TAKE A LOOK | Couple converted a bendy bus into family home for their toddler and newborn baby

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Nick and Emma Hill with their eldest child at The Bus Hideaway in Tasmania, Australia.
Emma Hill (@thebushideaway)
  • A couple bought a 1985 articulated bus and turned it into a mobile home for their family.
  • Emma and Nick bought the 18-meter bus for around R85,000 and spent R658,350 on the DIY renovation.
  • The bus has a king-size bed and wood-burning fire, along with a full-size kitchen and bathroom.
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A Tasmanian couple who renovated a 1985 bendy bus into a tiny living space also raised their kids on board.

Emma and Nick Hill with their eldest child on the bus before it was renovated.
Emma Hill (@thebushideaway)

Emma Hill, 36, and her husband Nick Hill, 41, known as @thebushideaway on Instagram, said they bought a R85,000 articulated bus from a listing on Gumtree in 2014 and spent a year converting it into their dream home.

They told Insider they moved in with their two children halfway through renovations in 2015. While they used to live in the space full-time, they now rent it out on Airbnb as The Bus Hideaway.

Emma said they moved into the 18-meter bus when her eldest child Hudson was 15 months old and she was pregnant with her now-middle child Zachary.

The Bus Hideaway living room designed by Nick and Emma Hill.
Emma Hill @thebushideaway

She said that when they told their friends and family they had decided to live on the bus with their children, people thought they were "off on another crazy idea again," but soon came around. Emma also said her eldest child loved growing up in the space and even had chickens to play with. 

Nick and Emma said being economical was a top priority for their bus conversion and they sourced a lot of secondhand items.

Nick and Emma Hill's bus before it was renovated.
Emma Hill @thebushideaway

Emma said they acquired leftover tiles from her in-laws after they had tiled their home and they also have secondhand wood floors all through the bus.

The couple said they wanted to experience tiny living because they have always been interested in "alternative buildings."

The kitchen view in The Bus Hideaway, a bendy bus rented out on Airbnb.
Emma Hill @thebushideaway

"We had this parcel of land out there and we thought we can put a bus on it and try a tiny home for now," said Emma.

The bus is located in Hillwood, Tasmania, on their family's farmland. She added that they specifically requested a bendy bus from the seller because they needed a vehicle large enough to accommodate a family.

Nick said he carried out a lot of the renovations himself because was able to take a year of long service leave from his role as a teacher to spend on the bus conversion.

A reading nook in The Bus Hideaway, curated by Nick and Emma Hill.
Emma Hill @thebushideaway

Emma said that she told Nick she had a few requests for the new home, which they lived in until 2017.

"I did say to Nick, if we're going to live in it, I want to have a king bed. I want a full-size kitchen and a full-size shower and he made all that work," she said. 

The Bus Hideaway's open plan space includes an office, kitchen, a living room with a sofa, a reading nook, and a fireplace.

The bathroom sink in The Bus Hideaway.
Emma Hill @thebushideaway

Prices start at R2,355 per night and the interiors have been consciously crafted through the couple's DIY, according to The Bus Hideaway's Airbnb listing.

"We have up-cycled secondhand materials, handmade items, sourced local products and have aimed to be conscious in our purchases to create a unique home," reads the listing.  

They said converting the space inside the bus cost approximately R208,000 and was not without its challenges.

One of The Bus Hideaway's amenities is the fireplace that Airbnb renters can use.
Emma Hill @thebushideaway

Emma said that the shape of the bus presented a challenge during the conversion: "It wasn't at all like a normal build. The walls aren't up and down and straight, they slightly bend in and there were big wheel arches in the bus that you have to work around."

As with any tiny home, Emma and Nick also had to find storage solutions and downsize their possessions before moving in. Emma said they sold a lot of stuff and purchased a shed for additional storage.

Emma and Nick said they moved out in 2017 when they outgrew the space and their children got older. They now rent out the tiny home on a full-time basis.

A hallway in The Bus Hideaway.
Emma Hill @thebushideaway

They told Insider they now live in a traditional home, and the bus has proved to be in high demand. "It's pretty much always booked out a good month in advance. The bookings are coming in regularly, which is really nice," Emma said. 

The couple said they haven't sold the bus because they are open to the possibility they could one day call it home again.

The Bus Hideaway has a king-size bed at the very end.
Emma Hill @thebushideaway

Emma added that the value of compact living is that it promotes simplicity and minimalism but also allows people to enjoy nature.

"I love the light that gets in there," she said." We tried to keep as many windows as we possibly could and I love the sun streaming in and being able to see out into nature so you feel really close to your surroundings."

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