• Become a Member Bannert AD
  • National Bus Trader Banner AD
  • Guard1 Services Banner AD
  • Shade Smith Banner Ad
  • Bus Manuals Banner AD
  • Straight Line Banner AD
  • Tire Table New Banner AD
  • Flame Innovation Banner AD
  • Bus Manuals Banner AD
  • Thinkware Dash Cam Banner AD
  • Ardemco Supply Banner AD
  • Midwest Bus Parts Banner Ad
  • Superior Driveline Banner AD
  • Unforgettable Fire Banner AD
  • Become a Member Bannert AD
  • Thinkware Dash Cam Banner AD
  • Straight Line Banner AD
  • Unforgettable Fire Banner AD
  • Tire Table New Banner AD
  • Ardemco Supply Banner AD
  • Become a Member Bannert AD
  • Shade Smith Banner Ad
  • Bus Manuals Banner AD
  • Guard1 Services Banner AD
  • National Bus Trader Banner AD
  • Superior Driveline Banner AD
  • Flame Innovation Banner AD
  • Bus Manuals Banner AD
  • Midwest Bus Parts Banner Ad
  • Become a Member Bannert AD
Philippe Missemer
December 2, 2022
31 views

Sköyp Skoolie – A 2002 

I am a French guy visiting America. I moved to California at the end of 2014 and have lived and traveled in my Skoolie since May 2019 with my dog Sam. I had the experience of van life back in France and thought it might be the right way of living rent-free in California. 

The day I bought the bus.
The inside with seats removed. 
Ready for a bus conversion!
Insulation is installed and the 
bed frame is being assembled. 

In 2016 I bought a school bus from A-Z Bus Sales in Riverside to convert it into a tiny house on wheels. We couldn’t afford a finished RV and wanted something stronger and designed by us and for us. My ex-wife and I were struggling with our rent and the cost of living in Southern California so, we were planning on moving into our Skoolie when it was completed. 

The Unique refrigerator we chose for our Skoolie.

In the summer of 2018, the conversion was only a third done when my wife graduated from CSUN, we agreed we had no more reason to be in this area and spent so much money on rent. The decision was made, we’re going to leave San Fernando Valley and we were going to go live on farms to learn about farming, permaculture, downsizing, living more in phase with the planet, and finishing the conversion of the bus.

At this time, only the insulation was done, the floor and fridge were installed, and the bed was built. We joined the Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms (wwoofusa.org). WWOOF is a program where in exchange for your work (25 hours per week) you can have a place to live, food provided, and learn a lot about farming and more. With the afternoons free, I did some handyman jobs to put some savings away. Woofing is a perfect opportunity for living the bus life.

View of the kitchen area on 
the curbside of the bus. 
Many meals have been cooked 
and eaten on this bus.
The storage unit next to the desk is actually where the solar system is stored (batteries, 
charger, and inverter). It is where the fans and cooling system for the A/C are installed as well.

This bus has been designed for a couple to live full-time off the grid in the comfort of a house. I chose as much environmentally friendly materials as possible. We used things like sheep’s wool for the insulation.  The wood was locally sourced and milled at the farms where I worked. 

Shower starting to be built. 
Shower pan drying after being poured.
Large shower for two people. This shower is made of subway tiles. You can see the details of the connection between the wall and the ceiling.
A Nature’s Head Composting toilet. A ring of eucalyptus and lavender is also hung in the restroom to keep it smelling fresh.

The bathroom has a composting toilet. I am not wasting fresh water for our poop. Like the rest of the bus, I used reclaimed materials in the restroom such as cedar roofing boards and redwood from a cabin I was building. It is also equipped with a little niche to place your favorite reading material.

I reclaimed lots of wood from neighbors who were remodeling their houses.  I also reclaimed plywood, 2x4s, and 2x2s from crates and pallets that came from my job as a warehouse manager for an interior design company in Calabasas, California. I also found two perfect kitchen countertops by a a dumpster next to where I used to work. All this material found saved a lot of money and reduced our footprint. 

Tinywoodstove (5KW) with slate tiles surrounding.

After long hours of research, I opted for a wood stove from Tinywoodstove. They are well-built and very efficient with the ability to change the amount of fresh air coming in. There is also a direct air intake under the stove to take fresh air from the outside. 

A wood stove is the best way to heat a bus because it drys the air as opposed to a propane furnace, which creates moisture inside the bus. For the heat shield I used 24” x 24” slate tiles from India (I know that’s totally not locally sourced…) The stove pipe is insulated top to bottom, so there is less risk of combustible material that is in direct contact with the pipe. The double insulation is more expensive, but I wanted to be able to sleep without worrying about a fire.

Bedroom with a queen size bed. 

Natural material makes the bedroom feel light and airy.  I used natural linens like wool and cotton, etc. I kept the window up top and left it without a curtain so I could see the stars from the bed at night and wake up with the first light of the sun every day.

Roof with solar panels and a Fantastic Fan.

I designed the solar setup with the help of Charles M. Kern who has built amazing personalized Skoolies for quite some time. If you’re allergic to electricity like me, ask for help from a professional. 

The system is composed of four solar panels for a total of 1460-Watts, a MidNite Classic charger, and an AIMS 3000-Watt inverter.  It is also comprised of four 6V AGM deep-cycle Lifeline 4CT-GPL batteries. 

The goal was to never worry about maintenance or losing power. Only after four cloudy days do I need to start the generator or wait for a bit of sun. The system offers 24V with a step down to 12V and a 120V circuit. 

All the electricity has been installed with the guidance of my neighbor who is an electrician. We used electrical conduit to run the cables inside the bus and a waterproof conduit under the bus.

80’ air hose for inflating tires, etc.

Moving into our Skoolie was one of the biggest decisions of our life and probably the best. At that time, as a couple, we already suffered a lot from the stress encountered in Los Angeles and this move to a farm was beneficial for both of us, at least for a time. Unfortunately, we quickly had to face it, something wasn’t working between us, and decided to go different directions. 

Here I am, next to Yosemite, living alone with my dog on a farm in an unfinished Skoolie. I continue what I was doing since I started the conversion, reclaiming, and sourcing local material for the construction, and quickly had enough material to make good progress on the bus. 

In January 2020 I decided to move to Humboldt, California. Thanks to the WWOOF website I found a vineyard/weed farm where I worked for a month. Then I managed to get hired at this farm and stayed in Willow Creek for about two and a half years, enough time to finish the bus. In April 2022 I was ready to finally go on a road trip. I think I earned it.

Meeting Caroline & Clément next to Joshua Tree.
Valley of Fire in Overton, Nevada.

I’m now in Utah and after two months on my road trip, I feel like I am living a dream! This bus is amazing, super reliable, and comfortable to drive. Mountains, deserts, mud, or even snow I did it all with no problem. 

I have a few more places on my wish list to visit like the Grand Canyon. I am also really excited to go surfing in Baja Mexico and park the bus on a nice beach. The Skoolie is now for sale so I can start a new business project.

To see a video of the inside of this bus, click HERE

This bus is currently for sale. Click HERE to see the classified listing. 

Article written by Philippe Missemer

Philippe Missemer is a thirty-nine-year-old Frenchmen visiting America. He moved to California in December of 2014. Philippe has been traveling and living in his Skoolie since May 2019.

Philippe is now a freelance Graphic Designer and Art Director but has been a real jack of all trades. He has done time working as a lumberjack, warehouse manager for an interior design company, worked for a high-end event company, farmer (permaculture, vineyard, and marijuana farms), and has done some carpentry jobs.

He enjoys hiking, kayaking, photography, and surfing in his free time. He is planning to go to Baja Mexico for a surf trip if he hasn’t already sold the bus by then.

His bus is now up for sale as he embarks on a new adventure. Philippe is launching a decoration business made of French antiques and decorative objects.

You can follow Philippe’s journey on Instagram.
You can also visit his website: http://www.skoyp.com/

To be the first to read many new articles, and to read all articles back to 1992, become a member of BCM.
Click HERE to become a Member now!
  • Active Controlsll 1/4 AD

Related Posts

crosschevron-right