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Avoid Highway: Dark & Moody Bus Conversion


Thomas and Bianca are photographers who were ready to leave their Philadelphia apartment and explore the country more! So they purchased a bus for just over $6k and spend $20k making it into home sweet home.

They chose a unique black and white (mostly black) color scheme, complete with a dark tin ceiling and checkboard tile flooring. A neon sign with their bus name, “Avoid Highway,” hangs above their bed. They got in touch with us and answered some questions about their bus which you can read below!

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Photographers Hit the Road in Their $26,250 Bus Conversion

The tin-style roof looks awesome.

They chose a black and white color scheme.

Here’s the comfy couch with tons of pillows.

I love their bus name in neon!

It hangs over their cozy bedroom space.

The checkerboard tiles go all the way down the steps.

And yes, there’s a shower!

Awesome cozy spot for a cup of coffee.

Getting in the Halloween mood

What do you think of the matte black?

Happy Fall, ya’ll!

Q&A with Thomas & Bianca


Where are you from?

Thomas is from Philadelphia and Bianca from Rhode Island, both currently residing in Philadelphia until we hit the road.

How did you first become seriously interested in tiny homes?

We started out traveling for photography, driving all over the country and staying in hotels. We decided we wanted to pursue this full-time and began looking into buying a school bus to convert into our tiny home on wheels. It didn’t take us long to find the perfect bus for us and the build began!

What type of tiny house do you have or are you working on?

We have a 6 window International school bus that we completed conversion on in the last month or so.

Why did you go tiny? What are you hoping to get out of it for yourself?

We decided to go tiny because we believe the things you own end up owning you. Less materialistic items traded for more memories could never be the wrong choice. We hope to be able to see and do things we likely wouldn’t have been able to, paying rent in our apartment in Philadelphia and only being able to travel a few times a year.

How long did it take you to finish your tiny house?

We purchased our school bus on March 1st 2021 and completed our build on October 1st 2021. Over that 7 month period we spent at least 200 days working on the bus averaging about 700 hours to completion of our skoolie.

Did you do it yourself? Who helped? How much did it end up costing you to build it?

We built our entire tiny home on wheels by ourselves. From gutting the bus, to electrical, plumbing, running propane lines, and building cabinets. Our bus cost us $6,250 and we put about $20,000 into the build.

How did you figure out where to put it? Do you keep it in one place or do you move around?

From the day we got our bus to the day we finished our build it remained in Thom’s parents driveway. We worked day and night to complete it and they were 100% supportive in every way possible.

What’s been the most challenging part about your tiny house so far?

The most challenging part about our tiny house was downsizing all of our belongings. We knew in the end it would feel like a weight was lifted but it was a big adjustment.

What benefits are you experiencing from it so far?

The largest benefit of our skoolie is the feeling of complete freedom.

What helpful piece of advice would you give to others who are interested in going tiny? What mistakes could you help them avoid?

We would definitely recommend doing a lot of research before you build. Over the course of our build we would get to a step and realize we had to undo something we should have waited on. Plan your build accordingly and double, triple check. Also, don’t cheap out. This is your home you’re building after all.

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Our big thanks to Bianca for sharing! 🙏

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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.
{ 9 comments… add one }
  • Brenda Foster
    October 25, 2021, 10:08 am

    Love the dark decor. So many are bright, white, and same looking. This has a personality…their personality. Has all they need and want. Wish them years of joyful traveling, and cherished memories. Only thing I would change would be the tile stairway. Hard to tell where the steps end. However, well planned and they did a great job.
    Brenda

    • Natalie C. McKee
      October 31, 2021, 8:01 am

      I agree! Something totally different, and totally “them.”

  • Stephen P Johnson
    October 26, 2021, 10:08 am

    One of the most unique builds I have seen. Love it!

  • Marsha Cowan
    October 28, 2021, 5:45 pm

    Very cool! You can tell they’re extraordinary artists.

  • Marsha Cowan
    October 28, 2021, 5:45 pm

    Love the name. . .

  • Diane W Gray
    October 29, 2021, 10:23 pm

    You did a wonderful job of designing this space. It’s so professional in every way. It will be easy to sell again if you ever have a change of plans. There would be big market for this.

  • Rosie
    October 31, 2021, 5:17 pm

    Was admiring the inside of your bus, until I saw your shower head right at the doorway. That was a real doozy surprise, but liked it. Not sure about the dark matted color on the outside.
    Good job!

    • Bryan O'Connor
      November 1, 2021, 4:37 pm

      Don’t need a big shower, just need somewhere to shower and as far as the color goes it will be easier to hide if the need arises.

  • Bryan O'Connor
    November 1, 2021, 4:29 pm

    Looks absolutely amazing! I wouldn’t change a thing, not even the paint color. I don want to ask though, was there a specific reason for the tile wall in the doorway?

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