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American Idol Contestant’s Jazz Wagon School Bus Conversion!

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You might have seen CJ Rislove’s audition on the latest season of American Idol and been entranced by his raised roof school bus conversion! Well, today you can get the full tour of his amazing rig, which he first converted with only $5,000 that he’d been saving between the ages of 14 and 17.

Now 22, Rislove loves entertaining in his home on wheels nicknamed Jazz Wagon, and made sure to make space for an oven, real glassware, and a mixology set. He’s super stylish and made sure to build a wardrobe to house all his suits. His advice to anyone looking to go tiny is, “Done is better than perfect.” Don’t let the pursuit of perfection keep you from pursuing your dreams!

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Creating & Sharing Music in His Raised Roof School Bus Conversion!

American Idol Contestant Lives in Skoolie

Images via Tiny Home Tours

He has a cozy lounge in the back of the bus, which is meant to feel like a Speakeasy.

American Idol Contestant’s Jazz Wagon Skoolie Conversion 3

Images via Tiny Home Tours

His kitchen includes an oven large enough to bake a turkey!

American Idol Contestant’s Jazz Wagon Skoolie Conversion 4

Images via Tiny Home Tours

This is his recording studio, where he writes a song every day!

American Idol Contestant’s Jazz Wagon Skoolie Conversion

Images via Tiny Home Tours

VIDEO: Skoolie Life to American Idol – Musicians DIY Tiny Home

VIDEO: CJ on American Idol


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  • Ever since he was 14 years old, CJ wanted to live in a skoolie. So he started saving money in a pickle jar until he was 17 and had enough to make it happen.
  • His goal for the bus was to make a recording studio on wheels, that he could also live in.
  • He, sort of accidentally, ended up with an “obnoxious” 25 inch roof raise. This allows a comfortable height in his loft bedroom, as well as in his living space lounge underneath.
  • One unique priority was to include an oven so he could bake a turkey (or cookies for the American Idol judges!).
  • He also owns about 7 suits, so he dedicated a large chunk of the bus to a hanging closet.

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Natalie C. McKee

Natalie C. McKee is a contributor for Tiny House Talk and the Tiny House Newsletter. She's a wife, and mama of three little kids. She and her family are homesteaders with sheep, goats, chickens, ducks and quail on their happy little acre.

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