Family-of-four completely transform rundown bus into three-bed paradise with an indoor climbing wall to travel the world

A FAMILY-of-four has converted an old school bus into a fully-equipped motor home in just two months, doing all the work themselves to keep costs low and adding extras like a unique indoor climbing wall.

Elizabeth Stone, 29, and her partner, Spike Stone, 30, from Rhode Island, US, always wanted to travel the world with their children, five-year-old Pepper, five, and Violet, three.


The couple took on the task of transforming the old school busCredit: Jam Press
The DIY transformation was amazing


The DIY transformation was amazingCredit: Jam Press
The children are very happy in their new home


The children are very happy in their new homeCredit: Jam Press

With the parents working remotely, and their children learning through homeschooling during lockdown, they decided to take the opportunity to go on a family adventure.

“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,” Elizabeth said.

“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.”

In June 2020, Elizabeth and Spike purchased an old bus from Facebook Marketplace for $3,500 (£2,500).

First, they ripped out everything including the metal flooring and ribs of the vehicle.

Then, the pair painted the outside of the bus with a vibrant green coat and white roof.

Elizabeth and Spike built a wooden platform inside the bus to fit in a queen-sized bed.

They also installed a bunk bed for their two children on the opposite side of the bus.

The couple added a bathroom and shower room over the rear wheel of the bus and built an indoor kitchen where they cook their meals with an electric hot plate and an instant pot.

On hot summer days, the family often BBQ outdoors.

To keep their two young kids entertained, they have even built a rock climbing wall on the side.

The bus renovation took just two months to complete, costing the couple $15,000 (£10,100) – and they couldn’t be happier with the results.

The family of four have since travelled to over 16 different US states, including Florida, Texas, Washington, Wyoming, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York, Vermont and Maine, to name but a few.

They currently reside at a campsite in Rhode Island and plan to travel up to New Hampshire in October.

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.”

In a few words of advice to others who wish to renovate an old bus, Elizabeth added: “I think building your own home is rewarding and ensures you know your rig well and get exactly what you want.

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

“Older vehicles can also be problematic though, our bus has a lot of rust because of where it came from and has caused some complications.

“Overall we’ve been pretty lucky and have been able to figure out just about all of our mechanical problems.”

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The family transformed this school bus into a home


The family transformed this school bus into a homeCredit: Jam Press


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