Family transform old school bus into dream three-bed motor home complete with a climbing wall

Elizabeth and Spike Stone spent two months and $15,000 turning an old school bus into their perfect home on wheels (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)

Faced with months of working and learning from home, Elizabeth Stone, 29, her partner Spike, 30, and their children, five-year-old Pepper and three-year-old Violet, decided to do something a little different.

With nothing tying them to their house, the family-of-four used the opportunity presented by lockdown to head out on a big adventure.

But before they could hit the road, they’d need a sweet ride.

So the parents bought an old school bus and transformed it into the perfect motor home, complete with three bedrooms.

The project cost just $15,000 and took two months, with Elizabeth and Spike doing all the work themselves to keep costs down.

It started in June 2020, when the couple bought an old bus from Facebook Marketplace for $3,500.

The project began with an old, rusty school bus, bought for $3,500 (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
The interiors needed to be completely gutted (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)

‘We wanted to travel with our kids and because Covid shut down their schools and forced all work to be remote, we jumped on the opportunity,’ said Elizabeth.

‘Spike had seen a school bus conversion when he was a kid (basically a wood stove and a hammock in a short bus) and had always wanted to do something like it.

‘We did some research and it seemed like decommissioned buses were a good and sturdy (and cheap) platform to start with.’

Elizabeth and Spike did all the work themselves to keep costs low (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
They managed it in two months (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
Pepper and Violet were on hand to help out, of course (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)

First, the couple ripped out the bus’s interiors, including the harsh metal flooring.

They painted the exterior with a nice bright green and a lick of white on the roof, then got to work on the bones of the interiors.

A wooden platform fit the parents’ queen-sized bed, then Elizabeth and Spike installed a bunk bed for the kids on the opposite side of the bus.

The family added a platform for the parents’ queen bed, plus bunk beds for the kids (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
A bathroom and a kitchen completes the home (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
The exterior had a transformation, too (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
Cute, right? (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
The bus works as a base while parents are able to work remotely (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)

Next was the addition of a bathroom and shower room, nested over the rear wheel of the bus, and an indoor kitchen, where the family cook their meals with an electric hot plate and instant pot (though they’ll often BBQ outdoors instead).

The family didn’t just stick to the bare essentials.

To keep their children entertained on the road, they added in a rock climbing wall inside the bus, too. Why not?

Elizabeth and Spike added an indoor climbing wall to keep the kids entertained (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
Once the renovation was complete, the family set off on their adventure (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
There’s a kitchen, but often the family will just BBQ outdoors (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)

Elizabeth said: ‘We are thrilled with the outcome.

‘Of course, there are small things that only we probably notice that we could have done different or better but overall it turned out great.

‘It is also still kind of a work in progress and after living on it full time and travelling we were able to really hone in some of the design elements.’

The family has visited over 16 US states so far (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
They’re loving their new lifestyle on the road (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)
‘You really just need to go and do it,’ says Elizabeth (Picture: Jam Press/@chasingthecoastline)

Once the bus was ready, the family moved in and travelled to over 16 different US states, working and attending school online as they journeyed.

They’re currently based at a campsite in Rhode Island, and plan to travel up to New Hampshire next.

‘I think building your own home is rewarding and ensures you know your rig well and get exactly what you want,’ said Elizabeth.

‘I think a lot of people get tied up in over planning everything and you really just need to go and do it.’

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