Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortune

You wait ages for one converted bus and then three come along all at once. From a 79-seater in the North West to a double decker in the South East… not to mention a former school bus in Wales. Not so much Location, Location, Location – more Vocation, Vocation, Vocation.

These intrepid couples say their luxury conversions provide a better lifestyle and, with average UK house prices at GBP256,000, save them a fortune. Here’s how three couple made a good fare of creating a home…

Quitting city life to live off grid

Ailsa and Paul converted a old school bus into a home

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Ailsa Gardner, 33, quit city life in Liverpool to convert a giant American school bus. She and boyfriend Paul, 37, have spent a year living off-grid in leafy Cheshire with golden retrievers Berg and Mari.

The work took them 13 weeks and their monthly rent is now GBP400 – half of what they paid before.

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneThe bus comes with living quarters – but the dogs are optional

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Ailsa, a PR manager, said: “We haven’t done this because we have no other options, we’ve done it because it’s a better way of life. “We’ve lived in penthouse apartments in Melbourne and city centre flats in Liverpool and are happiest living on the bus with our dogs.” The luxury conversion comes complete with a hot shower, washing machine, flatscreen TV, double bed, wood burners, fridge and stove – and is parked up next to the couple’s private hot tub.

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneBusting out some moves in the kitchen

Ailsa, originally from Australia, added: “House prices are ridiculous so sometimes people have to do things like this to get themselves ahead, but it’s not a sacrifice.

“If I was to spend the rest of my days living like this then it wouldn’t be a bad existence.”

Living for free on land owned by dad

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneEver wanted to live in a London double decker bus?

Her thoughts are echoed by logistics co-ordinator Charlie Lumbard, 25. She lives on a double decker with her boyfriend Luke Blackmore, 27, an insurance claims handler, and their pet goats, Monty and Darwin. The couple, from Chelmsford, Essex, bought the former London bus for GBP2,500 and spent GBP15,000 and 12 months on renovations.

They moved in in 2017.

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneThis London bus conversion comes with it’s own bathroom

While they used to pay GBP100 a month board to their parents, they now live for free on land owned by Charlie’s dad. She said: “If somebody told me I’d be living on a double decker bus I would have laughed, but it is the best thing I’ve done. We love to travel and didn’t want to be tied down with a mortgage.”

The conversion features a full kitchen, a log burner and even a free-standing Victorian bath, which was lifted on to the top deck by a forklift truck through the emergency exit window.

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneA free standing Victorian bath – and your very own pond

It’s been a labour of love for the couple, who were inspired by George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces TV show. Charlie added: “It was quite an impulsive decision to live off-grid but luckily my dad had an empty plot of land so we had somewhere to set up. “At first it was going to be a caravan, then it was going to be a shipping container and then we went to see the bus and fell in love with it.

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneYou can have all the creature comforts you need – on a bus

“We weren’t keen on getting a mortgage.

I don’t think either of us would have predicted we’d be living in a tin bus in the middle of a field, but here we are and we absolutely love it. “I hoped we’d find some money stuffed down the back of the seats seeing as though we had to rip out fifty-odd of them. But we didn’t find a penny!

“It was fully seated with handrails and bells and all the rest of it.

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneEverything you need – but in a bus

“It’s now fully plumbed, has full electric, flushable toilet and we’re kitted out with everything we need. “For two winters we didn’t have a log burner and that was unbearable, but now we’re nice and toasty and we take our little luxuries where we can. “It’s still fully drivable if we decided to take off but for now, we’re settled in for the foreseeable.

Living in a house just doesn’t appeal to me. I can’t imagine going back.”

All aboard a dilapidated 40ft American school bus

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneTalib & Chloe have made a bus into their own home

Nature-lovers Chloe Massey, 26, and Talib Ahmed, 27, paid GBP8,000 for a dilapidated 40ft American school bus and spent six months transforming it in the first lockdown. Just six weeks ago they swapped their GBP600 monthly house rental in Chloe’s home town of Frome, Somerset, for a GBP200-a-month woodland plot in Pembrokeshire, Wales.

Chloe said: “It’s a wonderful sense of freedom with no worries about rent or bills and we have everything we need here on the bus.”

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneTalib and Chloe in the early start of their renovations

Life on four wheels isn’t a new phenomenon – they travelled around Australia in a camper van four years ago. Chloe added: “We loved getting lost in nature and after touring Australia, we went on to travel around Scandinavia in a Ford minibus. “Converting the school bus was really on another level, but we did everything ourselves and we couldn’t be happier with how it’s all turned out.”

Couples who ditched city life to live in converted buses and how they saved a fortuneThere’s a lot more space than you think in a bus with now seats

Chloe and Talib, from Norfolk, fitted a deep-soaking Japanese bath, a log burner, electric oven and solar panels.

To raise funds, Chloe and Talib design and renovate camper vans for other wannabe travellers. “We created our business, Indigo & Olive, because people don’t want to spend all of their money just getting by,” said Chloe. “We can literally drive off in our home any time we like.

It’s total freedom.”

And there could soon be more on board, as Chloe added: “We can have a family now and feel some sense of security.

I think a kid would love this type of lifestyle.”

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