Watch This Skoolie Conversion Video Tour
Converting a vehicle into a living space is a popular choice for people who want to live the RV life. And it’s easy to see why. With a conversion, you can create a custom-built RV exactly to your specifications, with everything you could need. There are plenty of options for vehicles to convert (even minivans), but one of the coolest options is without a doubt the skoolie conversion.
If you aren’t already familiar, a skoolie conversion is a school bus that has been converted into an RV. Besides the undeniable curb appeal of a skoolie, they also have the advantage of being nice and spacious. This is especially true when you compare them with other popular van conversions, such as sprinter vans.
Another great thing about skoolies is their accessibility. Because schools frequently need to replace their buses, you can easily buy a used school bus for $3-$7K. This combination of space and affordability makes them a great option for families that want to live the RV life.
One such family is the Culley family, who live in a DIY skoolie conversion that they did themselves. They decided to make the change after years of struggling to pay the bills and make time for family. At first, they looked at various tiny home options, but couldn’t afford to buy land to build a home on.
That’s when they decided on a skoolie conversion. They were able to purchase a used bus and began doing their DIY conversion. It took them plenty of hard work and late nights, but finally, they moved into their new skoolie: “The Skulley Bus.”
Welcome to the Skulley Bus
The Culley’s recently gave a tour of their awesome skoolie conversion to the folks at Gilligan Phantom. They share all about their story and show all the awesome features that The Skulley Bus has. And after seeing the tour, you might feel just a little jealous of this awesome conversion.
The Skulley Bus is a 2000 GMC Blue Bird which they purchased for about $2,000. Outside, they’ve given the bus a fresh coat of paint, 6 solar panels, and of course, external hookups for water and power. They can also access extra storage from outside by opening the bus’s back doors.
But when it comes to a skoolie conversion, the really exciting part is what’s inside. And The Skulley Bus is packed with cool stuff!
The skoolie’s interior
As soon as you enter The Skulley Bus, you see unique features. Right at the entrance is a super cool wall made out of vintage soda crates, which has space to hang coats and store shoes. In the driver’s seat is the “kitty-corner,” where the Culley’s two cats hang out and do their business.
The next area in the bus is the sitting area, which features a couch from Home Reserve that doubles as extra storage. Here, the family watches TV and plays games. In this area, you’ll also find one of this skoolie conversion’s best features: a wood-burning stove!
Next up is their lovely little kitchen. It features custom-built wood shelves they built and stained together, as well as a thrifted cutting block.
Next to the kitchen is another unique feature of The Skulley Bus, the “homeschool corner” where Jen Culley homeschools her two sons. Here, they’ve painted a wall with special paint to turn it into a magnetic chalkboard.
Throughout this beautiful skoolie conversion, you’ll find plenty and plenty of plants. You’ll see plants all over the bus, on the dashboard, in the skylights, and on shelves throughout. These little touches of life help make The Skulley Bus feel super cozy and inviting.
In the back of this skoolie conversion is where you’ll find the family’s sleeping quarters, as well as their shower and bathroom. For their two boys, the Culley’s made custom bunk beds. These feature a special rainbow-painted wall, glow-in-the-dark star stickers, and of course, storage for all the boys’ things.
All the way in the back is where you’ll find mom and dad’s room. Here, they have a big comfy queen bed that looks out through the back window of the bus. The bedroom has plenty of custom touches, a woven curtain for privacy, curtains they DIY’d themselves, and a very cool moss wall to give the space a touch of life.
The bathroom features a composting toilet that the Culleys made themselves. It’s also got custom cedar panel siding, a thrifted medicine cabinet, and coolest of all, it uses the bus’s own rearview mirror as the bathroom mirror! Rounding out the back of the bus is their custom shower, as well as some more storage and an electrical closet.
Life in The Skulley Bus
At first, it wasn’t easy to have a family of four in a skoolie, but eventually, the family adjusted.
“It definitely took us a few weeks to really get the hang of what our solar system could handle and how long until our water ran out and when we had to change the toilet bag, but that’s kind of settled down and we have a hang of it.”Jen Culley
The family of four lives in their van full-time, with Jake Culley, the father of the family, working at the farm in New Hope, PA. where The Skulley Bus is currently parked. Their two boys are homeschooled on the bus and spend plenty of time playing both inside and outside of the bus.
“It’s just really nice to have somewhere to call home that we made and don’t owe anybody for,” Jen says of life in the Skulley Bus. When asked for advice for anybody who wants to do a skoolie conversion, Jen says: “allot way more time for it than you originally thought because pretty much every project definitely took more time than we were planning on.”
Jake, meanwhile, had this to say:
“Just take your time, have fun, don’t stress yourself out about the small things. Everything can be fixed and just don’t make yourself go crazy thinking it has to be 100% perfect.”
And his biggest piece of advice? He says,
“Take your time designing it, picture what you want, and go for it!”
For more tips on building out your own skoolie, browse the forums at Skoolie.net. This school bus conversion network provides a great way to connect with fellow skoolie owners and enthusiasts. This skoolie bus book is also a must-have, comprehensive guide to every step of the conversion process.