School Bus To Mobile Home: The Inspiring Process Of Building A Life On The Road
So many of us are caught up in our daily struggles to make ends meet, we’ve forgotten entirely about having fun, thrill-seeking, and living life to the fullest. We’re like robots programmed to do the same thing every day. Not so many people are able to break out of this hectic cycle. However, there are those who have been able to — and today, we’ll be looking into the life of one such family. Luke and Rachel Davis, who now have thousands of Instagram followers, weren’t always the adventurers that they are now. Their story changed when Luke made up his mind to purchase an AmTran school bus. The Davis family would leave their old life in Illinois to experience a new adventure-filled one from that point on. Keep reading to know how they transformed an old AmTran into a home on wheels!
Where It Started
In the years before 2015, the Davis family may never have thought that they’d become minimalists living in a bus. However, as fate would have it, Luke made a life-changing decision in 2015. He purchased an old school bus with a couple of thousand dollars — The AmTran Genesis from ‘92.
When he bought it, the bus was just the regular transit vehicle we rode to school as kids. But after being worked on, the bus became an amazing living space. The transformation effort involved the Davis family and their friends. It took them a year and a half to complete.
Initiating The Conversion
Making big decisions can be difficult sometimes. It usually takes a firm conviction and guts. Deciding to adopt the Skooly lifestyle wasn’t a one-day process for the Davis family. Once they’d made up their minds, they purchased the bus.
Rachel holds their daughter as she poses for a photo beside the ‘92 Genesis; Luke had just arrived back in Illinois with the bus they purchased a couple of days back — he made the trip to Phoenix and back with his brother. Now that the bus was physically present, it was time to start the transformation process.
First Phase of Renovation
The bus came intact with seats in its interior. Those seats were definitely going to be a hindrance to living on the bus. For that reason, the seats had to be obliterated. They wanted to create as much space as they could for the most comfortable experience.
It was also decided that they needed some more headroom. That meant they had to somehow push the bus’s roof a little further up — they were able to push by about 1.8 ft. They would also make changes to the windows as the process continued.
Putting Tools to Work
When doing heavy renovations and installations, some serious tools must be available. Luckily, Luke wasn’t new to handling power tools. He’d gained some experience in past jobs. Of course, he also picked up new things while working on the bus, but he did a pretty good job.
The installations carried out on the bus required knowledge of various fields. There were power installations, wiring tasks, and lots more. With some consultation and positive mindsets, Rachel and Luke were able to prevail and get it all done.
Planning The Bus’s Layout
Once they cleared up the bus’s interior, the couple had to decide what went where — where to put the cooking area, bathroom, furniture, and more. They planned the various placements according to how much space was available on the Genesis.
There were times when installations had to be removed and moved somewhere else on the bus — but it all came together in the end. The kitchen was finally positioned at the center with all the necessary apparatus for reliable functionality.
Protecting The Environment
Luke and Rachel didn’t forget about protecting the environment during their installations. They knew they’d need a backup energy source if they were ever unable to access main power supplies. They could have gone for something unfriendly to the environment, but they chose to go green.
The couple fitted solar panels to the roof of their bus and channeled the clean power of the sun. The roof provided them with enough space to install a good number of solar panels — they were adequately covered in terms of power supply.
Fitting Storage Spaces
Storage can’t be left out when building a living space. This was one major feature that was quite tricky for Rachel and her husband to figure out. They had to place the storage units strategically around the bus to avoid wasting space.
With some extensive reasoning, they started fitting the storage units in the best spots. A couple of units were positioned beneath their living room’s couch. Some went below the staircase, and the rest in other places. In the end, the position of all storage units was satisfactory.
Fitting Bed Spaces
What’s a living space without beds? The couple got to work installing their bed spaces. Of course, they adopted the best space-saving bed arrangement; a bunk system. They stacked the bed spaces above each other. Their bed was on top while their kid’s bed sat below.
The corner placement of the bed spaces made them quite cozy and comfortable to sleep in. They could access the upper bunk with a minimal staircase that the couple had built. They constructed the entire bed area to leave room for extra storage units, which was super helpful.
Gradual Detailing of Installations
After laying the primary structures for the bed and storage spaces, things started looking exceptional. They had framed the bus’s Windows excellently, and the primary structures in the Genesis were impressively neat. The fitted units were never intended to be left plain, so they introduced the paint.
The bus was really starting to look great at this point. They had even fixed the floors. It was timber flooring that they neatly laid out. The walls of the bus complemented the timber flooring in a lovely way. Anyone who stepped into their living space at this point would forget that it was initially a school bus.
More Finishing Touches
The job is never done until it’s actually done. The couple continued working to make their bus-turned-home a mobile paradise on earth. They completed the installation of kitchen drawers and made some extra space to fit a mini table.
With the finishes all coming together, Luke’s dream was now more real than ever. It is clear that the couple had put a lot of thought into the design of the bus’s interior — you see how it all looks in just a bit.
Lighting is another major factor that went into the whole reconstruction process. The couple had to design the bus in a way that its interior would receive enough lighting. They switched the bus’s original walls for custom ones — which enabled them to decide where the windows should be.
They could also decide how big each window should be for sufficient lighting without overexposing the bus’s interior. When you think about it, there’s no way you’d want random folks outside seeing all your activities within the bus. So during this lighting phase, privacy wasn’t left out.
Completing Work on The Exterior
The interior was now good to go. Rachel and Luke started finishing the work outside. Here, Rachel climbs to the roof with the help of a ladder and lays some paint on it. The painting is done to shield the roof from the weather.
Failure to proof the roof against the elements will cause leaks and damages that will take more time to prepare than it did to build. The couple purchased Henry Solar Flex Roof Coating to paint the roof. They used multiple layers of paint to ensure maximum protection.
Looking at All The Work Done So Far
As the bus sits parked, baby Charlotte is seen playing near it. The Genesis bus is almost ready for the road — it’ll take Charlotte and her parents on several new adventures. Luke and Rachel must have felt very proud of all their efforts so far.
The reality of their dreams was now undeniable. They must have felt excited and hopeful. It must have felt surreal — like something out of a movie. The couple and their baby girl will brave the new roads together, and Charlotte will grow up with the most unique experience.
A Beautiful New Home
Compared to what it was before, the bus in this picture is absolutely stunning. The windows look great, and they don’t overexpose the home’s interior. You can notice the roof’s elevation — the family will definitely enjoy all that headroom.
Judging from the result of their renovation, Rachel and Luke were successful in their pursuit of a comfortable mobile home. If you think this photo of the Genesis’s new exterior is impressive, wait till you see the well-furnished interior.
Just look at this! It’s incredible, yeah? This looks like it has everything the Davis family could possibly need. It features the most minor details like mug holders above the sink and larger installations like the kitchen cabinets. There are taps next to the sink for freshwater supply.
The timber flooring is beautiful. There’s a cooker with multiple burners in the kitchen area. A small table is positioned opposite the kitchen with chairs and a stool beneath. There’s a sofa for anyone that just wants to relax. Honestly, the setup is wonderful.
Moving Personal Stuff In
Looking inside the bus, one would believe that the family had already started living in it. There’s a plant in the foreground and curtains on the windows. A small jacket hangs from one of the shelves in the background.
Colorful pillows sit on the sofa opposite one of the windows. There’s also a napkin hanging off the handle of their oven. The bus’s interior is lit adequately as sunlight floods in through the windows. The Davis’s have successfully transferred their home into this bus.
Mom and dad stay on top, while baby Charlotte stays on the lower bunk. That arrangement makes sense since it’s unsafe for little Charlotte to climb the bedside stairs. The queen-sized bed above is large enough for the couple and looks very nice.
Charlotte’s bed isn’t an exception in terms of beauty. It looks very cozy and comfortable. There’s a light in the corner to brighten her bed space. The family will definitely enjoy sleeping together in their new home. They really did an excellent job of managing that space.
A Deep Love
Rachel and Luke are high school lovers. They may have never imagined their life going in this direction when they met — but here they are. They’re definitely killing it as a team. They got married to each other at a young age.
Their love has stayed strong through the years, and they’ll be experiencing this new chapter of their lives as they’ve always done — together. Of course, their amazing love is now shared with their daughter too, and they’ll enjoy traveling to different new destinations together.
The Travelling Family
The adventure begins! The Davis family started touring the country, and it was extraordinary. They could live comfortably while their home was in motion or parked in a convenient spot and live there. They were constantly surrounded by nature and saw many beautiful sights.
The experience of continually being in the great outdoors must be thrilling. There are several activities that the family can do — camping, hitchhiking, fishing, swimming, and lots more. Even this picture says a lot about how much fun they must be having.
The Joy of A New Life
The new life that the family adopted isn’t common to most people. It’s something unique that takes a lot of courage and positivity. At this point, Rachel and Luke had spent about 12 months living on the bus with their kid.
They had traveled through new locations that they’d never been to or dreamed of visiting. Things were going well for them, and they had a strong belief in their plans for the future. They shared the unique joy of living a mobile and flexible life.
The New Baby
Rachel was pregnant, and Charlotte would become a big sister to the new baby. After almost a decade of marriage, it was nice to have a new member added to their family. Charlotte would finally have a playmate to experience all the traveling with.
There’s a sense of hope that comes with the arrival of new life, and the Davis family didn’t lack it. However, the addition of another member to the family would require some changes and upgrades. The couple made sure they did everything necessary to prepare for the new kid’s arrival.
Benefits of The Raised Roof
In the wake of the new baby’s arrival, the couple was happy that they had increased the height of their roof. They could have kept the original height of the bus’s roof, but they decided to do otherwise, and it was a good idea.
They’re happy that they have enough space to accommodate their new child. They planned out the bus’s interior properly, and they have, up until now, enjoyed the benefits. All the extra headroom they got provided space to hold key fittings.
A Child is Born
Oh, what a happy day. The Davis family welcomed the newest member of their family on the 28th of October. Rachel is so happy as she holds the baby in this photo. Many wonderful experiences await the baby aboard the family’s mobile home.
Charlotte must have been glad to hear she has a baby sibling. She’ll no longer be alone with the adults. Thanks to the parent’s efforts, this baby will uniquely get to experience life — freely touring some of the best destinations in the United States.
Baby On The Bus
Rachel takes a picture of the baby while Charlotte eats a snack on the sofa. Charlotte’s not the baby of the house anymore; she’ll have to take care of her younger one now — she’ll most likely have fun doing that, though.
The baby’s presence on the bus brought the Davis family even closer. It made their bond stronger as they all worked together to make the baby comfortable. One can clearly see how much the family has settled into their home in this photo.
At this point, you may be wondering what the baby’s name is? His name’s Abraham. Charlotte, who’s sitting on the kitchen countertop, looks very happy. She looks so adorable in her outfit. As the family toured the country, they came across other people.
This gave them a chance to exchange stories and make new acquaintances. They also participated in various activities with others as they visited landmarks. As a mother of two, Rachel was doing a pretty good job raising the kids — Luke was a proud husband and father.
Just like any other regular family, the couple and their kids did household activities daily. Abraham and Charlotte are seen sitting opposite each other at the table while a tasty meal is prepared at a short distance from them.
You can easily tell that everyday chores like washing dirty dishes and sweeping the floor are carried out regularly. The home looks immaculate, and everything is well arranged to accommodate the entire family. Charlotte seems to be solving a puzzle behind her cereal box.
S is For Snacks
This cute photo shows Charlotte and her baby brother sitting on the bus’s dashboard. Apparently, they like to sit here when they’re eating snacks. They’ve picked out a snack spot that’s convenient for them when the bus isn’t in motion.
Rachel and Luke recognized their little spot and tried to discourage them at first. However, persistence from both children made it difficult for them to be stopped. Abraham and Charlotte hardly miss a day of snacking and playing at their favorite spot on the bus.
The Kids Love Books
Just look at how Charlotte and Abraham are focused on the book they’re reading — they love it! Their parents know how much they’re interested in books, so they make sure they’re regularly supplied. The kids must also be into some acting — the toy sword next to Charlotte’s feet suggests that.
While there were enough reading spots on the bus, there was a problem with book storage. As the kids acquired new books, their collection began to grow. For this reason, the couple had to create a storage unit for the books by using a wire basket.
White and Silver
As the Davis family traveled around the United States, they hadn’t painted their mobile home on the exterior. It wasn’t until after 18 months of their adventures that they decided to touch up the bus’s body. Lots of folks already recognized them with their silver & white colored bus.
The family never felt a sense of urgency when it came to doing the paint on the bus’s exterior — that’s why it took them so long to finally give it a white coat of paint. However, they’d already developed a kind of sentimental attachment to the bus’s silver & white tones — but a change was inevitable.
Getting The Laundry Done
How does the Davis family do their laundry? This is a question that may have crossed your mind. They basically had to choose between installing a washing machine on the bus or visiting a laundromat. The Davis family settled for the latter.
There are several laundromats along the routes they travel, and locating one was never a problem. Besides, installing a washing machine would take up space that they could use for something else. The laundromats helped them to save space on the bus and get their laundry done conveniently.
How Many Years Living On The Bus?
When they took this picture, the Davis family had spent three years living in their mobile home. The vehicle that used to be an old ‘92 Genesis was now their home. They all look happy as they sit together to pose for a picture.
It’s impressive to see how far they’ve come since they first set out to begin a new life. Charlotte is growing older and can take better care of her younger brother now. Three years is a long time, and it shows how much faith the Davis family has in their pursuit of freedom and happiness.
Rachel and Luke gained a lot of experience when they converted their school bus into a functional mobile home. It turns out that the skills they acquired are valuable and profitable. People who are interested in doing similar conversions now provide them with job opportunities.
The couple is really good at what they do. This picture from Instagram shows that they’re total professionals. The work they’ve done on this client’s bus is beautiful. They’ve managed the space really well — there’s a kitchen, sofa, and work area with computers.
Prepared For Cold Weather
When building their mobile home, Luke and Rachel made sure they were prepared for cold weather. In this picture, you can see their stove right next to Abraham. It’s a great addition to their living space, and it warms up the bus when it’s cold.
In addition to the stove, it was decided that more room should be created for physical activities — It’s good to keep the body physically engaged in cold weather. They moved some stuff away from the bus’s center to create all the room they needed.
After touring various destinations across the United States, Luke and Rachel decided to purchase a piece of land. So what’s the land going to be used for? The couple planned to build a yurt on their land. This would provide them with a fixed living space and many new experiences.
Work had not yet started on the yurt, but the family was hopeful that it’d come out well. Considering how much experience the couple had with creating living spaces, the yurt couldn’t be that much of a challenge. For now, they were just super grateful that they had their own piece of land.
Letting go of The Bus?
As the Davis family pursued their plans for a new home, it seemed like they’d have to let the bus go. They announced to their thousands of Instagram followers that they’d have to sell the mobile home — even though it wasn’t something they believed they’d say one day.
However, the change was good for their growing family. Both of their kids were growing every day, and they needed more space to carry out their activities. The yurt would provide them with more than three times the space on the bus.
It was time to bring plans for their yurt home to fruition. The Davis family set out to work. The amount of progress they were able to accomplish within a short time was tremendous — they took this photo on the second day of building the yurt’s base.
The structure is coming together well. At this point, the family still has the bus, and they coordinate the yurt’s construction from there. The location of their new home looks serene and beautiful — the family picked the best spot to build on.
New Baby on The Way
You can easily spot Rachel’s baby bump in this picture. She poses with a smile on her face and much hope for the life they’ll give their new baby. Now Abraham will be a big brother to his younger sibling.
You could say that the yurt’s construction was timely. Having three kids on the bus would have been challenging to manage. Now they’ll have more space to house their kids. Generally, the birth of a new child poses its own challenges, but the Davis family will pull through — they’ve done it before!
We’ll Miss The Bus
If the family had decided to keep the bus, they wouldn’t be missing it so much now — but it had to go. They had made so many beautiful memories in their mobile home, right from when they started converting it to when they toured several American states.
It was inevitable for the family to develop some sentiments for their mobile home. There wouldn’t be any more snacking on the front dashboard for Abraham and Charlotte. Luke and Rachel also had many things they’d miss about the bus — but it was time to move on.
Not Everything Was Perfect
Although Luke and Rachel tried their very best to create a paradise on wheels, there were still some issues. As the family kept growing, the bus’s space couldn’t handle all their needs. The Davis’ had to sacrifice certain things.
In this photo, you can see clothes hanging on a door. In an ideal situation, that wouldn’t be the case. However, they had to sacrifice the space that would’ve been used to hold a drying rack. The door wasn’t the only place they spread their clothes to dry.
Baby Bathes in The Sink
Instead of getting washed in the regular plastic tub, the kitchen sink serves as the baby’s bath. Just like the drying rack that was forfeited, the baby had to be washed in the sink to save space. This shows how versatile a kitchen sink can be.
In addition to being a wash unit, the sink also held the baby safe when Rachel had to do something else. White foam kept the baby engaged as he played with it. It was a wonderful idea that worked out well.
The Smaller The Space, The Messier It Gets
Because the bus’s interior was basically one lengthy room, it was easy for things to get messy. Items in the different sections could conveniently find their way to the wrong places. This picture says a lot about how messy the bus could get.
The presence of little kids in the mobile home would have made it more difficult to maintain a clean space. This definitely gave Luke and Rachel some work to do around the bus on a daily basis. Hopefully, things would be much better in the yurt.
Life While The Bus Was Incomplete
Before the mobile home was completed, the family had to manage the progress so far. There were different objects scattered around, like the broom and ladder in the background, but the family just had to live in there anyways.
The bus wasn’t the most convenient space in its present state. However, the family was hopeful about how well it would turn out once it was completed. They took stops at various locations to work on the unfinished parts of the bus.
Power supply is a key detail that can’t be left out when you’re planning to live on a bus. The couple knew that they’d be too far away from main power grids sometimes. So how would they survive independently?
They installed solar panels on the bus’s roof. These solar panels helped then convert the sun’s abundant energy to electricity for their home. With this installation, they could camp at secluded destinations and still enjoy a regular power supply.
One would think that privacy wasn’t possible in this family bus. However, little Charlotte proves otherwise in this photo. She peeks from behind the temporary wall that she has installed across her bed space — even her parents respect this boundary.
You probably have to knock at the gate to Charlotte’s space. She decides if you can come in or not. The makeshift cover makes her formerly open headspace more like a room. There’s a light in the corner that she can turn off when she wants to take a nap.
Tiny House North Carolina Street Festival
The bus went on many fun trips, and this Festival was one of them. The bus was a perfect addition to the festival. The family was able to share their amazing transformation work with other people. Interested folk came aboard the mobile home to observe its many details.
This picture shows people looking around on the bus. There’s quite a lot of room to accommodate all the people present in the picture. It really makes the mobile home look spacious and convenient. These were the final days of the Davis family’s bus. The yurt is their next destination.