Take a Look Inside This Cute & Cozy DIY Family Skoolie

Mobile Dwellings
by Mobile Dwellings

When we had our daughter, we wanted to do something epic for our family, like leave our jobs and enrich our daughter’s life. I wondered if we could comfortably live in a school bus? We decided to give it a go and we’re going to give you a tour of our family skoolie.

Why live in a skoolie as a family?

Family skoolie build

A great childhood

My daughter is young and won’t remember it all, but I want her to remember feelings she had, like all the amazing adventures we had together and that she grew up on a school bus. 

Turning a school bus into a skoolie

How to build a skoolie

Rare bus

We bought a rare, one-of-a-kind bus that we flew to California to get. They only made a few thousand of these buses and most went into the landfill. We saved one from being crushed.

DIY skoolie build


It’s been a project that has tested every one of my capabilities and made me a great problem solver. I had a little bit of construction experience, but nothing like this. I had to learn how to safely cram plumbing, HVAC, water storage, and electrical into a school bus.

Family skoolie tour

Ceiling height in a skoolie

Great ceiling height

We bought this bus for a couple of reasons but one was because of the great ceiling height. We also replaced all of the hatches with boat hatches so we could get out onto the roof to reach the solar setup. It also brings in a ton of light and we get to have airflow. We kept all the bus’s original windows. 

Skoolie living area


Our living room has two couches made from RV mattresses with custom covers that easily come off to wash. We painted the floors with low-VOC white paint. We didn’t want to lose head space by adding flooring, but we wanted something bright. We put some runners down for warmth. 

Table mounts

Table mounts

We also have two tables installed on a click-down mount to give us more space. 

Under-couch storage on a skoolie

Skoolie storage solutions

Couch storage

We have storage underneath the couch cushions and in the dinette seats. We made a little wood storage box under one of the dinette seats.

Kitchen counter space on a skoolie


We wanted a lot of kitchen counter space so we have 5 feet on both sides. 

Skoolie kitchen cabinets


A local custom cabinet maker crafted the cabinet fronts. 

Skoolie sink and backsplash

Sink and backsplash

The sink is an excellent size to give Nova baths. The backsplash makes the kitchen feel like one that would be in a house and not just utilitarian for someone living on the road. It’s black with black grout so it looks cleaner.

Wall storage on a skoolie

Wall storage

There’s a little shelf over the cooktop and IKEA wall racks to keep knives and other utensils off the counter. Any type of on-the-wall solution for tiny living is helpful.

Base cabinets

Base cabinets

We have tons of storage in the kitchen. We used IKEA cabinets for the base. I fill one up with small appliances and another with jars of dried goods. The lamp is from The Urban Electric Company.

Skoolie pantry


We also have a little pantry on the door of the electrical cabinet that we made using IKEA spice racks. 

Skoolie fridge


We have a small fridge, we don’t need a lot of space. We got it off the floor by making a little box down there that is also a storage area. 

Traveling on a skoolie with a toddler

Nova’s nook

We created a little sleeping area for Nova. The mattress is only 28” but it’s plenty big for her. The angled end walls create a bit more enclosed space for her. 

Family skoolie tour

There’s also a ton of storage under her mattress. The door Velcros shut for now, but Justin plans to build drawers in the space at some point. Nova’s light is from The Urban Electric Company. 

Raising a family on a skoolie

There’s plenty of space here for her toys and blanket. And her dollhouse fits, too.  

Inside a family skoolie

Nova has a magnetic chalkboard in her room, which is located on the front of the door to the bathroom. 

Skoolie toilet and bathroom


We have an Air Head Composting Toilet that we spent a lot of time researching. We have a space for a shower, too. We’re not in any rush to build one since we have one outside.

Skoolie closet space


Our bedroom is in the back of the bus. We have a his-and-her closet. I have IKEA storage and shelving, and Justin’s closet is opposite of mine. The hot water heater is also in his closet.

Skoolie bedroom with a king-sized bed


Our bed is king-sized. We have tons of natural light with all the windows. We have a ductless mini-split AC back here to keep the bus cool.

Electrical cabinet on a skoolie

Electrical cabinet

Here’s our electrical cabinet. We have 50 amps shore power running to a 120-volt AC panel. There are circuits that run underneath the bus and through the walls and ceiling. We have 12-volt power, an AC to DC converter which leads to a 24 to 12-volt converter, and then our 12-volt fuse panels.

We went 12-volt for as much as we could because we hope to be off-grid in this bus at some point. This is a work in progress so we need to add a few things.

Water pump and water heater on a skoolie

Water pump and water heater

This is our 12-volt water pump and our 7-gallon electric water heater. This takes about 20 minutes to heat up. It’ll give you about an 8- or 9-minute shower. 

Water tank on a skoolie

Water tank

Underneath the bed, we have our 100-gallon water tank. We have space for more if we need it. 

Skoolie front door

Front door

I took the front door and converted it from a bifold to a regular flat door with a standard house lock. 

Exterior storage on a skoolie

Exterior storage

We have two storage compartments to house surfboards and outdoor equipment. Our gray water system is in the undercarriage storage compartment.

Condenser mount on the back on the skoolie

Condenser mount

The mini-split condenser is on the back of the bus and it’s sturdy.

DIY family skoolie tour

We hope you enjoyed our family skoolie bus tour and learned a little bit about how to build one out. Let us know if you are planning a skoolie build. Let’s share our adventures!

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 1 comment
  • Walt Walt on Oct 30, 2022

    How well is a school bus insulated, and what king of heating system did you use?