It’s an Amtran International School Bus, originally built in 1995. More recently, however, it’s been converted into a home for Shane, Julie and their kids, all seven of them!
The bus is called the Good News Bus and they live in it full time while traveling the country. As you can imagine, there are a lot of challenges to managing a family of this size in a regular house (I have eight kids myself) let alone on the road in a converted school bus.
The bus is built out much like a traditional RV. It has a full kitchen, including an oven for baking their own homemade bread. There’s built in bunks for all of the kids and a designated dining table that serves many purposes in the rear.
The back emergency door leads into an honest-to-God laundry room. Trust, me, that is not a luxury with seven kids.
Interior view showing the kitchen and dining area.
Everything is done in a light, earthy color palette that makes the bus feel larger, and I’m sure serves the dual purpose of hiding some of the daily grime, not that the place isn’t spotless.
There is lots of honey colored wood trim around nearly every surface, one of the most durable materials to survive the kind of traffic this bus sees, and many custom touches, like the brick paver patterned kitchen counter tops.
Close-up of kitchen area and countertop.
The build took about two and a half years to complete, all the way from raw bus seats to functional RV.
A lot of that time was spent in research and design to make sure everything would be exactly where they wanted it. At the front and rear of the bus the windows were left exposed to provide plenty of natural light and great views, while a large mid portion is windowless for privacy.
Great for routine use: dirt and wear-resistant entry steps with diamond plate.
Plans were adjusted to make the best available use of the space, while making the conversion as economically-minded as possible. So, things like the kitchen and bath features were placed close together to keep cost and time to a minimum.
Another thing you’ll notice is that the entire design has durability at its center, in features like the stainless steel diamond plate on the entrance steps.
The Good News Bus in its completed state.
Storage was essential as well and that starts from the front door, where a shoe rack collects shoes as the family enters. While they do have a house, they transition from house to bus fairly regularly and it takes about two weeks for the transition to sink in and the bus to really function like home.
Close-up shot of the driver’s cab.
Other factors for conversions that will also be a long-term home are comfort and usability. Air ride seating was added for the captain, since riding in a standard equipment school bus driver’s seat for eight or ten hours at a stretch could be virtually crippling. A back up camera was also added for safety.
Shane wasn’t the only that needed tools of the trade in order to be comfortable. Julie has outfitted her kitchen with a stainless steel, four burner stove with an oven.
This is one of the most thought out, personally designed conversions we’ve shared. Lots of great ideas for families that want to spend time on the road together.