A 300-Square-Foot School Bus Is a Cozy, Rustic Home on Wheels


Name: Ailsa and Paul, with dogs Berg and Mari
Location: Cheshire, Northwest England
Size: 300 square feet
Years lived in: 1 year, owned (though they rent the land)

Like many other #vanlifers, Ailsa and Paul fell in love with the freedom that traveling in a converted van provides. So, the couple took a year off of their jobs to travel Europe in a very adorable home-on-wheels they named Hank. After months of traveling and adventure, they were ready for their next DIY adventure: Converting an American school bus into a home on wheels, a “skoolie” they named Otto.

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Rather than replace Hank the van altogether, Ailsa and Paul have taken a novel approach to setting up their home and travel lives: Otto the skoolie is static, placed on a some rented land with water and electricity hookups, and the couple keeps Hank the van around to use for trips!

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The feat of converting an old school bus into a home is never easy, but Paul and Ailsa tackled the challenge beautifully, with Paul working full time on the project for three months until its completion. They say they were able to finish their conversion on a budget thanks to doing the work themselves.

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Their approach to the design of the space also helped keep the conversion affordable: Much of the interior, like the cladding and shelves, was created using salvaged wood from a local pallet yard, which also adds a lot of warmth and coziness.

Though only 300 square feet on the inside, their bus home has everything a “regular” home might have, including a washing machine, two custom log fireplaces, a full-sized tile shower, and a ton of clever built-in storage nooks. And because Otto stays put, they are able to have a huge outdoor deck with a BBQ pit, hot tub, and outdoor dining seating, which makes living in a small home even easier.

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