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My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

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We bought our school bus in May 2020.Nicole Jones

  • My partner and I bought a school bus for $3,500 during the pandemic and renovated it to live in.

  • It took nine months to complete, and we’ve since traveled across the country.

  • We designed it with an L-shaped layout for more privacy, plus a larger kitchen and bathroom.

My partner and I couldn’t commit to buying a house yet, so we decided to move into something mobile.

My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

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We bought this school bus for $3,500.Nicole Jones

My husband, Charlie, and I bought an old school bus for just $3,500 in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and turned it into our dream little home.

We lived in Chicago, Illinois, and even though we knew we didn’t want to be in the middle of a city anymore, we couldn’t decide where to put our roots.

So we compromised by moving into something mobile, as it would help us figure out where we eventually wanted to settle.

Construction took nine months and we have been living in this 230 square foot space ever since. Here’s what the experience looks like so far:

We are so proud of the final product, which has an L-shaped layout.

My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

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Our remodeled school bus has a full living room, kitchen, bathroom and queen bedroom.Nicole Jones

Our build features a full living room, kitchen, wet bathroom, and queen bedroom, but one of our favorite parts of our space is its L-shaped layout.

We decided on this layout to create privacy and also allow for a larger kitchen and bathroom.

Our kitchen is where the L-shape begins, with the counters extending to the middle of the bus. Additionally, the dark green cabinets tie in the warm colors of the rest of our build. We want customers to be greeted with a warm feeling when they enter our home.

Our main living area has a sleeper sofa that converts to a guest bed. And there is also a dinette, which allows us to have a permanent work space, as well as a place to take our meals.

We didn’t want to sacrifice what was important to us, like a full bathroom.

My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

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I wanted to have two separate sinks on the bus.Nicole Jones

Across the kitchen wall is another favorite part of the bus: our bathroom.

I really wanted two separate sinks – one for the kitchen and a vanity for the bathroom – with different purposes.

This was important to me, and the addition of the vanity is what led to the L-shaped layout. We needed room for a sink, mirror, shower and toilet in the bathroom, so we had to find a way to fit everything together.

The bathroom is fully tiled, so it flows naturally into the shower area, which has a rain shower head, with a skylight to give us more headroom.

We had no previous tiling experience before this project, but we loved playing around with different options and were really happy with the result.

Our bedroom is my happy place in our home.

My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

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We put a queen size bed in the bedroom.Nicole Jones

Towards the rear there are two closets – one for clothes and another for our electrical system – before entering the bedroom.

I really fell in love with mustard yellows, burnt oranges and neutrals, so we went for warm tones in our bedroom, which makes me really happy when I walk into it.

We were also able to set up an office for Charlie and a washer-dryer.

It took nine months to complete our build, and we’ve been traveling ever since.

My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

 | Top stories

We immediately traveled to a warm place.Nicole Jones

The whole construction took us about nine months. We hopped on the bus with our 13 year old cat at the end of March 2021 and haven’t looked back since.

Our first destination was anywhere warm. We built the bus in Wisconsin and it was brutally cold.

Also, getting used to a tiny life wasn’t as hard as I expected.

The first couple of weeks were an adjustment period, but we’ve always made travel a priority as a couple, so we’re pretty used to being together in small spaces.

To work, we need to find a place with service and make the most of our separate spaces.

My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

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My partner and I are both working from home.Nicole Jones

Charlie and I work full-time remotely on the road, so we need the internet. We fitted the bus with a few different Wi-Fi options, but where we parked needs to have a signal for it to work.

We both have video meetings, so we needed two separate workspaces to do this. Fortunately, the L-shaped layout gives us that.

Privacy can be hard to find in small spaces, so creating this separation made the transition a little easier.

Living tiny comes with its own unexpected challenges, like finding great places to stay and paying for gas.

My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

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Our bus is autonomous with fresh water and solar energy.Nicole Jones

We have made it our mission to chase the sun and the good weather, which can mean that we sometimes move around more than we would like.

Most people assume we save a lot of money living tiny, which is true to some degree, but there are also costs you get on the road, like gas. We make up for this a bit by finding free campsites, often on public land in the United States.

Our vehicle is fully autonomous, so we are able to stay docked for about two weeks at a time. Plus, we have 100 gallons of fresh water, 1,050 watts of solar power, and a fridge-freezer combo, allowing us to live off the grid. This was a huge priority for us during our build, so we didn’t always have to pay for RV hookups.

It can be stressful having to think about where you sleep each night, but the benefits far outweigh any inconvenience or stress.

We haven’t planned to get off the bus yet.

My partner and I live in a 230 square foot school bus with an L-shaped layout. Here’s what it is.

 | Top stories

We have not found a place where we want to settle permanently.Nicole Jones

We plan to continue our adventures for the foreseeable future.

Living in an alternative home, especially a mobile home, has really opened our eyes to the number of different ways to live.

We’re having so much fun on the road and we’re not ready to give up full-time travel just yet.

We also haven’t found the place we definitely want to call home, but we’re sure we’ll encounter it along the way.

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