Man buys old school bus and converts it into a stunning modern studio apartment on wheels

After a failed business deal at the beginning of the pandemic, US Coast Guard veteran Craig Gordnier found himself back home on his parents’ couch at 27 years old.

He tried to find work, but it was more difficult than ever.

“March, April, and May was just so difficult. Because of COVID, I knew I wasn’t going to find a job. The way that life was looking, I had everything taken from me,” he told Insider.


Craig, who was in the military for eight years, envisioned himself as a traveler in an RV in retirement.

He realized that he could save 40 years on his original plan and build his dream RV right away.

He bought a 1999 Bluebird TC 2000 bus school bus in May 2020. Craig spent $40,000 to convert the vehicle into a mobile house over the next six months.

Craig Gordnier inside the school bus during its renovation

The bus was partially restored by a Coast Guard veteran who bought it from a South Dakota man who had raised the roof and put spray foam insulation on it.

He took over the point and transformed it into a livable home, with the help his grandfather and a few friends who are skilled in welding.

The garage of Craig Gordnier's mobile home

Craig said he wasn’t worried at all about downsizing. In fact, he found the entire process to be “liberating.”

He now lives a clutter free life and has completely adopted the minimalist lifestyle. He doesn’t have a storage locker and everything he owns is with him on the bus.

Craig designed his home with an open layout and modeled it after a studio apartment.

Inside Craig Gordnier's mobile home

“Just because houses have rooms does not mean that a bus needs to have rooms,” he said.

You can see right to the back as soon as you get into the bus. Craig believes that this design choice makes the bus appear larger.

“It feels like a mansion on wheels,” he said.

The living area of Craig Gordnier's mobile home

Craig kept the original driver’s area at the very front of the bus to preserve its history. It contrasts with the rest of the home’s modern decor, but it’s his “absolute favorite thing” about the whole build.

Near the driver’s seat is the kitchen area, which features a faux-marble countertop made of two pieces of 3/4-inch recycled plywood. Craig was able finish the countertop with epoxy.

Spacious living room

The kitchen also includes a stainless-steel fridge, a propane stove, as well as an espresso machine.

The living room features a 56-inch fireplace with lighting that can change the color and stones. It has a plywood hearth that is about a foot and half above the ground. The extra space below the ground is used as storage.

The fireplace in Craig Gordnier's mobile home

There’s also a coffee table on hinges attached to the fireplace, which can be stowed away or expanded into a table.

A couch is located across the fireplace and can be used as a queen-sized bed. The electrical systems and bus batteries are conveniently hidden behind the sofa.

The bathroom and bedroom in Craig Gordnier's mobile home

Craig’s bedroom and bathroom are located at the very back of the mobile home, with a wall separating the two areas.

The bed size is between a full and a queen, and it sits on a raised platform. Craig can enjoy a full view at night thanks to the skylight.

The bedroom

The bathroom includes a rainfall shower and composting toilet. There is also a sink, vanity mirror, sink, as well as a three-drawer medicine cupboard.

“The craziest thing you’ll realize is that by living in a small space and having way less stuff, [you have less of] all of the little monotonous things that rob your day one penny at a time, like cleaning or laundry or dishes,” he said. “You have so much more time to just be doing what you want.”

Kate and Craig Gordnier announcing they are having a baby

The Coast Guard veteran is happier today than ever. He lives his dream life with Kate, his partner and their baby girl, due out in March! You can follow him on Instagram for all the latest updates.

Click on the video below to see Craig’s gorgeous mobile home. 

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