Rou Bus: The Full Transformation

Updated: Jan 6

Here it is, folks! The Rou Bus in all its glory, from start to finish.

Let's start with the exterior. We started with a classic yellow school bus with spray-painted stickers. I spent quite a few hours scraping those stickers off.

Wendy removed the mechanism that allows the driver to open the doors and it freed up a lot of space for more storage in the entry way. We also added a cabinet on the opposite side between the entry and the sofa.

The dashboard got a good cleaning and Wendy made some wooden panels to replace the faded black ones. The chair has a cover and there's a removable cat shelf over the side panels.

Wendy created the pull-out sofa bed with storage underneath with very little guidance. It's very sturdy and the perfect size. It pulls out into a full sized bed!

The kitchen might be my favorite part of the bus because it's just so darned pretty! We used stock cabinets from Surplus Warehouse. Wendy cut into the backs of the upper cabinets to fit the rounded ceiling. She used 2x6 boards to create the counter top and under-mounted a nice big sink from Amazon. The refrigerator is an apartment-sized model from Sam's. We will use an electric induction cooktop and an air fryer oven. These appliances allow us to have much more cabinet storage and we can use them outside if we'd like.

The floor started out as a typical icky bus floor with a rubber aisle down the middle. It had to be stripped down to the metal and treated before laying down the plywood. The final layer is vinyl plank flooring that is supposed to be durable and waterproof.

I'm glad we planned for a fairly large closet, because space is filling up quickly as we load up for our first trip! The bottom left portion of the closet is closed off and houses the litter box. The rest of the closet is open space inside with a bar to hang clothes, if needed. The inside walls are cedar panels which smell fantastic. The doors are made from our old fence boards.

We initially had very different plans for a toilet and shower room. We struggled to figure out how to fit both a toilet and a shower in one room and over the wheel well. Eventually, we decided that the two would be housed separately, and I think it works out well! The toilet room has cedar planks on the ceiling and white walls.

The bathtub was purchased from an online RV store and is 3 ft. long by 2 ft. wide. We had planned to tile the walls, but opted for cheaper sealed cedar plank walls instead. The stained glass window panel swings inward so we can still look out of the window.

The bedroom features a queen sized mattress on a frame that lifts to access storage underneath. The initial frame wasn't quite tall enough, so Wendy scrapped those boards and started over with plywood. The frame also has drawers built into the front and a panel to access from the side door. Color-changing LED light strips add some fun flair!

Looking from the back of the bus to the front:

Looking from the front of the bus to the back:

It's been a fascinating transformation! Looking back at the very first pictures, it's hard to believe we started with a regular school bus. It feels so homey now, and we've been inside it so much this past year, that it doesn't even feel like the same bus we brought home.

We started with this wild idea in the fall of 2017. We were met with some doubtful stares and disbelief, but we did it! If we can build a bus together, we can do anything. Camping trip 1/? coming up!

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