Is your dream to travel the open road in a beautiful bus renovation? You’re not alone. Many adventurous DIY-ers have turned their wanderlust fantasy into reality. From a groovy guest home to the ultimate road-tripping machine, we’ve rounded up eight of our favorite bus conversion projects. Read on for a look at the most beautiful, versatile, and affordable portable homes perfect for taking you anywhere your heart desires.
Most architecture students submit a written thesis for their final project, but not University of Minnesota grad Hank Butitta. The young adventurer bought an old school bus off Craigslist for $3,000 and, together with his brother and a friend, invested $6,000 to transform the bus into the “ultimate road trip vehicle.” Retrofitted with transforming furniture, skylights, LEDs, and reclaimed gymnasium flooring, the cozy wood-lined mobile home was driven all over the U.S. on a 5,000-mile-long road trip.
While most bus retrofits focus on revamping the inside, Steven Selby chose instead to overhaul both the interior and exterior of this unique renovated bus. Designed with strong Pacific Northwest influences, the portable cabin-like home on wheels was constructed mostly from salvaged timber and secondhand materials, and only cost Selby less than $3,000 to build. The fully furnished converted bus houses a loft bed, kitchen, living area, bathroom, and a wood-burning stove.
Two women saved a decommissioned public bus from the scrapyard by transforming it into affordable housing in Israel. With the help of friend and designer Vered Sofer Drori, the renovated bus was retrofitted with a bright and spacious interior built around the bus’ original layout. The motorized home includes a bathroom, rear bedroom, ample storage, full kitchen, and even air conditioning.
wpi Creative turned an old clunker into a mobile home that’s so sweet and cozy it’s hard to believe that it used to be a bus. The design studio lined the bus home with unpainted timber and installed a rustic wood-fired stove to keep the cabin-like interior toasty on cold nights. The beautiful travel-friendly unit was sold to a young couple living in the Cascade Mountains.
Groovy 1959 Chevrolet Viking short bus home by Winkelman Architecture
Winkelman Architecture transformed a rundown bus into a funky cottage on wheels with a retro sixties vibe. The 1959 Chevrolet Viking short bus was largely rebuilt from scratch with salvaged parts including heart pine floorboards. Quarter-sawn white oak lines the warm Moroccan-inspired interior, complete with multicolored beads, tassel lamps, and Arabian textile prints.
Did you know that one of Inhabitat’s writers actually lives and works out of a 200-square-foot school bus? Michelle Kennedy Hogan traded spacious square footage for the open road and a renovated 1975 International Harvester school bus that she shares with her husband and three of their kids. The family bought the bus in Alaska and has since driven it across the Yukon Territory, British Columbia, the Pacific Northwest, and more. She’s even written a post about the ups and downs of mobile home living and how downsizing has made her an ultra-minimalist. You can read more here.
In a self-described “massive recycling exercise,” carpenter Adam Collier-Woods turned a retired double-decker city bus into a three-room traveling hotel. Collier-Woods purchased the 31-year-old 1982 west midlands metro bus on eBay for just £4,500 (approx $7,400) and spent an additional $16,000 to rework the worn-out vehicle into a homey vacation rental. Available for rent in the English countryside, the renamed Big Green Bus accommodates up to six people and offers two double bedrooms, a kitchen, and even a log-burning stove.
Stephanie Adams turned to tiny house living when she set her sights on a simpler lifestyle with fewer distractions. To that end, she purchased a 220-square-foot 2000 diesel model school bus for $2,125 from an online auction and then retrofitted it with all the creature comforts of home. The finished tiny mobile home includes transforming furniture, plenty of natural light and storage, fridge, stove, oven, and more. She documents her adventures and the building process on her blog, Tiny Home Bus Conversion.