95 Chevy Bus Skoolie Conversion With Wood Side Paneling

- Interview By: Brock Butterfield
- Bus Conversion By: Will Sutherland and Sabrina Hartley
- All photos copyright of Will Sutherland

If you recall we posted a blog about a school bus conversion turned into a West Virginia AirBnB by Will Sutherland and mentioned how he was currently working on another skoolie. Will and Sabrina have completed their bus conversion of their 95 Chevy short bus with a 6.5l turbo diesel and embarked on an 8,000 mile road trip summer 2016. Will's eye for wood working is astounding and his layout is very simply but highly efficient.

It's always great to see young couples taking a different look and approach on life. Will and Sabrina made this 76 sq ft tiny home on wheels home for a good chunk of their summer and you can tell that their life is much different than that of what we were "brainwashed" into when we were young. It is a pleasure to feature their second bus conversion on our website and I hope you enjoy the interview and photos below of "The Woody Bus".


Bus Specs:

-Make: Chevy

-Model: G-Van Cutaway

-Motor: 6.5l Turbo Diesel

-Year: 1995

-Interior Square Footage: 76 sq ft

-Current Location: Shepherdstown, WV

-Purchased From/Location: Purchased from a small pub in Shepherdstown "Altos"

-Cost in materials for the conversion: $2500

-Is the conversion complete or still in progress? Complete

-Does your bus have a name? The Woody Bus

Tell us a bit about how the idea to build a bus into a home on wheels came about.

We decided to convert another, smaller bus because our big bus is always booked on Airbnb, and we wanted something more maneuverable.  We also liked the added challenge of living even more "tiny."




Who is involved or part of the crew with your bus?

My girlfriend, Sabrina Hartley, and I did the entire conversion.


Sabrina staining the unique wood side paneling.

What materials did you use during your build? Any reclaimed/upcycled items?

We used a lot of reclaimed materials.  The kitchen cabinet came from our neighbors, the drawers under the bed came from a colleague's old water bed.  Much of the wood came from previous projects.  The table bench is made of reclaimed pool deck wood.  Kitchen sink an old salad bowl used to wash puppies back in my childhood.  Much of the decor is from family members.






How many can the bus sleep and how is the sleeping arrangement designed?

The bus sleeps a couple.  It's a full mattress that is super comfortable.  The bed is in the back of our bus, the head on the driver's side.



Drawers under the bed. An alternative method to installing drawer catches as we had mentioned in our other blog about the best drawer and cabinet catches.

What is your kitchen and cooking setup?

The kitchen is a simple design, gravity-fed sink with grey water tank underneath the cabinet.  We opted for the Campchef portable oven and love it!  We only use one small propane canister a week at most, and that's cooking two or three meals a day.  There is a basic coleman cooler that stows away under the stove and a block of ice lasts us several days.  We have ample storage under the sink and on the full-length shelf on the driver's side.

Sometimes a simple Coleman cooler is all you need.


This little Campchef portable oven works great for small spaces.



Simple yet efficient kitchen setup with an aquatainer.


What is your power source?

For power on the go, we charge all of our electronics with an 800watt power inverter that connects to our bus batteries.  We don't use it when the bus is off.  We have LED rope lighting and LED tap lights that have amazing battery life.  We change batteries every two weeks and get the Amazon brand batteries.  We also have LUCI solar lights that we use all the time and charge on our dash while driving.  When permanently docked, we use a good ole' extension cord from a power outlet either at our house or a friends.


LED tap lights are a great alternative to wiring in lights for those hard to get places.

Do you have a heat source for colder weather?

For heat, we absolutely love our Dickinson solid fuel stove.  It's designed for boat hulls but worked perfectly.  We purchase Duralogs and cut them each into 3" sections and one section will keep our bus nice and cozy for at least at hour.  If it's super cold, we put two Duralog pieces in the stove at first and then maintain the temp with single pieces after that.

Nothing like a nice toasty wood stove fire. Will chose a Dickinson solid fuel stove to heat the bus.

How do you stay cool in the hot summer months?

In the summer we have an AC unit that will mount in the back of the bus and be powered by a small generator that will ratchet-strap to the back deck.

What are you doing for water source? Do you have a bathroom solution for the "rumble guts" hit?

We have a portable toilet, in case of emergencies.  For water we have an aquatainer that we top-off whenever we can.  We also keep a few gallons of water in the back, under the bed in our "garage."

What is the most unique feature of your conversion?

The most unique feature of our conversion is the wood paneling on the outside of the bus that sets it apart from other skoolies.  Other than that, to the average person our short bus as a whole is unique.




What do you do for income while living in the bus?

Although we aren't full-timer's on the Woody Bus, we fund our trips in it with the money we make from sharing our bigger skoolie on Airbnb.  We have friends that stay on the Woody Bus all the time also.  It's parked under an apple tree beside our garden and chicken area and our home bathroom and kitchen is just a short walk away. It's current inhabitant is a teacher.


Will's bigger school bus conversion turned into an Airbnb.

What do you do for Internet while on the road?

For internet on the road, we use smartphones mostly and connect to hotspots for laptop use.

What’s the hardest thing about living bus life?

The hardest thing for us about living "bus life" is when we have to return to day jobs and "house life."  It's a shock to go back to so much space.  We love the simplicity of tiny living.  In our case, though, it would be really nice to have a slightly larger bus for shower space.  We are on the look-out for a 5 or 6 window cutaway bus!


Where can people follow or find out more about your bus? (social media, website, etc.)

People can find out more about or bus via instagram, #thewoodybus and #woodybusadventure



Home is where you park it.