Family Converts School Bus Into a Home

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Families don’t typically opt to live in a bus converted into a home, that’s more for young adventurous couples and singles. But Jeremy and Mira Thompson of Key Peninsula, WA are making it work. They live full time in a converted school bus with their toddler daughter Carys.

The couple converted a disused school bus into a cozy cottage on wheels and it looks amazing. Perhaps the most impressive thing is that they build the cottage directly into the frame of the bus. Mira and Jeremy designed and built the home themselves. Mira came up with the floor plan and interior design, and Jeremy, who has lots of experience in autobody work and carpentry, brought those plans to life. He even handcrafted the lovely caravan-style bed and refurbished the antique woodstove, which they use to heat the home.

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The interior is well thought out and appears quite spacious. The main part of the bus is taken up by the lounge area and the kitchen, while they also installed a custom-built sleeping nook in this area, which looks like something out of a fairytale. There is a platform atop this nook, which serves as the sitting room, or a guestroom. The kitchen is quite large and features ample counter and storage space. The home also features a spacious bathroom. Jeremy even thought ahead, and installed a removable panel next to the circular window that will allow the family to add a deck or even an extension should they ever require it.

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They are currently using the home as a stationary one, though presumably it could also be driven around. While living tiny certainly isn’t for everyone, and most families with small children shy away from it, it is refreshing to see some examples of people who are experimenting with it and having a blast as they do so! This bus is also one of the most unique and ingenious tiny homes we’ve seen so far.

Van Converted Into a Family Vacation Home

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We’ve seen a lot of clever alternatives to the classic mobile home lately, and this van that was converted into a cozy family vacation home is no exception. It uses boat building techniques to make the most of the available space, and the result is a spacious and comfortable home on wheels. It was built by Jack Richens of This Moving House.

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Jack used a second-hand 2012 Mercedes Benz Sprinter van with a long wheel base for this project. The main aim of the van is to serve as a family vacation home, since jack and his girlfriend have two children. The home was designed by his girlfriend and built by Jack. The most innovative and space-saving design feature are certainly the stacked bunk beds, which are constructed in a way that maximizes the available space and doesn’t clutter up the interior. They were able to squeeze three sleeping tiers into a very small area with the technique they employed, which they borrowed from boat builders.

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The kitchen is very compact, yet still highly functional. It features a long and narrow sink, a two-burner stove, and a good amount of counter space. The dining area was also very cleverly designed. The chairs are the original van seats, with the front two altered so they can be swiveled around to face the back. The dining table was placed in the area between the four chairs. The interior appears quite open and spacious, and does bear a distinct resemblance to a boat. There is no toilet on the van, which is a bit unfortunate, but then again, toilets can easily be found anywhere.

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They purchased the van for around $10,000, while materials and equipment cost a further $8500. So the biggest expense was the time and labor involved, but it was certainly worth it. And Jack has already received several queries for commissions and is getting ready to start building more of these unique mobile homes.

Mobile Home and Hostel Made From a Bus

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Converting a disused bus into a house gives a whole new meaning to living in a mobile home and we’ve seen quite a few awesome examples lately. This latest one is not only a home, but also a mobile hostel, which travels around the best skiing and snowboarding spots in Europe. It was built by Valerie Cook and Tim Boffe of Let’s Be Nomads. They will be travelling across Europe in it for the next 3 years, together with their toddler daughter and their dog.

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They converted a 39-foot-long yellow bus for this project, adding quite a few green and sustainable features. They’ve fitted it with a solar power array, which takes care of its’ energy needs. The bus is also fitted with a composting toilet. For insulation they used renewable, chemical-free Doschawol wool insulation, which is also great for regulating the moisture build up that occurs when moving from areas of extreme heat to extreme cold and vice versa. The home is heated by a woodstove.

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The interior of the home is very well spaced out too. The front is taken up by the lounge area, which features two rows of banquettes. These were custom built and feature collapsible tables , meaning they can be used for eating or working. When moved away, the space becomes a sitting room with enough room for children to play. The kitchen is next to the sitting area and features a woodstove and a propane-powered four-burner stove. There’s ample counter space, and also lots of storage space in this area. Next is the section with the bunk beds where guests can sleep. The family’s bedroom is located at the back of the bus. The bathroom features a small, but functional shower, sink and composting toilet.

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All told, the conversion cost around $55,000. To fund their travels, they are renting out space on the bus, starting at $61 per night. The bus will be touring the Tirol, Austria region until May 2017, stopping at the top places to ski and snowboard. In the summer, they plan to drive up to Norway.

Life on the Road in Style

Here is another van into home conversion done right. It was designed and created by builder, architect and entrepreneur Ross Lukeman who wished to enjoy the digital nomad life in style. He completed his van home about half a year ago and now lives in it full time.

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He used a non-descript white cargo van for the purpose, which he first stripped down completely. The mobile dwelling is barebones, and features a bed, an office space, a sink and closet/storage space. The twin bed flips up to reveal ample storage space. All the amenities and utilities, such as a water tank and batteries, are also hidden out of sight. The office space is very well thought out too. It features a full-size computer that’s mounted on the wall, and can also be used as a TV. All the other office components, including the keyboard, can be safely and neatly tucked away when not in use.

For insulation, Ross opted for a sustainable approach using UltraTouch recycled denim insulation instead of spray foam, which is often seen in projects like this. He also used very little protective polyurethane coating, which he only added in the kitchen. Another great sustainable feature is the solar panel, which provides all the needed electricity for the van. It is a 300-watt LG panel, which is connected to a 200 amp-hour battery bank. The van also features a roof vent fan, as well as an interior box fan. For heating, a propane heater is used.

Ross has been living in his van home for the past eight months and has travelled across most of the west coast in this time. He finances his nomadic lifestyle by helping other people design and covert vans into homes. He also teaches an online cargo van conversion course.

Rent a Van Home to Test Van-Life

The newest trend in mobile homes seems to be converting a nondescript cargo van into a tiny home. While space is limited, a van home can be parked practically anywhere that a car can go. But converting a van into a home is not an easy task, nor is living out of one suitable for everyone. But now there’s a solution. A Colorado start-up, Native Campervans is renting out van homes to anyone wishing to test out this type of living or travel solution.

Native Campervans was founded by two friends from the University of Colorado, Jonathan Moran and Dillon Hansen. They specialize in converting minivans, called “Smalls”, and larger-sized cargo vans, called “Biggies” into homes and then rent them out to anyone wishing to experience van-life, but who doesn’t have the skills or the means to convert a van into a home on their own. The Biggies are built using a Ram ProMaster 136” and come in two different designs. This vehicle was chosen because it has lots of interior space and is easy to maneuver and drive.

The Biggie features a very modern interior design, which is very well thought out and flexible, meaning it can be adjusted easily to the renters’ preferences. The van home features a queen-sized bed that is installed in a way that allows for maximizing the interior space. Storage space is placed under the bed, while there is also an additional storage area under the bench in the kitchen/dining area. The kitchen also features plenty of cabinets and drawers, and they even installed a secret in-counter storage caddy. The kitchen is equipped with a sink, refrigerator, a two-burner propane stove, as well as all the necessary utensils. The Biggie also features a convertible dining table, and it is fitted with a 7-gallon water/waste tank.

All the Biggies are also pre-wired for solar, and they will install the solar panels on all of them soon. At this time, the vans get their power from an ancillary battery that is charged when the van is moving. Only one hour of driving is enough to sufficiently charge the battery for a whole day of operation of the lights, refrigerator and inverter, as well as charging other gadgets.

They are renting out the Biggies for $145 a night, and the Smalls for $85, though rates are adjusted based on the season. There is also a discount when renting for a longer period.