It’s safe to say that Marine veteran Jessica Rambo is not one to rest on her laurels. After 10 years of service in the Marine Corps, the mom of two worked day in and day out for two years in order to convert a 1997 Blue Bird school bus into a full-time tiny house on wheels that also serves as a roaming art studio. Now, Rambo and her two kids are about to embark on a long road trip to bring her nonprofit art organization, The Painted Buffalo Studio, to veterans around the country.

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teal kitchen cabinets inside a school bus

After serving in the Marines, Rambo enrolled in art school as a way to transition back to civilian life. As a single mother, she decided that she also needed to downsize to show her kids the importance of living a life without excess. Once she decided to renovate the old Blue Bird school bus, she also found a new purpose to her project — to serve her fellow veterans by offering art classes to those who need an outlet after coming home.

Related: Old bus is converted into a mobile greenhouse to teach students about sustainable eating habits

kitchen area with white tiles and teal cabinets

two images of a kitchen space with blue cabinets and butcher block counters

Doing most of the work herself on the weekends, Rambo took two years to completely renovate the bus. The result is a light-filled, cabin-like tiny home on wheels with dark wood throughout the space, enhanced with white and teal accents. The living space includes a surprisingly large kitchen with butcher-block counters and teal cabinets. Alongside the kitchen, a small dinette doubles as a workspace on one side, and a long, cushioned bench with storage underneath was installed along the other wall. The skoolie even has a small zen garden/shrine under the front windshield.

a kitchen with wooden shelving next to a large sink

small metal bath tub with shower hookup

For sleeping, the bus features two bunk beds for the kids as well as a master bedroom at the back of the tiny home for Rambo. One unique feature is the bathroom, which has just enough space for a cool metal soaking tub and a composting toilet.

small bathroom with wooden panels and composting toilet

a small bed with red and gray blankets

According to Jessica, the skoolie conversion was much more than just turning an old bus into a home. “I wanted to do something wild. I wanted to prove to myself that when I set my mind to something I complete it,” Rambo said. “I felt like I didn’t complete my mission in the Marine Corps, I was struggling to get through art school, and I wanted to show myself and my children that just because you fail at something that is important to you, you can dust yourself off and try again.”

butcher block counters and teal cabinets in a small kitchen

front of bus drivers seat

After the long DIY renovation, Rambo and her family moved into the converted bus in August 2019. They are currently mapping out a road trip around the country in order to bring art classes to veterans through her nonprofit organization, Painted Buffalo Traveling Studio.

+ Painted Buffalo Traveling Studio

Via Tiny House Talk

Images via Painted Buffalo Traveling Studio

School bus with wording that says "Painted Buffalo"