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Step 5: Framing

Back of the bus!!! That’s where all the cool kids sit, so it seems like the perfect place to start! 😉 We began by framing the bedroom walls with 2×4’s and used archway corner bead as our guide. We toenailed framing screws into the roof and floor for support.When sketching our layout, we originally wanted our toilet and tub together. Once we got inside the skoolie and started measuring the space, we realized it made our hallway smaller which also made the bus look much smaller. It’s amazing what a difference just a few inches make in a small space.

While living minimally means downsizing most of your belongings, it doesn’t mean you have to downsize them all. When we realized we could fit a king size bed in our bus with ample storage space we were all for it!

We custom built a platform bed with our storage below. We have access to the storage space from the back and side door and we will also build a slide out drawer for inside access. The platform will provide plenty of storage for our clothes, fishing gear, and also room for our solar power battery bank!

Cutting walls into a school bus proved to be a bit of a challenge. The curvature of the roof, the ridges along the windows, and a few bolts made things tough but I think we nailed it! We took the time to trace a graph on the wood and that helped us make more precise cuts.

As pictured, on the left will be our commode and refrigerator. To the right will be a small 24in closet and a bathtub. Yes, a bathtub!! The tub takes up the same amount of space as a shower, but with a tub we can bathe our fur baby easier and store things in there when it’s not being used! Multifunctional!

It’s so thrilling to see our vision take form inside! What do you guys think?

Step 4: Paint

Our big yellow bus will be yellow no longer! After weeks of sanding, we’re officially ready for paint! First, we gave the skoolie a light wash on the outside and a deep scrub on the inside.

Following the bath, we started preserving the windows and storage boxes by taping everything off. We started with the yellow Frog tape, but later discovered the orange Benjamin Moore painters tape worked much better! Worth the money!

Ok, now what do we use to paint a bus?? We didn’t want to spend a small fortune on automotive paint, so we decided to seek advice from the pros at Benjamin Moore. We went with their recommendation and purchased an oil based DTM paint for the outside of the bus. 

Luckily choosing a paint color wasn’t as difficult as we thought it would be. We agreed we wanted the bus to be gray and after seeing a few swatches, the color “trout gray” was too fitting for us to pass up!😉 

We bought an HPLV paint sprayer, but when it came time to spray the outside of the bus, it was way too windy to spray. Without the luxury of painting indoors, we opted to roll the paint on using microfiber cigar cover rollers.

We’re pretty impressed with the outcome and just LOVE the color! What do you guys think?

We also purchased the same oil based DTM paint in black to hand paint the bumpers and trim around the bus. Big mistake! It appeared thick and streaky after finishing half the bus. That’s when we found a black trim and bumper spray by Dupli-Color. We busted out the sanding pads again and prepped for the new spray. The spray was much easier to apply and left the trim and bumpers looking flawless!

After perfecting the trim on the outside, we were finally able to utilize our paint sprayer on the inside. The HPLV sprayer worked great although we actually went through more paint by using it. We opted for a water based DTM paint inside because it won’t fade and flake when it doesn’t get enough light. We gave Liberty a fresh coat of white inside and it certainly brightened the space up! This ‘ol girl is starting to clean up well! 

Next up➡️ Framing!

Step 3: Paint Prep

Prepping a 30 foot bus for paint is a BIG DEAL! Next time you’re stopped next to a school bus at a stoplight, take a look at just how much reflective tape they have!

Once we got Liberty home, we started on the tape and stickers with a heating gun and razors. It didn’t take long to get the stickers off, but the adhesive residue left behind took days to remove! We tried numerous solvents, but ultimately paint thinner seemed to work best.

The adhesive wasn’t difficult to remove, but it definitely took some time and finesse. Paint thinner evaporates quickly, so we found by painting on the solvent with a brush in small sections and letting it sit for a few minutes before trying to remove really helped the process go faster. We used hand held razor scrapers to take off the adhesive while periodically wiping the sticky residue off onto a paper towel.


Once all the adhesive was removed, we started the longest prep process of all… Sanding. This took us weeks! We used a palm sander on the flat surfaces, but our bus has lots of corrugated metal which requires hand sanding. We used Scotch Brite pads to sand around all the lights and on the corrugated metal.

After a couple weeks of sanding on our own, we found another skoolie crew online who threw a “sanding party” and had their friends come help. We decided to try their idea and bribe our family and friends with food and beer to sand with us. Boy, did that pay off! We’re incredibly blessed to have people in our lives who are willing to lend a hand in the pursuit of our dreams!

After a grueling 5 weeks of sanding, we finally FINISHED! Somehow even though we have a long road ahead, completing this step gave us a huge sense of accomplishment.

We’re in this. All in.

“Acknowledge all of your small victories. They will eventually add up to something great.” -Kara Goucher

Next up: PAINT! 🙂

Step 2: Floor Plan

Following the big bus purchase, we got started on our layout. Creating a floor plan to accommodate both of us on the bus was a struggle. Being newlyweds, it was a true test of communication and compromise. Once again we were trying to find our line between a need and a want.

Everything built in a tiny home needs to be multifunctional. We spent days brainstorming for new designs and watched numerous tiny house documentaries in search of unique ideas to maximize our small space. When building your own home, it needs to fit you.

Our must haves include:

  1. Garage- We love to be outdoors. Hiking, fishing, biking, camping, kayaking, grilling, etc. We need LOTS of space for equipment.
  2. Bedroom- We want our bedroom separate from our living space.
  3. Kitchen- We want to be as self sustainable as possible and we like food. 🙂
  4. Bathroom- This was a must, but also a compromise. Keaton didn’t see a need for a sink in the bathroom. We agreed to have a small vessel sink. After all; happy wife, happy life!
  5. Couch- Three functions in one. Netflix and chill space, bed conversion when family and friends visit, and more storage.
  6. Workspace- We run a small eBay business and plan to keep it going while on the road. We need workspace and storage for the supplies.

After lots of sketching and erasing, we came up with this rough draft. Plans are still tentative while building. Let us know what you think!



Step 1: Choosing the Right Bus

Once our monetary goal was met, we started our bus search. To be honest, we had no clue what we were looking for. We Just knew we needed something reliable. We heard from numerous people we could find cheap buses at an auction, however, cheap doesn’t necessarily mean good especially having no prior knowledge in purchasing a bus. Luckily, we found a bus market about 30 minutes from home and I can’t begin to express my gratitude for the incredibly helpful owners.

You can find them at

Enduring the scorching heat and summer rain in Florida, they took the time to show us around the lot and explain the differences in bus models and engines. It was only then we could fully grasp what it was we were looking for. They drew our eyes to things we didn’t even know we wanted.

Every bus has appealing and lovable characteristics which makes it difficult to determine which is right. It’s a matter of deciding what you really need to make it a home. One piece of advice the people we purchased from resonated with us. They told us nobody had ever come back wishing they had a smaller bus. In a few circumstances, some were actually wishing they had more room. We want to live sustainably for months, so even though the short buses are freaking awesome, they aren’t practical for us. After months of looking and researching, we ended up purchasing our charming ’98 Blue Bird bus.

Here’s Why:

-Size: Some parks can’t accommodate vehicles longer than 30 feet, so our beloved skoolie coming in just short of 30 seemed just the right fit. Our bus also has a flat front nose which allows us more living space.

-Engine: This bus has a strong Cummins Diesel that purrs like a kitten. The engine was placed in the front which means it’s less likely to overheat when we head for the mountains.

-Insulation: Our bus came with acoustic ceilings which is an expensive upgrade for the schools. These ceilings eliminate days of removing rivets and adding insulation. Jackpot!

-Short wheel base: The shorter wheel base gives us lots of underbody space in the rear of our bus. We can place our fresh water and gray water tanks under the bus and still have room for storage boxes!

-Handicap access door: We have a fun project planned for this door. We’re going to build a hideaway outdoor table that drops out of the door. Space to clean our fish and cook!

Every project requires a solid foundation, so with many factors considered, this was the perfect bus for us! Beep beep, here comes Liberty!

If you’re in the market for a bus conversion, my word of advice would be to take your time. We spent months researching and I’m pleased we did. If we had jumped on the first bus we liked, we would be stuck in a 40 ft GMC tour bus with big engine troubles. Keaton’s dad took a look at it and found some oil had mixed in with the coolant. We dodged a bullet with that bus for sure. Buying from a reputable dealer is ideal. In fact, we recommend never buying private. Most people who are trying to sell a bus attempted a conversion and have either run into troubles or couldn’t find the time to finish. We all know diesel engines don’t do well when they sit. The people we purchased from buy direct from northern schools. We had to be cautious of rust, but schools in Florida don’t require yearly inspections so steer clear of Florida school buses!

We hope you found this information helpful if you’re interested in building your own home on wheels. We’re going to try to regularly update our progress. Both of us are working full time jobs and trying to commit our free time to working on the bus, so this blog may not be updated as frequently as we’d like. Please stay tuned and continue following our journey. There’s much more to come!

Live free and stay humble.

Dreams Become Reality

It all started with two young loving free spirits talking uncontrollably about their dreams until sunrise. The more we talked, the more our dreams seemed less ridiculous. Experiencing continual reminders of how fragile life and health can be, we wanted to refocus on our life goals. It was then we realized our goals led us down the “path less traveled.” They didn’t consist of the typical after marriage large home purchase and procreation. We’re longing to find fulfillment in other ways.

Our whole lives, we’re faced with the dreaded question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” We realized we’re already grown up. As grown-ups, we want to be worldly, kind-hearted, loving people. Our mission in life shouldn’t always be career based. Some people have an obscure view that our worth is based upon our worldly possessions. I don’t want to be defined by the job I keep or the things I have. I’m defined by the person I am. And the person I am is learning and “growing up” every single day.

After coming to the realization we craved more time for the things we love (travel and fishing), we started making a list of all the places we wanted to go. We quickly conceded we would never make it through the list if we could only take an annual week vacation. How could we explore on our small budget? Tiny living isn’t the most conventional way, but the idea of living debt free with the potential to see the world was far too appealing.

We began our research, instantly becoming consumed by all the pins and posts about tiny living. We binge watched documentaries and tiny house episodes to gather ideas from like-minded people. After we set a budget and a timeline, things took off from there. We drew up plans and discovered new ideas to make our skoolie space the most functional for us.

This is only the beginning and we want to share the step by step process with you in hopes of inspiring others to take an alternate path too. Living a pure life and finding fulfillment from within. Society makes us believe we’re required to have the big family and huge house with the white picket fence to make us happy. In reality, if we can be happy with less, we won’t be burdened by the debt that comes with that lifestyle. There’s simply no need to work a job we hate to afford things we don’t need. We’re just reevaluating our definition between a need and a want. We NEED food, water, and shelter. We WANT our freedom. We may have to give up some luxuries to find freedom, but giving up those things is pretty damn liberating in itself.

Please join us on our journey. It’s sure to be an interesting ride!