mayes Family!!

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