Couple spent 800 hours and £35,000 converting a yellow American school bus into a luxury home


A couple spent more than 800 hours and £35,000 converting an American yellow school bus into a luxury home – just before delivering their baby boy on board. 

Sam and Rachel Dix, of Bristol, had the 37 by eight foot vehicle shipped from New York to Southampton and then to a farm in Somerset. 

The Hyde Park Central School bus, built in 2005, previously held up to 72 children and is now the birthplace of the couple’s son Bodhi – with his birth certificate citing ‘American School Bus’ as the place of his arrival.

Ms Dix, 32, designed the layout of the bus while self-employed carpenter Mr Dix, 33, built it.

Sam Dix, pictured, and Rachel Dix, of Bristol, had the 37 by eight foot vehicle shipped from New York to Southampton and then to a farm in Somerset

Ms Dix, 32, designed the layout of the chic bus while self-employed carpenter Mr Dix, 33, built it

Ms Dix, 32, designed the layout of the chic bus while self-employed carpenter Mr Dix, 33, built it

The couple were inspired to take to the road after listening to a podcast called the Motorhome Matt podcast

The couple were inspired to take to the road after listening to a podcast called the Motorhome Matt podcast

‘It may seem a bit crazy to buy an American bus, but we knew it had potential to be an incredible home on wheels for our expanding family,’ he said. 

The couple were inspired to take to the road after tuning into a podcast called the Motorhome Matt podcast, which provides insights into buying your first motorhome and making money from it. 

The bus was transformed over a six-month period, with the seats pulled out and wooden flooring, a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom fitted inside. 

Mr Dix, who became friends with Matt Sims, head of the podcast and CEO of hire firm The Motorhome Holiday Company in Hewish, Somerset, said: ‘Matt has great ideas for making a passive income from your vehicle and guiding first time buyers on the right vehicle for their needs.’

The bus, big enough to seat 72 children, was transformed over a six-month period

The bus, big enough to seat 72 children, was transformed over a six-month period

Ms Dix gave birth to their son Bodhi on the renovated bus - with his birth certificate citing 'American School Bus' as the place of his arrival

Ms Dix gave birth to their son Bodhi on the renovated bus – with his birth certificate citing ‘American School Bus’ as the place of his arrival

The 'expanding' family now plans to renovate a third vehicle to go travelling in and they have put the bus up for sale

The ‘expanding’ family now plans to renovate a third vehicle to go travelling in and they have put the bus up for sale

Mr Dix carried out most of the work by himself but a professional installed electrics and his parents helped paint inside.

The exterior of the bus remains the iconic yellow – with solar panels on top which helped keep their electric bill down to a mere £20 over six months. 

Mr Dix said: ‘It looks like an ordinary bus from the outside, but inside it is a comfortable, fully functionable living space.

‘We’ve turned heads when we’ve driven around in it and people have been surprised when they’ve come inside.’

The interior of the bus boasts wooden floors and a chic design with lots of natural materials and plants

The interior of the bus boasts wooden floors and a chic design with lots of natural materials and plants

Mr Dix carried out most of the work by himself but a professional installed electrics and his parents helped paint inside

Mr Dix carried out most of the work by himself but a professional installed electrics and his parents helped paint inside

Meanwhile, Mr Dix also put a light on top of the bus so the midwives could find them in the dark when Ms Dix went into labour on the organic farm they were parked up on.

The midwives arrived at the bus at around 8pm and Ms Dix gave birth in the vehicle’s living room three hours later.

The name is a tribute to Sam and Rachel’s quest to live life to the full after losing Rachel’s dad to cancer when he was 52.

Sam said: ‘Midwives visited us on board the bus in advance. They said they’d been to a range of home births, including on a barge, but that this was a first for them.

The bus looks cute and cosy with fairy lights during an evening garden party outside the home

The bus looks cute and cosy with fairy lights during an evening garden party outside the home

Ms Dix said: 'Birthing Bodhi in the home we poured our hearts and souls into was incredible'

Ms Dix said: ‘Birthing Bodhi in the home we poured our hearts and souls into was incredible’

The father added: 'After working so hard to create a beautiful and loving home, welcoming our son into our arms on the floor of the bus was a moment forever engrained into my soul'

The father added: ‘After working so hard to create a beautiful and loving home, welcoming our son into our arms on the floor of the bus was a moment forever engrained into my soul’ 

‘They were impressed by how comfortable and spacious it is inside. It had been a mad rush to get the bus ready and on the farm in time for the baby’s arrival, but it worked out well and it’s brought us lots of happiness.’

Ms Dix added: ‘Birthing Bodhi in the home we poured our hearts and souls into was incredible.

‘After working so hard to create a beautiful and loving home, welcoming our son into our arms on the floor of the bus was a moment forever engrained into my soul. It was magical and I hope it inspires other women to explore home birthing.’ 

Mr Dix put the vehicle in storage with MHC storage in Congresbury, Somerset, while he made preparations. 

Now, the family plans to renovate a third vehicle to go travelling in and they have put the bus up for sale. Mr Dix has changed the layout and refurbished inside the bus.

He said: ‘This has been a project of love and we’ve enjoyed our time on the bus. I think it would suit an individual or couple, possibly with young children, looking to set off on an adventure.

Mr Dix put the vehicle in storage with MHC storage in Congresbury, Somerset, while he made preparation

Mr Dix put the vehicle in storage with MHC storage in Congresbury, Somerset, while he made preparation

'It may seem a bit crazy to buy an American bus, but we knew it had potential to be an incredible home,' said Mr Dix

‘It may seem a bit crazy to buy an American bus, but we knew it had potential to be an incredible home,’ said Mr Dix

‘Or it could work as a business venture, if they have land, to rent it out. It is an interesting and comfy space for anyone wanting to experience a luxury, skoolie stay.’

Mr Sims, who has 30 years of business experience, said: ‘There are many ways to make money from a motorhome – from impressive renovation work like Sam and Rachel carried out, to using a third party to do the hard work for you.

‘It depends on your skillset, time and inclination but a motorhome can be a good investment for pretty much anyone if they do their research.’

Mr Sims bought and sold 13 businesses and heads one of the biggest motorhome hire businesses in the UK, also looking at off-grid and environmentally friendly options such as fitting solar panels.

‘We can all take small steps to reduce our emissions and save money, which is good for our planet and good for our pocket,’ he said. 

He has interviewed a range of guests on his show, including writer, presenter and environmentalist Martin Dorey, who promotes sustainable habits, and the president of the AA Edmund King.

Recent topics range from the future of electric motorhomes to cooking a Michelin star meal in a motorhome.

For more information, visit www.thedixiebus.co.uk or their Instagram page on https://www.instagram.com/thedixietribe/?hl=en.

For more information on the Motorhome Matt podcast, visit https://www.motorhomematt.co.uk/ or The Motorhome Holiday Company at https://www.motorhomeholidaycompany.com/.



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