Rehabs and Conversions

Converting a School Bus: A Home for $9,000


Exterior view of converted school bus

Exterior view of a converted school bus by architectural student Hank Butitta for $6,000 in 2013.

Since the first version of this post on converting a school bus was written in 2013f, Hank Butitta’s school bus has become a popular culture icon worldwide, a TedX talk, and all the other accoutrement of memes.

Hank Butitta giving his TedX talk

Hank Butitta giving his TedX talk in 2013.

In architecture school I was tired of drawing buildings that would never exist, for clients that were imaginary, and with details I didn’t fully understand. I prefer to work with my hands, exploring details thoroughly, and enjoy working/prototyping at full scale. So for my Masters Final Project I decided to buy a school bus and convert it into a tiny living space. This was only possible because I was fortunate enough to have an instructor, Adam Marcus, who encourages working at full scale, and allowed me take on such an ambitious and unorthodox project.

The bus was purchased on Craigslist for $3000, and has had about $6000 in improvements. It’s not pocket change, but it’s less than a down payment on a home, and it’s less than I paid in tuition for my last semester of grad school. The majority of the work was completed in 15 weeks, just in time for my final review (although the first seven weeks were almost entirely design and prototyping, with the bulk of the construction completed in the last month and a half of the semester).

—Hank Butitta, Hank Bought a Bus

The dream of one’s own school bus! My son used to watch out the window during regular trips down the New York State Thruway to see a huge parking lot for school buses, some serviceable and many not. He never dared dream of converting a school bus into a home.

Architectural student Hank Butitta converted this school bus into an almost elegant modern-style modular home complete with a kitchen, bathroom, beds (multiple), and storage, with a wooden floor from an old gymnasium. His main website at HankBoughtABus has numerous detailed pictures and drawings of the interior.

Converting a School Bus and Taking It on the Road

Interior view of school bus converted into a home

Interior long view of Hank Butitta’s school bus mobile home.

His travel blog and photos from his 5,000 mile trip from Minneapolis to Yellowstone, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco; then swinging around to Yosemite, Los Vegas, and Bryce Canyon features fabulous photos of the landscapes and cityscapes as well as the interior of the bus as lived in. His purpose was to show architecture students what could be accomplished in the rehabilitation of spaces for tiny living. One photo of people actually living in the bus includes 4 adults and 2 children. It’s a nice change from Tiny House pictures that are always perfectly tidy.

As you click through the website and blog entries be sure to read the comments. They include interesting information and give a real sense of the people who have been attracted to this adventure.

Related Posts:

Revival of Trailer, Mobile, and Manufactured Homes

Tiny House Construction Costs



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