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Students Convert Short Bus into 160 Sq. Ft. DIY Motorhome (For Sale)

This 1988 Ford Econoline 350 Short Bus Conversion is a guest post by Lacey Leonard (Update: Asking Price Lowered)

My name is Lacey Leonard and I am an undergraduate Sculpture Student. This was my tiny house project and I am very excited to share it with you!

The bus is a 1988 Ford Econoline 350 with Short Thomas Bus Chassis. This bus was an undergraduate research project in sustainability, mid-century design, and woodworking. The entire interior is hand built with Virginia barn wood dating 150 years back (some of the pieces go back even further).

The project took about one year to complete and was a collaboration between art students. We designed and executed the bus to be functional and ergonomically through mid-century design. The bus is completely off-grid but has room for personal modifications.

There is a composting toilet, fold out kitchen counter, stainless steel protected space for heat source, AC unit, tiny closet, bench storage, sink, and red oak wood floor.

The wood used in the bus is red oak, white oak, chestnut, poplar, pine, birch, walnut, and red wood.

Students Convert Short Bus into 160 Sq. Ft. DIY Motorhome (For Sale)


Images © Lacey Leonard


Related: Adventurous Couple’s DIY School Bus Motorhome













Images © Lacey Leonard

For Sale

I am asking $23,500.00 $15,000 for the bus. Interested buyers can contact me through email at [email protected]

Video: Students Convert Short Bus to DIY Motorhome

Our big thanks to Lacey Leonard for sharing with us!

You can send this short school bus conversion story to your friends for free using the social media and e-mail share buttons below. Thanks!

If you enjoyed this short school bus conversion you’ll absolutely LOVE our Free Daily Tiny House Newsletter with even more! Thank you! 

Related: Meet Kelly Patton the Traveling Artist and Tiny Dweller

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Alex is a contributor and editor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the always free Tiny House Newsletter. He has a passion for exploring and sharing tiny homes (from yurts and RVs to tiny cabins and cottages) and inspiring simple living stories. We invite you to send in your story and tiny home photos too so we can re-share and inspire others towards a simple life too. Thank you!
{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Carol Perry September 28, 2015, 10:51 pm

    Wow! You guys did a great job converting this bus into a motorhome . What a clever idea! This would be great to use if you wanted to travel across the country.

    Hopefully you will get the price your asking. Good Luck!! Carol

  • jo chanin September 29, 2015, 7:57 am


  • Sandra September 29, 2015, 12:47 pm

    I love all the flowery prose in the description, but this is pretty much a very simple bus conversion. Not special, beyond the fact that’s it’s a school project. I too would have done a lot more research. Live and learn.

  • Marsha Cowan September 29, 2015, 3:12 pm

    It’s a beautiful and cleverly done tiny bus. It About the same size as mine, 71/2 feet wide and 10 long feet up to the back of the driver’s seat. That makes about 75 square feet of living space, so they must be including the area from the back of the driver’s seat to the front of the hood. No matter, beautifully done!

  • Sharee September 29, 2015, 4:09 pm

    What class driver’s license (CA) do you need to drive this shuttle bus?

  • Lisa Marie September 29, 2015, 4:18 pm

    I really hesitate to read the comments on this site anymore! So many people seem to be experts on the tiny house movement now that they feel free to criticize as if they have ever actually done anything like build a tiny house or convert a bus. Compound the criticism with a heavy hand that they would never use face to face or on a friend or loved one, and we end up with a bunch of looky Lou’s with a ‘tude that makes me glad I don’t know them.

    Having personally converted a bus that I live in full time, I appreciate the not inconsequential effort that it requires to conceive and implement, much less finish, a project of this scale. I would wager that these UNDERGRADUATE students (where someone came up with publicly funded is beyond me), learned a lot about communication, sourcing of materials, problem solving, and plain old hard work. So it’s pretty basic! Mid-century homes, and thus the reflected design of this bus, weren’t fancy schmancy or high tech, and thus much more bells and whistles would have been out of keeping with the scope of their project. Cost? You don’t know the value of something til you build it yourself. I see a lot of exclamations regarding price on this site, but none of them seem to be from folks already living tiny or who have walked (and screwed and cut and drilled and carried and heaved) that road. $28K for a year’s work from one person (much less a few) is getting pretty cheap unless you support a slave labor market!

    Stop channeling the jerk judges on your favorite who-wants-to-get-reamed tv show. Somebody’s son/daughter or mother/father poured a lot of time, love, blood, sweat and tears into every one of the
    houses you see on this site.

    Don’t like what you see? Get off your duff and go out and build one yourself! Make sure to submit what you accomplish so that others (who view these articles for something besides a box upon which to stand) can gain inspiration and learn from your mistakes.

    Have a beautiful day!

  • Susan September 29, 2015, 4:51 pm

    Hi Lacey. love your little bus. also love the banjo music you used in the background. is there any way I can get that banjo music?

  • Vicky White September 30, 2015, 12:56 am

    Hi Lacy,
    Love your little bus. Anyone who actually starts….. and finishes a creative project of any kind has achieved a lot and more than anyone who has just talked about something, never started, or not finished. It takes guts. Good on you! I’m living in a bus and traveling around NZ – I can only imagine the amount of work that went into building my bus so I could live in it. Congratulations.

  • Marion September 30, 2015, 6:12 am

    I just love to look at these tiny houses. Put it behind you whene people are rude. I am 80yrs young and believe me if I were younger I would be on the project .Great looking tiny houses and keep it up. If nothing else you can intertainment me with the photos and stories. God love you Marion

  • Deb September 30, 2015, 10:23 am
  • Stacy October 1, 2015, 1:03 pm

    To Lisa Marie: I have been reading Alex’s posts for about 6 months. I am learning so much. Sometimes I don’t like what I see and sometimes I love it. I have been formulating a comment such as yours for almost as long as I’ve been reading these. You said it beautifully. What’s wrong with these people? Not everything will be for everyone. Even the projects, I’m not crazy about, I can respect and admire the effort and most times will find at least one thing I didn’t know or an idea I hadn’t thought of. I just have one more comment to those who have nothing better to do..FIND A SITE THAT WILL APPRECIATE YOUR NEGATIVE, UNEDUCATED, NARROW MINDED DIATRIBE THAT TAKES UP SPACE IN THIS BLOG. ps. Thanks Alex. It can’t be easy finding so many different projects to show us as often as you do.

    • Comet October 25, 2015, 8:36 pm

      LOL yeah–some of these haters might be better off on RedState or Breitbart. Narrow minded as they are they would fit right in over there.

      Altho there are things I like and don’t like on almost all of these articles I hope that for most of them I have kept hate out of it! IF I see something really out there–I will say something (esp if it is about an accessibility issue) but I try and keep it factual and upbeat.

      I find it kinda hard on this one to get excited but this is mostly the decor. I had high hopes but my “vision” of what could be done in this space with the items on hand seem to be very different-and that is fine! Would I have done things differently? Yup. But–it’s NOT my project!

      I am kinda concerned if it is TRUE that these comments are being edited—IF this IS the case I would like to know and will stop leaving comments. I don’t want some one cutting and pasting my words to fit their ideas of what I said. Spelling and grammar–that’s one thing; censorship is a different matter entirely.

  • justagirl October 25, 2015, 3:49 pm

    I’m not seeing the mid-century interior – am I missing something?

  • Krys October 25, 2015, 5:07 pm

    I applaud the thought and effort that was put into this idea. Unfortunately, it looks dreadful. poor taste, poor quality, poor design, and it appears to have used materials that came from a junkyard.

  • Sherry F. October 26, 2015, 2:05 pm

    Thank you Lisa Marie. I found this little bus to be cute and functional, without all the extra fluff I neither need or want. I so appreciate all the planning, hard work and time that went into this project. I was truly enjoying this article until I read some of the negative comments.

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