Yellow School Bus Home - Tiny House Blog

Yellow School Bus Home

yellow bus

by oPhelia and Julien

Our story begins with 2 city-dwellers and their little dog who love being in nature We spend most of our time off playing in the great outdoors: rock climbing, mountain biking, skiing etc. Two years ago, we made the leap and rented a cabin in the forest nestled in the mountains. After a year, we decided that we wanted something of our own. Unfortunately, we were not able to find land that we loved and that didn’t require us to sign over the rest of our active lives to a mortgage (we live in one of the most expensive real estate areas in North America). That’s when we got creative and this school bus home came to be.


We live in our school bus all year-round. It is currently parked on a bio-dynamic farm with cows, chickens, horses and plenty of forest along a river. After just one year of being in it, we have paid it off and the rent for the land is a quarter of the rent of living in the city. Our plan is to one day find land that we love and to drive our bus home there. At that point, we can continue to live in the bus as is… or expand it (adding an extension and/or a second floor)… or build an actual house and turn the bus into a B&B… or use the bus as a guesthouse… or even sell it… The possibilities are endless!

interior 1

School bus living reflects our values. We believe in living simply (i.e. not having too much ‘stuff’ and having a smaller footprint on the earth). We value our time and prefer to spend it doing the things that we love rather than spending countless hours at work to pay off a huge mortgage. We found a way to minimize our expenses without compromising having a beautiful home. We built it into the wood cabin that we dreamed of – the interior is lined with wood, from the floor to walls to ceiling. It is a super cozy space with all the modern luxuries: a gas stove (and oven), fridge, washer/dryer, shower/toilet, on-demand hot water, electric heaters.

interior 2

When we look out of our (many) windows, we see only trees and mountains. We are a short walk to the river and the lake, and a bike ride away from the Pacific Ocean. We have access to fresh eggs and milk from happy animals and a plethora of organic veggies from our farmer/gardener neighbours. If we drive one hour in one direction, we arrive in Vancouver – and have all that a big city has to offer. Half an hour in the other direction brings us to Whistler – a world famous ski resort and mountain town (2010 Winter Olympics). When we are not outside, we can be found on a yoga mat, at the library, talking about the meaning of life, or drinking wine. Our bus home allows us to live in one of the most beautiful parts of the world in an affordable way that does not require us to compromise our values and way of life. Not to mention that it is just cool to live in a big yellow school bus! 🙂

We have documented the journey of school bus conversion (from bus seats to cozy cabin living) in our blog:

Our bus is also published in the book: Tiny Homes on the Move

oPhelia (Julien & Pico)

interior 3DSC_0063 photo 1-3 DSC_0052 DSC_0006

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Wilbour - December 2, 2014 Reply

I like the photo that shows the “Emergency Exit” right next to the toilet. Sometimes you just don’t want to stick around!

    Wilbour - December 2, 2014 Reply

    Read your blog…. good stories. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy

Becca - December 2, 2014 Reply

Definitely the coolest, most coziest, school bus I’ve ever seen. Awesome work!

Donna - December 2, 2014 Reply

Amazing and admirable!
Wish you folks were my neighbor.
You truly know the meaning of life.
Well done!

Ed Presley - December 2, 2014 Reply

Very nicely done, enjoy.

Donatella - December 2, 2014 Reply

Beautiful! I wonder how much the conversion (and the original bus) cost in all?

Carol - December 2, 2014 Reply

Awesome conversion! I love all the wood, so cozy. Wish I could do something like this.

RPB - December 2, 2014 Reply

Best bus conversion I have yet seen. Except for the nice big skylight, I was not sure what the other rooftop extensions are for.

Also read your blog. Mice and bugs can get through openings so small that one would think that entry is impossible – but they manage. Some entry-control thoughts to share:

Stuff steel-wool around each pipe and conduit penetration. Then install an escutcheon-ring around the pipe. Mice hate steel-wool. OR substitute spray-foam insulation for the steel-wool.

Store food in plastic or metal containers with tight lids. Mice will even chew through factory wrapped-in-foil packages. Mice are smart and industrious where food and bedding are available.

Except when driving, always keep the vents in the engine compartment closed. Vents in the “open position” make for a great place for mice to live, breed, and store collected food. And they love to chew on electrical wires in the engine compartment – and that will cost a ton to fix.

lessons learned are from experience.

    oPhelia - December 5, 2014 Reply

    Hi RPB!

    There are 2 skylights (one in the middle of the bus and one in the bathroom over the shower to add height and light). The third (at the back that looks like a little dog house on the outside) is actually our wardrobe/closet. Here is a description:

    Thanks for the tips about mice. So far (fingers crossed) we haven’t had any more furry guests. I stuffed our hole with aluminium foil and sealed it with good ‘ol duct tape! It was what we had and it seems to be working.

ekanem asuquo - December 2, 2014 Reply

its amazing pls keep it up and i wish that one day i will experience such a wonderful life

Curtis Beardsley - December 2, 2014 Reply

Beautiful conversion. You have made yourself a wonderful home.

Pia - December 2, 2014 Reply

Congratulations, you guys: this is so, so cool and beautiful!!

Christine - December 2, 2014 Reply

So great! I’ve seen a lot of bus conversions and THIS is by far my favorite! Great job!

Peter - December 4, 2014 Reply

Nice build.

I’ve seen lots of ‘cute’ bus homes…. that omitted a means to cleanse and relieve yourself. Glad this one includes a shower and toilet!

Cozy real couch too.

A.Jones - December 5, 2014 Reply

Your bus house is great I love it….

oPhelia - December 5, 2014 Reply

Thanks for all the positive comments everyone :)! It’s so neat to get to share our little home with people from all over the world. Our hope is that it inspires others to think BIG about living small. Feel free to visit us on our blog and we love hearing from you!

Glenandbrenda - December 6, 2014 Reply

LOVE! We live in mission, bc and some of our best friends are off-the-grid great humans, too 🙂

Next time we are on the sea-to-sky, we would love to come by for a campfire and sing-song at the Yellow Bus! PM us if ur game – we would love to check out the homestead for great off-grid living tips … Namaste

Margaret Lane - December 6, 2014 Reply

This is gorgeous. My husband and I live atop a plateau on 100+ acres of gorgeous land in an old one-bedroom farmhouse. His retirement gig is driving a school bus! This would be such a delightful thing for us to do as a guest house. Really, really considering it Beautiful job!

Elke - December 9, 2014 Reply

Really like your bus conversion!! The only missing feature in my opinion is the wood stove for cosy warmth and against humidity and mildew. I am happy to fire a wood stove this heavy rainy season in my own bus. It is awesome!
Greetings! Your neighbour Elke 🙂

Missouri - December 30, 2014 Reply

Your school bus home is lovely and it makes it possible for you to both enjoy the lifestyle you prefer. Way to go!

Sqeila - December 30, 2014 Reply

We live in a bus too. A converted Greyhound. We have settled on a much smaller couch than yours…. so we could get it in through the doors. HOW did you get yours inside?

Pam - January 4, 2015 Reply

I LOVE your home! My husband and I are getting ready to purchase our own school bus and renovate it. We are so excited! We have a three year old daughter so I really need a washer/dryer. How do you like yours? Any tips I should know? Also if you don’t mind me asking what was the approximate cost of wood as well as washer/dryer? Thanks in advance for your time and help:)

KelliAnn - March 20, 2015 Reply

I am 50 this year and when I was about 6 years old, my grandfather converted a bus for he and my grandmother to live in when he traveled for work.

Seeing your bus brings back some wonderful memories of things I’d forgotten.

Kudos to you and hope you make many happy memories in your bus.

Julie - April 12, 2015 Reply

Hey, there… I totally love this conversion!!! Wondering about the amazing skylights you put in… they must hold up on the interstate just fine? Where’s your water storage and sewage? Do you just hook up to a water line and septic tank? Plus, I totally dig the overall aesthetic… great job!

Wolfgang - July 17, 2017 Reply

I just started a School Bus conversion. I think, my Skoolie will be one of the first ones in Germany ???. Therefore I’m looking for inspiration and your bus looks really cool. Thank you for sharing
Best wishes from Münster, Germany

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