A Texas family who converted a school bus into a house-on-wheels added a tiny home to the roof for their kids. Take a look inside.

Jeff and Anna Batterton

Jeff and Anna Batterton bought, renovated, and moved into an old school bus in 2018.
Insider interviewed the family back in 2021. Since then, they’ve made some serious upgrades.
This includes a whole new structure on the roof to make space for their five growing kids.

Jeff and Anna Batterton ditched their 4,100-square-foot home in Texas and bought an old school bus in 2018.

Jeff and Anna, Bus Life

Originally based in Fort Worth, Texas, the Battertons made the decision to ditch their 4,100-square-foot home and embark on a life on the road.

Insider previously reported on how the couple purchased a 2004 International 3000 school bus in 2018.

They initially spent $4,000 on the bus, before undertaking major renovations.

The first phase of their ‘skoolie’ renovation cost them approximately $35,000.

Jeff and Anna, Bus Life

As the Battertons told Insider in 2021, the first phase of converting the school bus into a “skoolie” cost approximately $35,000.

It took them about two years to complete and involved transforming the entire main floor and doing a standard conversion, Jeff Batterton told Insider this year.

They dedicated evenings and weekends to the project, a commitment that persisted even after they had moved into the converted school bus.

In 2021, the couple tore out the roof and added a skylight because Jeff Batterton was too tall for the shower.
An arrow points to a chimney-like structure, which is really the family’s shower.


While designing the bus, Jeff, who is six-foot-three, encountered a problem— he was too tall for the shower’s ceiling.

So, the couple removed part of the roof and added a chimney-like extension with a skylight, Insider’s Monica Humphries reported in 2021.

Since Insider spoke to them last, they’ve made even more changes.

Jeff and Anna, Bus Life

Following the building of the chimney-like extension, which created a more spacious bathroom, the Battertons started thinking of new ways to add space to their home on wheels.

They started toying with ideas and using 3D modeling software to get a feel for how different designs would look, Jeff told Insider this year.

They knew they had to make it bigger because their five kids were growing up.

Jeff and Anna, Bus Life

When the Battertons’ kids started getting older —  and taller — they knew they needed more space.

“Our eldest is 11 and she’s really tall and her space, it was not adequate anymore,” said Anna Batterton.

So they did months of research until an idea came to them.

“So that’s when we started getting this brainchild of combining the tiny home with our bus,” the mom-of-five said.

They decided to add a ‘tiny home’ to the roof of the school bus because the only way was up.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

As far as the Battertons know, the concept of adding a “tiny home” extension to the roof of the school bus is a novel approach, they said.

But the idea came from necessity.

“We needed to add more space, we needed more square footage, and we couldn’t build to the sides, forward, or backward,” Jeff told Insider. “So, literally, the last option was up.”

To realize the vision, they moved the front door to the middle of the bus and built around the existing structure on the roof.

Now, three of their younger kids sleep in cleverly designed bunks.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

Their three youngest kids, Alira, 7, Jazz, 5, and Athena, 3, sleep in bunks that take up very little space in the converted school bus.

The beds are tucked away in the hallway.

And the two older children sleep in the loft addition upstairs.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

Their oldest children — Aria, 11, and Jiada, 9 — now live in the tiny home extension.

The area upstairs consists of two carpeted bedrooms, adjoined by a play area in the middle.

To get upstairs, they have to climb a ladder.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

In the hallway, near where the bunk beds are, is a ladder that leads to the new area upstairs.

The family chose a ladder because it takes up very little floor space, giving them more room to move around.

The upstairs area is a private place for the kids to ‘retreat’ to, their parents said.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

The area upstairs means that the kids can hang out together without their parents being too close.

“It gives them a lot of private space. They can go up, kind of retreat up there,” said Jeff.

Though it might look small in photos, Anna said that the kids don’t find it claustrophobic at all.

“There’s not even one complaint,” she said.

An added bonus — the ‘tiny home’ addition has made the downstairs living room more spacious.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

Anna said that moving the front door and adding the extension on the top of the school bus has given them a lot of space downstairs in the living area.

“That added about five, five-and-a-half feet of couch space, and that’s really perfect for our family,” she said.


It’s also created a mini ‘games room’ upstairs for the older kids.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

“There are times when our oldest ones are like, ‘I want to stay in my room,'” said Anna.

On those occasions, they can stay upstairs and hang out, watch movies on the flat-screen TV, or just play on their tablets in the game room.

It’s also where they study. The kids are homeschooled.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

The kids are all homeschooled.

While lessons predominantly take place downstairs in the living room, Anna said that the older children also utilize the upstairs space for tasks such as math homework.

“So between the upstairs and the living room, that’s definitely our learning areas,” she added.

Being in a home-on-wheels means the kids get to see places they’re learning about for real.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

Being homeschooled while living on a school bus comes with some educational perks, said Jeff.

“They’re getting to witness these things that they learn about in school,” he said. “They’re getting to see things that most kids don’t get to see, and honestly, most adults don’t get to see.”

Earlier this year, the kids were learning about volcanoes.

“We were actually able to update our route to go to a volcanic field and so, for a month or so, we lived in and drove through a volcanic field and got to see dozens of volcanoes and their effect on the environment and everything around,” Jeff said.

In one particularly memorable moment, he said the family drove right up to the side of a volcano and hiked around the rim.

That second phase cost the family $15,000. But they say it’s worth it to be living the dream.

Jeff and Anna, Buslife

The cost of the “tiny home” loft addition was about $15,000, Jeff said, resulting in a total spend of approximately $50,000 for the complete renovation.

It hasn’t come cheap, but the family told Insider that it’s worth every penny because it’s helped them live out their dreams.

“Our family motto is ‘do the dream,'” Jeff said. “Doing the dream is not necessarily simple. There’s going to be hurdles and there’s going to be things in your way, but the biggest thing you can do is just push through those.”

He added: “The payoff is so far beyond what you can imagine. It’s so worth it.”

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