- Tusk The Blue Bird School Bus Conversion -

Written by: Brock Butterfield
 - Photos: Stephanie Artuso

I stumbled upon across Stephanie's blue bird school bus conversion on Instagram the other day and was instantly drawn in by the colors and artistic style. Everything from the 3-D color cubes on the floor to the elk and deer sheds throughout the bus. After chatting with Stephanie a bit I learned that she was located just outside Lillooet, BC where I once got a flat driving to Alaska. She's an organic farmer and is lucky enough to live on the land that she farms which is owned by friends. For the chilly nights she has a wood stove with plenty of BTU's to keep warm. The engine of the bus has also been converted to run off of propane.

With literally no budget for the conversion, Stephanie salvaged materials from an old mill site and collected mis-tint paints from the hardware store. She's fortunate enough to leave the bus parked and run an extension chord for power and a hose for water that's tapped into the irrigation line. An external outhouse with a solar shower complete's this minimalistic lifestyle. Enjoy the tour below of Stephanie's skoolie conversion into a tiny home.

Bus Specs:

-Make Chevy with V8 running on Propane

-Model Blue Bird

-Year 1986

-Length 72 passenger

-Interior Square Footage Unknown

-Purchased From/Location Canada

-Name of bus Tusk

-Cost in materials for the conversion $0 - All salvaged material or donated items.

-Is the conversion complete or still in progress? Always changing!

Tell us a bit about how the idea to build this bus came about: It's a 72 passenger. I bought it from a friend, who was using it for storage. He had bought it from a River Rafting company in the area. My bus, that I call Tusk, is in a constant state of progress and alterations. The idea to buy a bus to make into a home on wheels came to me after years of just being annoyed at paying rent and living in other people's homes. I wanted my own home, that I could take with me where ever I go. One that I could make improvements and changes too whenever I wanted, or at least, whenever I could afford it. 



Who converted the bus for you and how long did it take? My budget when I started out was basically zero after I purchased the bus, so all of my materials were scavenged from an old mill site. I used mis-tints from the hardware store and mixed them till I liked the colors to do the floor, which is just the plywood subfloor that was beneath the linoleum. I have had help along the way, with things like the wood stove, and the initial building of the bed frame to fit in the back (this was before I moved the bed to the front of the bus.) But mostly I've worked on my own ( as is apparent when you look closely at any of the work.) 
Front of the bus where the bed is located looking towards the back.
Walk us through your kitchen setup and what items you're using. The Kitchen is very basic. A Coleman camp stove and an out door dishwashing station and cooler. Really bus life for me is like Glamping. I have a hose that is plumbed in from an irrigation line that waters a field near where the bus is parked. I have a wood stove for when it gets chilly out side. I just got it in March and haven't used it too much to be honest. 
Basic Coleman Camp Stove for cooking.
What is your power source? I have electricity in the form of an extension cord, which I use for a couple of lights, and that's about it. There is an Out House, and a solar shower also, with a wicked view. It is a pretty minimal set up.  
What are your future plans for the bus? Eventually my plan for the bus is to build a proper kitchen and  insulate the floors. Then get hardwood flooring. I love having all of the windows, but I imagine if I wanted to spend a whole winter living in the bus I would have to find a way to make it warmer. So far it's  been a gorgeous spring, summer, fall home.
What has been the hardest part of living in your bus? I don't think there is anything hard about living on a bus. Maybe just getting out of bed in the morning when the light is so beautiful and it's so cozy to feel like you are outside, but still in your bed. It is just like camping all of the time. But with all of your stuff. 
Looking from the back towards the front on the right hand side.
Looking from the back towards the front on the left hand side.
How do you sustain yourself/make a living? I am currently making an income as an organic farmer with a few friends on the property that I am parked on. We work with a few other farms in the area under the name of Rainshadow Growers Collective
Where can people follow or find out more about your bus? Places you can follow what I am up too are on instagram @s_artuso and a blog that I sometimes use compassandhatchet.com