school bus
Jade Small
Jade Small
February 15, 2024 ·  5 min read

Here’s How This DIY Couple Converted a School Bus Into a Gorgeous Home

Van life was once thought to be for the young and carefree. For the people divorced from responsibilities and 9-5 work. However, in recent times, the concept is becoming more and more welcomed. They have found a way to earn money while on the move, and they are taking to the horizons in their vans, R.Vs, caravans, and converted buses. One couple has shared their DIY secrets for their bus conversion they did themselves. Enter, Mike and Tawny McVay.

Couple turns bus home
Image Credit: sincewewokeup | Instagram

Before the Converted Bus

Mike and Tawny were not always living in a converted bus. Before their dream life on the road they had a picture-perfect life. After meeting at the gym where they both worked, they realized they had deep feelings for each other. They got married after dating for a short while. Being a couple who worked well together, they decided to open their own gym. This ended up being a highly successful business, allowing them both a comfortable life. They lived in a beautiful home that most people would be proud of, and even owned some fancy cars.

Image Credit: sincewewokeup | Instagram

Despite everything they had achieved, Mike and Tawny realized that something was missing. They decided to take a trip to Europe to clear their heads. This inspired a realization that they would never be able to top that sensation of being free that they felt while traveling. And they wanted more of it. So, they sold all of their belongings, the house, the cars, everything. With that, they made a home from a converted bus – a school bus for that matter.

Read: Oldest Mall In America Turned Into Tiny Homes

Image Credit: sincewewokeup | Instagram

The couple created an ingenious home which was cleverly designed to utilize the space appropriately. The home carries all of the appliances and amenities that a normal home would, so they get that feeling of living in a real home, as opposed to on the road. “The biggest thing we had to do was throw off that shame and guilt that came with wanting something different,” Tawny said.

Image Credit: sincewewokeup | Instagram

Starting the build

This was never going to be an easy job, which they both knew before they started. Neither Tawny nor Mike had any experience in construction, so they were taking everything as it came. “Neither of us had any construction experience, so we learned as we went,” Tawny admitted. “There were multiple times where we would do a project and then pull it out and redo it. There were so many times that something we planned just wouldn’t work.”

DIY couple transforms motorhome
Image Credit: sincewewokeup | Instagram

OF course, a school bus has many seats inside for all the children to sit on. After they removed the interior of the bus, a process that took about two days. They found their first hurdle in their converted bus journey. The floor of the bus had rusted over, and they needed to fix that before it ate through. They painted the floor with Rust-Oleum paint which did the trick. Then, a layer of insulation was added (a necessity), and the floor panels were measured, cut, and installed. “We have a floor, and suddenly, this feels more real,” said Tawny.

Read: Woman Buys Old World War II Bunker, Then Spends 5 Years Transforming It Into Her Home

DIY motorhome, DIY skoolie
Image Credit: sincewewokeup | Instagram

For the windows, they decided to add a thermal layer over the glass, but only from the inside. This way, they were able to maintain the look of the original bus from the outside while keeping the heat of the sun out. Additionally, this provided more privacy for any peeping Toms. The walls were given a frame before they were installed.

Converted bus taking shape as a home

“Things are getting real up in here,” Tawny shared. their converted bus was starting to look more and more like a home. When the appliances arrived, they grew more excited. For those who were wondering, their home appliances would “run off of solar while parked and propane while moving.” This was in particular for the refrigerator/deep freeze and the stove/oven.

The next step was framing the walls and counters. This was where a lot of the DIY genius was able to shine through. They had many great ideas, as well as one or two that were scrapped and started over. the house they build was all compressed inside 250 square meters. However, they managed to fit an L-shaped kitchen counter with a built in breakfast nook 9which doubled as a desk fr when either of them had work, or for when tawny’s children traveled with them.

They initially built two bunk beds for her children, but those were eventually taken out after their first family holiday. This is when they redid the lounge area that had a couch, and a secret couch that the children slept on. Mike and Tawny’s converted bus bedroom not only fit a bed big enough for them both, but they also had some leg room, and a dressing area. Underneath their bed was ample storage that is easily accessible, and drawers for their clothes.

Some creative ideas

Mike and Tawny are DIY warriors, and their kitchen lives to tell the tale. Above the fridge, you will see magnetized bottles that hold their spices. This keeps them handy for cooking on the move, and makes sure they don’t roll around. Not only that, but the wooden crate in their new lounge also has a hidden ability to become a couch. One simple, yet effective touch they added, are the blinds to cover the windshield when they are parked.

Bus conversion, van life
Image Credit: sincewewokeup | Instagram

On the roof of the converted bus, they have created a chill spot. This is where Tawny and Mike hangout to look at the view. They play bored games with the children, and practice yoga. Tawny and Mike have documented their family’s journey on a blog they call Since We Woke up. There you can find all the details of how they built the bus, plus their life on the road.

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