Man Builds The Tiny House Of His Dreams With Nothing But A Bus And $2,200
When Michael Talley stumbled upon an old school bus, he didn’t see a relic of the past – he saw an opportunity. With his DIY skills, he embarked on a journey that was full of struggles and setbacks, but nevertheless well worth the effort.
After months of hard work, a once neglected bus was transformed into a beautiful and comfortable home – a true story of trash turned into treasure.
From Studio Apartment to Tiny Home - Michael Talley's Inspiring Journey
Tired of paying his studio apartment’s hefty $1,200 rent each month, Michael Talley decided to take a chance and purchase a school bus from an online auction. Little did he know, this decision would lead him to a more affordable and stylish lifestyle.
After being drawn to the tiny house trend, Talley decided to take the plunge and live in a tiny home of his own. With a professional’s eye for design, he was able to create a space that was both cost-effective and stylish. Talley’s inspiring journey shows that with a bit of creativity, you can make your dreams a reality.
Turning a School Bus into a Home: Talley's Dream Come True!
When Talley stumbled upon the idea of turning a school bus into a house, he thought it would be a cinch to transform it into a home. Little did he know, he had an uphill battle ahead of him.
But, Talley was determined to make his dream of a tiny mobile house come true and started researching the ins and outs of school buses. After a long, difficult journey, Talley was able to turn his vision into reality. Now, he can finally take his tiny home on the road and explore the country!
A Bargain Bus
Talley was on the lookout for buses, but he never expected to find one so soon. He stumbled upon an auction on PublicSurplus.com, with ten school buses up for grabs. The Austin School District was selling these vehicles, but few knew about the deal.
Talley struck gold when he bought the bus for just $2,200 – much cheaper than a used car. Though many would have purchased more than one, Talley was content with just one. He couldn’t believe his luck and was eager to move on to the next phase.
Living the Dream: Talley's Tiny Home Transformation
Talley had a big dream – to transform an old bus into a tiny home. In order to make his dream a reality, he had to make some tough decisions. He decided to move out of his pricey apartment, and into a tent instead, in order to save money for the project.
The sacrifice was worth it – although Talley now had a 40-minute commute to work, every penny he saved could go towards his tiny home. Through dedication and hard work, Talley was able to bring his dream to life – one penny at a time.
Overcoming Life's Challenges: How a Bus Helped Talley Persevere
Talley was going through a tough time. He had broken up with his girlfriend, lost his job, and his grandfather had passed away. But he channeled his energy into renovating a bus, and despite the many roadblocks he faced, he kept going.
He knew he was working towards a greater goal, and this project provided him with the strength to persevere and find solutions. In the end, the bus became his solace during the toughest times of his life.
Talley's Daunting Project Of Turning a Bus into a Home
Talley had taken on a major challenge – and the odds were stacked against him. His original idea had changed and he now knew this would be a lot of work. With no prior experience in building, he spent countless sleepless nights thinking about the design and how he would construct it.
His brain was full of ideas, preventing him from peaceful rest until the final layout was complete. Yet, he was determined and ready to tackle this daunting project and transform the bus into his home.
Talley's Dream Home Began With Taking Small Steps
Talley knew he was in for a challenge when he began the transformation of the rusty old bus into his dream home. With help from his stepdad, he started by removing everything from the inside, wanting a blank canvas to work with.
Taking out the seats and stripping the inside of the bus took a long time, and Talley admitted that the process would have been easier with an angled grinder, but he was still afraid of power tools. As the bus was cleared out, Talley was amazed to see its potential and eager to continue the project.
A Costly Learning Process: Talley's DIY Project
Talley wanted to tackle this DIY project, but he quickly found out that it wasn’t going to be easy. After removing the seats and clearing out the floor, it was time for Talley to tackle the ceilings. Unfortunately, he had never heard of an impact drill, making the task of taking off the panels much more difficult than he anticipated.
After much effort, the panels were finally removed and Talley removed the old insulation, only to regret it later as the previous insulation was in good condition. This project was turning into a costly learning process for Talley, but he was determined to see it through.
From "Too Tall" to "Raise the Roof": Talley's Unexpected Challenge
At 6’6″, Talley was an inch too tall for the bus. He was left wondering how he could make the necessary changes when he stepped onto the bus and had to stoop. It was an unexpected obstacle, but Talley was determined to find a way around the problem.
The inside of the bus from floor to ceiling was only 6’1″ So he resorted to Youtube tutorials and realized he would have to literally raise the roof. Talley was on his way to conquering this unexpected challenge!
Raising the Roof: Talley's Ambitious Project
Talley had a tall order to fulfill: he wanted to add more room to the inside of his bus, but the only way to do it was to raise the roof. With the help of some friends, he cut the roof in half and replaced it with custom metal sleeves, adding an extra 20 inches to its height.
Initially, Talley wanted to add 24 inches, but his friends convinced him to scale back his ambitions and settle for 20. Despite the nerves, Talley’s ambitious project went off without a hitch!
Raising the Roof - A Challenging but Rewarding Experience
From the outset, everyone was making light of the task ahead – “raising the roof” – but the reality was far from a joke. His original plan was to add two feet of extra space, but his friends convinced him it was too difficult.
With their help, he was able to turn the screw jacks in unison and get the roof level in one try. The scaffolding was instrumental in keeping the structure in place during the process. It might have been a tough task, but with a little help from his friends, the end result was worth it.
Entertaining with Ease - Talley's Thoughtfully Designed Home
Talley had a vision for his home – it needed to be a place that was both convenient and comfortable for entertaining his friends. He put careful thought into the design, even drawing inspiration from his favorite movie, The Lost World: Jurassic Park.
Ultimately, he settled on a plan that would make moving around his home as efficient as possible, with the bathroom and kitchen closest to the door to accommodate his guests. With his plan in place, Talley’s home would soon be ready to host his friends in comfort.
Designing a Dream Home on Wheels
Talley wanted to make the most out of every inch of space when designing his dream home on wheels. He had to be precise in his measurements, as even a slight miscalculation could ruin the entire design.
Initially, he was inspired by the adventure vehicle in The Lost World: Jurassic Park, but decided to go in a different direction. As the ultimate entertainer, he made sure the public areas were closer to the front of the bus, while his bed and office were in the back. This design allowed for a kitchen bigger than the one he had in his studio apartment.
An Unexpected Community Effort
When Talley began his project, he was uncertain of how he was going to pull it off. But as he worked, he realized he had more support than he thought. His stepdad provided knowledgeable advice and assisted him with some of the manual labor.
Talley’s friends offered their help and advice, and a lovely couple came to collect the seats and bring them to the scrap metal yard. With the help of his community, Talley was able to stay motivated and complete his project.
Reinventing the School Bus: Talley's Transformation
As Talley worked on transforming the old yellow bus, he was pleasantly surprised by the hidden treasures he discovered. Among them, a note which read “kick me,” a remnant from the old days when the bus was filled with the sound of laughter from mischievous children.
Yet Talley was determined to sweep away those memories and give the bus a new life. His hard work paid off, and when he was done, the bus looked nothing like what it used to be. Talley could soon create a whole new set of memories after this unique transformation!
Crafting the Perfect Bus Home
Talley was determined to make his dream a reality. Each day, he worked tirelessly to transform the inside of his bus into a home. He set up the framework and carefully measured furniture to fit perfectly in the small space.
He even had a makeshift office to get some work done. The biggest step was replacing the windows – while Talley thought of keeping the originals, they wouldn’t provide the best insulation or privacy. So, he installed new ones, ensuring that his dream bus would be perfect.
Creating a Dream Home with a Movie Theatre Vibe
Talley loves entertaining and is a huge movie fan – and has even met a few Hollywood celebrities. So it was only natural that he wanted to create his very own home theater for him and his friends to enjoy. As a designer who works from home, Talley also needed a home office.
With so many ideas and a small space to work with, Talley embraced the challenge and set out to create his dream home, replete with all the features he desired.
Maximizing Space and Saving Money: Talley's Kitchen Design
Talley had a passion for cooking and entertaining, and he wanted to make the most efficient use of his kitchen space. With an eye out for a bargain, he was thrilled to find an Ikea kitchen line being phased out and grabbed a fantastic deal on a butcher block countertop.
Plus, he only spent thirty dollars on cabinets and drawers, which left more of his budget to invest in other parts of the design. Talley’s kitchen was the perfect balance of style and savings.
Sprucing Up His Space: Talley's DIY Furniture Transformation
Talley had some furniture left over from his old apartment and decided to customize it to fit his new, smaller space. By removing the back and arms of his couch and building new armrests, Talley saved himself money and added a comfortable spot for watching movies or eating meals.
To finish off his design, Talley hung the American flag as his first piece of decoration, infusing a sense of style into the space. With his DIY ideas, Talley was able to make the space start to feel homely!
Overcoming Fear: Talley Tackles Construction with Power Tools
Talley had never used power tools before, so the prospect of using them for his construction project was a bit intimidating. But as with any construction job, power tools are essential for getting the job done quickly and efficiently. As he took on more challenging components of the project, Talley gradually overcame his fear and gained the confidence to use the tools.
He was committed to taking every necessary safety precaution so that no one would get hurt in the process. In the end, Talley successfully used the power tools to cut the windows for the kitchen and bathroom – a major milestone in his construction journey!
Overcoming Unexpected Setbacks: Talley's Journey to Transform His Bus
When Talley first moved his 40-foot school bus, he encountered a huge setback. The power steering broke after he got stuck in the mud. He briefly entertained the thought of removing the engine entirely, thus not having the ability to drive the bus around, but ultimately decided against this.
He was determined to make his dream of traveling the country come true. So, he chose to fix the engine, and ensure his home was a mobile one. Despite the unexpected setback, Talley persevered and eventually achieved his goal.
Blood, Sweat, and Tears: Talley's Journey to Home Ownership
Talley’s journey to home ownership was full of hurdles and hiccups. From minor mistakes to small injuries, it was no easy feat.
Working with heavy materials and power tools exposes you to risks and Talley was no exception – when he was putting up the steel siding, one of the panels dropped and sliced his arm open, leaving him with a permanent scar to remind him of the hard work that went into building his home. Truly, it was a journey full of blood, sweat, and tears.
Taking Matters into His Own Hands: Talley's Energy-Efficient Journey
Talley was determined to make his home as energy-efficient as possible. Being an environmentally conscious person, he knew he had to take some initiative, and installed solar panels to power his bus.
But this was no easy feat – the panels were heavy and the wind was blowing items off the roof. Despite these challenges, Talley was determined to make his home a green haven and persevered to get this job done – all on his own. In the end, he was successful in making his dream a reality.
DIY Success: Talley's Transformation Story
Talley was determined to do as much of his transformation project as possible himself. One part he was especially proud of was the kitchen backsplash. He had a clear vision of dark hardwood floors and white subway tiles with black grout in his mind, and he was thrilled to see it come to life.
Despite admitting it wasn’t his best work, Talley achieved an impressive result, especially considering he had never put up a backsplash before. To ensure the material was both lightweight and sturdy, he made sure to use the best quality he could find. The result? A designer kitchen!
Talley's Heartwarming Journey with the Armadillo Bus
Talley was taken aback when he first saw the armadillo sign on the side of the bus up for auction. He immediately knew that this was the one for him, as it held a special place in his heart. Two of his friends had ridden this bus to school when they were younger, and these memories had stayed with him.
Throughout the project, he was reminded of his friends, who also helped him along the way. It was almost as if the bus had been sent to him to bring joy and happiness. Unfortunately, the armadillo sign was scraped off by the time Talley finished the bus. Nevertheless, it was heartwarming to reminisce.
A Creative Workspace for Designers: Talley's Home Office
Talley, a designer by trade, was determined to create the perfect workspace in his home. To start fresh, he sought a place that would inspire his work and keep the creative juices flowing. After researching, Talley found that most tiny houses installed a small desk that flips out from the wall.
But that wasn’t enough for him, so he built a custom desk that was five feet wide and two feet deep – the biggest desk he’d ever owned! With his new home office, Talley was ready to take his designs to the next level.
Uncovering Creative Solutions: Talley's Budget-Friendly Renovation
When Talley began planning his interior renovations, he wanted to make sure that he was both efficient with space and mindful of the environment and his budget. Luckily for him, he stumbled upon the perfect solution – reclaimed floorboards from a house in Austin, built in 1941.
This creative idea not only saved him money, but he was also able to use the unfinished sides of the wood to accent the walls and couch. Talley was able to achieve his dream renovation while also minimizing his environmental footprint and without burning a hole in his pocket.
Talley's Electrical and Plumbing Masterpiece
When Talley set out to create his dream home, he knew that the design and interior furnishing were only part of the equation. For his masterpiece to truly come to life, he had to ensure that essentials like electricity and plumbing were executed perfectly.
After carefully installing the lighting and plumbing, Talley added the solar panels on the roof, and interior panels on the ceiling. With these final touches, the house was functional, and Talley was well on the way to achieving his dream home.
Overcoming the Heat: Talley's Bus Building Journey
As the Texas sun beat down on him, Talley felt like he was standing in an oven. Despite the lack of air conditioning, he was determined to stay cool during the long building process.
He brought in a fan, opened the windows and the doors, and added more fans inside the bus. No matter what the heat threw at him, Talley kept going, making memories along the way. His journey was one of overcoming all sorts of challenges, proving that nothing could stand in his way.
Turning an Old Bus into a Home: An Unexpected Expense
Talley’s dream of turning an old school bus into a home came with an unexpected expense. As he began the transformation, he soon realized how outdated the bus was.
To his dismay, a wheel suddenly fell off, leaving him with an expensive and time-consuming task of replacing it. This set him back financially and he had to look for ways to cut back to make up for this extra cost. But with dedication and creativity, Talley was able to overcome this unexpected challenge too.
April Fools: Talley's Transformation Goes Up In Flames
Talley had been working hard on his building project, and everyone had been watching the transformation with anticipation. But when Talley posted a picture of a bus on fire for April Fool’s Day, his friends were shocked! His mom almost had a heart attack, but Talley just laughed it off.
He said it was the best April Fool’s joke he’d ever done. Though the photo was fake, Talley’s hard work wasn’t – he’d been hard at it throughout the entire process and it paid off in the end!
Enjoying the Perks of Building: Talley Takes a Test Run
Talley was taking full advantage of the final stages of building his bus – testing out the parts already finished, like his movie room. After a long day of hard work, there’s nothing like relaxing on the couch and watching a good movie – and Talley also wanted to make sure everything worked.
He admitted making a mistake when hooking up the HDMI cables – “I should have wired them to the cabinets above and below, but I was an idiot.” Despite some compromises, Talley was still able to enjoy the perks of his dream bus.
A Home on Wheels: Securing the Essentials
Talley was on a mission. He had long left his apartment and dedicated most of his spare time to transforming the bus into his new home. And he had to make sure it had all the essentials. One of the most important items on his list was a refrigerator. It had to fit in the small space and have the right measurements.
With his fridge in place, it was time to hit the grocery store and stock up. But that wasn’t all. Talley also had to make sure everything in his home would stay securely in place as he drove around the country. His home on wheels was soon to be ready for the open road.
A Fresh Look for Talley's Iconic Bus
After all the renovations, Talley wanted the outside of his bus to look just as nice as the inside. So, after a few more tweaks, he snapped one last picture of his iconic yellow bus before giving it a fresh paint job.
He chose a more neutral color, and it was finally time to get painting. Talley felt a surge of excitement as he moved the bus to prep it for the job. After months of hard work, his dream of transforming the bus was finally in sight.
Making His Vision Come to Life: Talley's Money-Saving Luck
Talley was determined to make his vision for his kitchen come to life, despite encountering various challenges. Fortunately, he had luck on his side when it came to saving money; he already secured a great discount on the countertop and cabinets, and he even found the perfect sink at Ikea for half of its original price!
This matte black sink was just the right size, and contrasted perfectly against the light wood – a perfect combination that Talley was pleased with. With the occasional unexpected expenses, Talley was happy to save money whenever it was possible.
A Kitchen Transformation that Blew Talley Away!
Talley was blown away by his kitchen! He had a specific style in mind, and when he found all the pieces that fit his vision, it looked perfect. His new kitchen was larger than that of his previous studio apartment, with plenty of storage space to neatly organize everything.
It had the look of a fancy kitchen, yet at a bargain price – Talley couldn’t have been happier! He couldn’t wait to show off his new kitchen and cook for his friends. A perfect combination of style, functionality, and price – this new kitchen was well worth it!
A Bedroom to Relax and Enjoy Nature: Talley's Tiny Home Transformation
Talley’s tiny home transformation also contained one of the most important spots – the bedroom. He made sure it was a cozy place to sleep and relax in, with a soft mattress and a TV.
Talley also took the opportunity to enjoy the lovely views of the forest from his bed, as he loves nature. To keep the charm of the bus, he decided to keep the original emergency door fully functional. With his bedroom, Talley had a comfortable spot to rest, relax and appreciate the beauty of his surroundings.
Talley's Dream Home Comes to Life
Talley had rewarded himself for all his hard work with two TVs. One was situated in the home theater, and the other in his bedroom so he could enjoy Netflix nights with his friends, or from the comfort of his bed.
Every small detail had been carefully thought through and meticulously planned, so that his vision of the perfect home could become a reality. After all the time, effort, and money invested into the project, Talley was finally able to live out his dream.
A Transformation Complete: Talley's Bus Living Room
Talley worked hard to have a beautiful living room, and the results speak for themselves! His living room looks inviting, comfortable, and indistinguishable from that of a regular home.
With all the blood, sweat, and tears poured into it, Talley can now proudly call it his own. He finished it off with all the final touches and the transformation was complete. Talley’s dedication paid off and now he has an amazing space where he and his friends can hang out.
A Hair-Raising Experience: Talley's Bus Transformation
As Talley reflected on his bus conversion, he was filled with a wealth of memories – one of the most memorable being the time he sprayed insulation and got it stuck in his beard! After ripping out the old insulation, Talley had to redo it to keep the bus warm in cooler weather.
Little did he know, some of the insulation had found a new home in his beard – and an hour later, he realized the problem. With no other solution, Talley had no choice but to shave off his beard! While it wasn’t the most pleasant experience, Talley now looks back and laughs – a reminder of the unique adventures that comprised his bus transformation.