Tiny homes and do-it-yourself camper conversions are much easier when you have a lot of time and money. However, building something cool, unique, and functional on a limited budget is possible. That's precisely what Rita did with her shuttle bus camper conversion.
Rita lives full-time in the pink camper, which she named Wilbur after the pig in Charlotte's Web. A graphic designer by trade, she originally lived in an apartment in Dallas and worked for a software company. During the pandemic, she started roaming the countryside in her Jeep, living out of it with her two dogs. Eventually, she decided to embrace vanlife and went looking for a vehicle she could use to tow her Jeep and use as an art studio.
After purchasing Wilbur, she spent five weeks and two days in a Masonic Temple parking lot converting the shuttle bus into a home on wheels. The total conversion cost was $9,000, including pink exterior paint and a Haynes manual for repairing heavy-duty Ford trucks. Rita does most of the maintenance and repair work herself and said the Haynes manual gave her the confidence to wrench on Wilbur.
The camper makes good use of all of the doors, which provide lots of natural light as well as a constant breeze. A pair of doors once used for handicap accessibility now open into a living space and include a shower. Inside, the bus is functional, with lots of cubbies for storage. Near the front, a coffee bar occupies a corner behind the driver and beside her workspace.
The workspace includes a desk and storage for all of Rita's paints, brushes, and art supplies. Now that she's on the road, she works both as a graphic designer and freelances by painting signs and murals. She works in a variety of mediums, from computer design to ink, oil paint, and watercolors.
Wilbur is a great example of how someone can create their own unique space on a budget. All you need is a vehicle like an old Ford Econoline shuttle bus or cargo trailer combined with a little know-how and imagination.