If you've ever dreamed of escaping from it all and living off-grid in your own stylish campervan, you're not alone. One couple did just that and took on the challenge of converting a big old school bus into a tiny home that you can now stay in.
Ailsa and Paul told Real Homes about their incredible DIY journey, and it goes to show what you can do by watching some carpentry videos online.
- Read: Tiny homes for sale: 5 of the UK's smallest properties to buy
Business owner Paul first had the idea when he and his wife Ailsa were traveling around Europe in their self-converted campervan. Originally planning to convert a double-decker, they mapped out floor plans and hunted online for an old bus. But it was while in Madrid that the ambitious pair came across a listing for a classic American school bus for sale in England.
‘We loved it from the first second we saw it and as soon as we found out it hadn’t been snapped up, we decided to beeline straight back to England,' Ailsa said. 'A week later we were the proud owners of ‘Otto’ the skoolie.’
The pair ripped out the original seats and transformed the bus into a tiny home oozing with character. With a muted color palette, personal decorative items and a mixture of lots of textures, the space feels bright and welcoming. The bus now has a bed with storage underneath and a day bed seating area for watching television that's decorated with festoon lighting.
Plus, there's a workspace towards the front of the bus around the area the bus driver would have sat. In a nod to the home's former life, the pair have added traditional signage as seen on old school buses with safety messages for passengers.
‘Paul managed to smash out the build in under three months. It was really exciting seeing the progress he’d made each day when I got in from work,’ she recalls. Paul taught himself how to do the plumbing, electrics, and carpentry needed to convert the bus by watching videos.
'Before bus life, we were spending silly sums of money living in rented apartments in city centres, paying off our landlords’ mortgage,' Ailsa tells Real Homes. 'We were working hard and earning decent wages in good jobs, but huge portions of our wages were going straight on rent, bills and commuting to offices we were spending far too many hours in.'
'It felt like we were living to work - stuck in a very familiar loop so many people seem to find themselves in. There is still a stigma that surrounds this type of lifestyle and people often see it as a sacrifice. We made a conscious choice to veer from the socially accepted first homeowners’ path and hope that we manage to fight some of the preconceived notions surrounding van or bus life.'
'In short, van life is the best decision we ever made. We are happier living this life than we ever were before,' she says. 'Otto' the converted school bus is now available to rent on North Wales' beautiful Llyn Peninsula. For further information and for bookings, please visit www.bertskitchengarden.com
Are you tempted by the bus life?