Eliza Brownhome

Eliza Brownhome


BluebirdMama, her husband and their three small children all live in a 40-foot converted Bluebird school bus. The parents lived in the bus before the children were born, but decided to move into a “normal” house when their first child came along. However, after four years, the mobile life called to them again and they moved back into the bus, which they named Eliza Brownhome.

The catalyst for moving from a 3,000 square foot suburban house back onto Eliza might have been the rain. BluebirdMama writes this on her blog about living in a house:

“I remember lying in bed, staring up at the ceiling, 8 feet up. We had bought a King size bed and the room was huge. Everything felt cavernous and empty. And quiet. We couldn’t hear the rain. We couldn’t feel the cold on the window panes. We couldn’t feel the wind shake our home. We would wake in the morning and have no idea what the weather was like, what we’d missed while we slept. We were truly disconnected from the natural world, from our community, living in a well-insulated, private, box.”

Eliza Brownhome has a main living area with a woodstove and two couches that can sleep three more people. The kitchen contains handmade cabinets, a tiled blacksplash and a large spice rack and pantry. The bedroom in the back of the bus has a queen size bed with storage underneath. Above the bed is a bunk for one of the children and another bed sits at the food of the ladder to the bunk. The youngest child sleeps in the parents’ bed. There is a play area in the bedroom, as well as the living area.

The bathroom sits across from the bedroom closet and has a small sink made from a salad bowl, storage, a water heater and a chemical toilet. There is no shower, but in the past, the couple used the shower in BluebirdMama’s sister’s home, where they parked the bus. They hope to do the same this time around.

BluebirdMama’s blog focuses mainly on childbearing and rearing, homeschooling and natural play and has a full gallery of the family’s bus.


Photos by BluebirdMama

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]



  1. Love the finishes! One question, though. And it’s a big one as we consider finding a tiny home for our three person family. How, oh, how do you have sex with kids sleeping all around? I mean, does the couch see all the action?

    • I know, this was my first thought too. My kids are a bit older than this, and I think if we were to look at something like this we would have to arrange it so that the living area was in the middle of the bus and our room at one end and the kids sleeping area at the other. I have no idea how else you would manage any privacy. I guess just wait until late at night when you were sure the kids were asleep and be really quiet? I know when our kids were young enough that they slept with us we just had to be creative as to when and where, but now that they are older…

    • You’re not thinking in ‘three dimensions’. The obvious answer would be to use the roof of the bus. Why is this not obvious to anyone but me … 🙂

  2. I couldn’t do this as interesting as it sounds. I like having my own private bathroom WITH shower that I don’t have to share with anyone else. Guess I’m too selfish for a bus home.

    • I agree. I’d have to have a place to shower, privately, onhand at all times, otherwise it’d be too easy to ‘put off’ for another day, or two, or three, knocking on sister’s door to use hers… ewww.
      I marvel at those who mention they have to shower, even do the toilet thing, at a local rest area, or their gym, or a relative’s house! Maybe it’s because I’m older, maybe my disabilities figure into it, but a full bathroom would be a MUST HAVE for ME, in any tiny-house situation I’d be seriously considering. 2nd would be having a PRIVATE bedroom area, even it were nothing more than a bed-in-a-room with a 10″ shelf beside it in lieu of a nightstand.
      It’s especially these meager ‘musts’ that, to me, separate the ‘homed’ from the homeless!

      I love the way this family has adapted both the bus, and themselves to life in the bus, and say, more power to them! But unless they drive the Eliza Brownhome down South, to Florida or somesuch, where the weather is warm year-round, the growing children might suffer for playspace, eventually, and especially during the cold and sloppy months…
      But I would’ve been game for a live-in bus like this, when I was younger, and there was just us, as a couple, sharing the altered space! 😉

  3. What will you do when the kids grow older? It’s one thing to live in a tiny space with very young children, quite another with teens. I was just wondering if you had a plan for the next 15 yrs or so?

  4. We are planning on starting this lifestyle in the near future with our four children (when we can afford the initial bus costs)… Thanks for sharing your wonderful photos! it gives me inspiration and ideas for what we will want our bus to be like!

  5. Very awesome! As far as the bath issue, just make an out door shower, if you want ideas let me know, 1 being next to the door, build a drop down platform and plumb it in. You step outside onto the platform pull the curtain closed and call it a day. Most camp site or people are respectful enough to not bother you while showering. Over all super awesome I envy this family!

    • Can’t remember where I saw it but somebody put a shower right inside the doorway of the bus. It was just a watertight box with drainage that you set over the steps, used with a shower curtain that went all around the little space created and tied back out of the way when not needed. It does block the door when in use but it’s just for a short time. You could probably make the shower hose be functional outside as well quite simply.

  6. Do you think this is a something that could be done even if you live in Northern Minnesota? I’d love to re-do a bus (have seen a few photos I liked, and Love Yours!) just curious if you or others have any ideas about winter…if it was a year-around home. Thanks for sharing this!

  7. Anytime anyone is willing to share their home with strangers, I am grateful. It will be a long time before I am able to have my own home, and I am getting so many ideas from other people’s homes. Thanks for letting us peek through your windows!

  8. This looks great – I think it’s one of the more easy to live in buses that I’ve seen. Can’t help but think there will be some wonderful memories being made in Eliza Brownhouse!

  9. What about the condensation? It looks like the ceiling is not insulated so I’m wondering what happens in the winter when the heat is in use? The same with using air conditioning during the heat of the days?
    Thanks for sharing pics of your beautiful bus.

  10. What about the condensation? It looks like the ceiling is not insulated so I’m wondering what happens in the winter when the heat is in use? The same with using air conditioning during the heat of the days?
    Thanks for sharing pics of your beautiful bus.

  11. This is how one family chooses to live and I hope it is how they truly WANT to live and not because it is what finance dictates.
    The pictures show a coziness and certain lack of facilities that I would not find appealing with three small children. I think some pictures of the property where the vehicle is parked would be interesting and add some more dimension to the equation.

  12. Love this!

    And there are solar showers, which is probably what I would do about a shower. Just a hula hoop as a place to hang a shower curtain, another right next to it as a dressing room, and at least for the good weather months, the solar shower would work.

  13. Awesome and I totally understand… my son was born in a 30 foot Bluebird Bus, all we had then was a bed and i spent my last $50 on a woodstove cuz he was born in Pennsylvania in January, brrrr…. then we kept converting it several times, ended up raising the entire roof and had two lofts, one in front and one in back, i even had a chandelier in the middle, of course everything has to get secured when moving, its great for solar and would get so warm during the day didn’t even need a fire, we used to park at this hot springs in arizona in the winter and always stopped wherever there was water, worked out quite well, love being so connected to the elements.. blessings and safe journeys

  14. I am also curious about condensation. It will cause damage if left on it’s own. So did you insulate against it and if you did how did you do it? I read somewhere of a woman that put bubble wrap in the walls, however plastic deteriorates and I would rather have something that will last for many years. I live alone and am thinking this is where I am headed. I get so excited looking at photos, collecting ideas, etc. I am all over alternative housing but want to do it right so am collecting data first.