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Family of 6 Living Tiny in Converted School Bus

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This is a converted school bus that Sarah Szymczak, her husband Ed, and their four kids live in.

Sarah says, “I never thought we would own a school bus. Yet, it does not surprise me that we do. We’re always up for an adventure, always open to venturing outside of the norm. Two creative parents. Four fun loving kiddos. And a whole lot of wild and crazy dreaming.”

I hope you enjoy learning how this family converted an old school bus into a fun, crafty and cozy tiny home for six! So I’ll let Sarah take you on their journey to school bus living below.

We want our children, our family, to be grounded in a lifestyle that isn’t about the next big purchase, but rather the next experience that feeds the core of who we are. So, we bought a bus. Here’s how that happened…

Please enjoy, learn more and re-share below. Thank you!

Family of 6 Living Tiny in Converted School Bus


Images © Simply Mothering

My husband came home from his clinic shift one evening (he’s in his 5th and final year as a naturopathic medical school student) with a kitchen sink…for the bus that we had yet to own at that point. Three weeks later, we purchased our new-to-us bus through an online government auction and drove it home. Why?

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There were a few reasons for choosing the bus. The adventure and simplicity of bus living was at the forefront. What an experience for our family! We also own a home in MN (we live in Seattle, WA) and rent a home here. The cost of converting a bus to a tiny home is less than what we pay for a year’s worth of rent and utilities here, so we figured.. why not?

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It’s a financially responsible move that allows us the freedom to focus on life experiences. We also thought that during my husband’s last year of medical school it would be wonderful to move to the community we plan to open his practice in (and an offer to park our bus home on some land in the VERY place we planned to move, came up during our first week of bus talk – oh how I do love when intentions manifest in ways we least expect!).



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We have committed to one year of bus living, one year of living simply in the company of those we love most. If all goes well, we will head into year two on the bus. Our hope is that we will eventually be able to purchase land, build a permanent tiny home, and live mortgage-free. We envision the bus being retired as a guest house/travel vehicle someday, unless we are too in love with bus living to let it go.

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Therein lies some of the adventure! We’re not sure what is in store for us, but we’re certain that the bus “feels right” and we’re sure that this will be a life changing experience.


Images © Simply Mothering

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Andrea is a contributor for TinyHouseTalk.com and the Tiny House Newsletter! She has a passion for sharing tiny and small house stories and introducing you to new people, ideas, and homes.
{ 27 comments… add one }
  • August 4, 2015, 8:44 am

    What a beautiful home you’ve built! It looks as though it’s also on a magical piece of land. I love the serendipity of you being offered the ability to park on that land. My best to you and your family.

    BTW, I think naturopaths rock and naturopaths with building skills? They are a rare and special breed seldom encountered. 🙂

    • August 4, 2015, 8:56 am

      Do I feel stupid. I just checked out the blog connected with this story. Long story short, Dad has graduated, bus has been sold. I still wish this family well but wish the article reflected that it was past tense.

      • Alex
        August 4, 2015, 10:06 am

        Hey Lannette, don’t feel stupid! We should’ve included that somewhere in the story but they’re still living in it until later this month. They just sold it recently. I don’t think we can expect a family of 6 to live tiny forever. 😀

        “The bus!! We sold the bus about a month ago. We never officially listed it for sale. We had 12 inquiries from people who had kept up on our bus adventuring via this blog. We sold it to some dear ones that we know and it will transition into very good hands. We are still living in it until late August and then will pass it along for it’s next adventure.”
        Source: http://simplymothering.com/2015/07/12/a-look-back/

  • Trish
    August 4, 2015, 11:42 am

    This is great layout for a family of six. Nicely done. Too bad it was sold.

  • Joyce
    August 4, 2015, 12:17 pm

    Absolutely LOVE the bus. I would certainly consider a smaller version for myself. I appreciate the idea of the experiential lifestyle that you wish to build your family around. That is the best life worth remembering.

  • Brian
    August 4, 2015, 2:08 pm

    What an amazing home you had, so well built and immaculate. Thankyou for sharing and cheers from Australia.

  • Elle
    August 4, 2015, 3:37 pm

    That’s a nice amount of square footage, and beautifully done. I think they’re making a wise and courageous choice. She said they own a home in MN and have set a goal of 1-year (“maybe two”) for living the TH lifestyle so have obviously thought this through very carefully and responsibly to preclude any serious cabin fever ‘freak-outs’. Their kids obviously know this is an experiment of sorts, and they don’t seem like a couple who would force them this on their children. This is a perfect time for this very special family adventure, while the kids are still very young but clearly not toddlers or infants.. It would take too long to name all the wonderful ways in which this will shape these childrens’
    interpersonal skills, independence, creativity, relationship with material things and on and on. That said, this TH would be heaven for 1 or 2 people wanting to travel and/or live simply. All the best to your family with all of your endeavors and thank you so much for sharing your lovely home and story. I do hope you’ll keep us posted on this wonderful adventure.

  • Kim Pratt
    August 4, 2015, 10:04 pm

    Maybe, a while on the road, and settle where they own property. Meantime, I am sure the kids got “homeschooled”, and that is appropriate, “homeschooled on a school bus”. Maybe some kids will want to venture out again, and maybe some might like to stay put. I have the itch to travel myself.

  • Kerri
    August 5, 2015, 11:56 am

    This is beautiful! What fortunate children to be raised as free-thinking “outside the box” individuals. It’s amazing how little we really need for basic living. THIS is living. Overburdened debt loads, working 12 hours plus days and unecessary creature comforts are like shackles. Kudos to the family!

  • Lex Wolf
    August 6, 2015, 7:41 am

    The Washing Machine is a bit extravagant…so then, where is the air conditioning? Gets hot out there…

    • Varenikje
      August 7, 2015, 1:37 am

      Extravagant? Like maybe you think it would be better if they beat their clothes on a rock?

      And Washington is known as “The Evergreen State” for a reason…

  • Marsha Cowan
    August 6, 2015, 7:09 pm

    Way too cool! Great renovation…very pretty. I like the way the sleeping areas are in the front of the bus and the living are in the back. I think a family of 6 would have to have the best darn washing machine they could find…can’t be too extravagant with that much laundry. Keep us posted on your next adventure. Will it also be in a tiny type house?

  • Aly
    August 29, 2015, 9:48 pm

    What I was hoping to read in this post or find on this site is an article about how family life with children transformed once the switch to tiny living was made. I want to know the real struggles, I can imagine a few but I lnow there are some that I can’t think of without living through it. I think this would be very very valuable to a lot of people! I’ve been on the fence for a year wondering how I would make it work with a kindergartener and soon, a new baby.

    Nevertheless, I do love all the work that is put into this site and I deeply appreciate that there is an online community like this!


  • Todd Mikola
    October 29, 2015, 7:48 pm

    What is the online government auction you used to find the bus?

    • Shondra
      April 19, 2017, 9:08 pm

      try national bus sales.com

  • Kristina H Nadreau
    October 29, 2015, 9:35 pm

    I raised 4 children. I would have killed them all, if I had tried to house us in a bus. We had 4 baths and 8 bedrooms, a double oven 6 burner +grill restaurant range 30 years before it was trendy. we had parties where we turned the dining room into a dance floor. We had a real Library, with glass door book cases. I do not find their choices to have merit, beyond a possible $ savings. and I wish them well in their choices even if it is beyond my ability to empathize.

    • Claire Vale
      October 30, 2015, 5:02 pm

      Kristina, obviously we’re all different, and some people can live in a smaller space and/or more simply than others. Our small family could spend a month or two in something like this easily enough in good weather (it’s a long-term dream / plan of ours to have a house-bus for holidays), but wouldn’t voluntarily choose to do so long term either unless we had a major change in circumstances.
      But that doesn’t mean that their choices don’t have merit, simply that they have a different set of internal rules and guidelines to live by 🙂 The skills learnt in living this way for an extended period of time will stand by them for life.

  • Matt
    April 16, 2017, 3:06 pm

    I have been thinking a lot about converting a bus to live in full time. This idea has now become a passion. With that said it has been such a issue finding places to live or buy property necause of zoning laws and i would like to be completely self reliant. Does any one know of states that will allow you to buy property to live off the grid. This has been a thorn and i have no idea how to over come this issue.

  • Kera
    April 19, 2017, 7:06 pm

    Hello! Wow! I want to live in a bus… The outcome is beautiful.
    You must be very pleased.

  • keepyourpower
    April 19, 2017, 7:34 pm

    Whoever bought it got a wonderful home!

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 20, 2017, 4:06 am

      That they did!

  • Silver Gypsy
    April 19, 2017, 9:34 pm

    This is an excellent bus conversion. You get more of a regular THOW feeling than bus feeling. Really nice. Best wishes to all concerned.

    • Natalie C. McKee
      April 20, 2017, 4:03 am

      True! It feels so homey 🙂

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