Sure, school buses don’t exactly sound luxurious. I have distinct memories of sitting in a pool of my own sweat on many a bus ride back in my school days (my school district couldn’t afford the newfangled air conditioned buses), and I don’t think you could pay me enough money to get on a school bus as an adult. But maybe, just maybe, you’d like to live in one.
In April, Austin graphic designer Michael Talley purchased a bus from Austin ISD for just $2,200 on an online auction site and decided to convert it into his own tiny-home-slash-RV. He posted the full conversion on Reddit, explaining the many issues he came across during the process: the fact that he’s 6’6” and the bus’ interior only allowed 6’1” of clearance, the “grueling process” of removing all the seats, the construction of his roof-raising rig -- not to mention getting insulation in his beard, which meant he had to shave it off completely.
Michael Talley working on the bus. Courtesy Michael Talley/Imgur
Talley wrote that the process of rebuilding the bus, while tedious, was worth it:
“When I bought my bus I was living in a studio apartment in North Austin for around $1200 a month including rent and bills. I moved into a tent in order to save money while working on the bus, commuting 40 minutes to work every day, just to afford more steel and more wood. I had never built anything before, and I couldn't sleep for months because my brain was constantly going a mile a minute about how to build this and what I was going to do to build that. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. While I was building the bus I was cheated on, my dog died, I lost my job, my grandfather died, and Central Texas saw it's wettest year in ages, putting me through 2 floods and multiple hail storms. In the end the whole thing cost me around $15,000 and six months of work. I know it's a cliche at this point, but seriously: If I can do it, you can too.”
The process, for which Talley provides step-by-step photos, is mesmerizing. Read the whole story and see the photos here (and marvel, like I did, at those reclaimed wood walls and Talley’s insane good fortune when it comes to scoring really good deals at IKEA).
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