This family’s incredible school bus tiny house conversion will amaze you! Several years ago, Jeremy and Mira Thompson burnt out on keeping up with the American dream – the big house, great jobs, etc – and chose to hit the road and travel before settling down to start a family.
Rather than purchase an expensive RV, Jeremy used his auto body and woodworking skills to convert an inexpensive little school bus into their home on wheels. Fair Companies documented their skoolie journey, and it’s pretty impressive!
The Thompsons equipped their bus with a bed, a small kitchen area, curtains, storage space, and even a skylight. They quit their jobs and spent a year traveling before putting down roots and having a baby. In considering a larger living space, they again opted to forgo the traditional route to home ownership and instead purchased a larger bus to convert into a mobile tiny house.
From old school bus to whimsical tiny home
Jeremy came across an auction where several older school busses were up for sale at very low prices due to new government emissions standards. The Thompsons drew up a picture of what a tiny house bus conversion might look like, and what building it to be street legal would entail, before returning to purchase one of the busses. They then began to build their new home.
The first step in their build was to strip all the metal from directly behind the cab to the rear of the bus and replace it with wood framing. Replacing the majority of the metal with wood made the home much lighter than it appears. From that point, the couple worked on the home as time and money allowed, collecting materials along the way and completing all the work themselves.
The bus was super affordable. I didn’t even keep track of what it cost to build because we kind of over two years had all these materials, some stuff I traded for materials, sometimes I’d get materials for free… Mostly what we bought was some plywood and the wiring. This house was built off of ten years of remnants from other jobs I was doing.
The Thompsons stuck to their very unique ideas even though some were an incredible challenge to complete. Circles and archways, which are abundant throughout this home, take more time, materials, and skill than the traditional square windows and doorways found in most homes.
The beautiful window in the loft at the back of the bus is actually a door turned on its side. The home has a full kitchen and bathroom, a wood stove for heat, cedar-clad ceilings and walls, and 200-year-old wood flooring. Throughout the home are many nonconventional storage areas, including large, custom-built cabinets and drawers that hold much more than prefabricated options.
You can see from the craftsmanship in this home that Jeremy is a talented woodworker. As his carpentry skills turned into paid work, he needed a shop separate from the home to do his work. He had an old shipping container sitting on the property that he was using for storage. He transformed the container into a workshop and later turned another, larger container into a second workshop.
The smaller container building looks like something straight out of a fairytale with its arched doorway under a playful peak and its incredible living roof.
We already fell in love with one house once and wanted to change location and didn’t want to have that happen again. So we decided to build something that we could move when we find our dream property for homesteading and farming and growing, and maybe even building a bigger house on someday.
This home is an impressive work of art that sits on a picturesque piece of property in rural Washington. It is a prime example of what you can accomplish with a little creativity and ingenuity. See the video for a detailed look through the Thompson’s home and their other building projects.
Via Fair Companies