In 2014, Tasmanian couple Emma and Nick Hill decided to purchase a bus to live in so they could build a strawbale home on their family’s farmland in Tamar Valley, Tasmania.
They bought a 1985 Volvo bendy bus for $6,000 on Gumtree and were thrilled when it was in excellent condition. Nick then took a year of service leave from his job as a teacher to spend $45,000 and turn it into their home.
The Hills finally moved into their bendy bus in 2015, mid-way through renovations when their oldest child was 15 months. At the time, Emma was pregnant with their middle child. When the family realised they wouldn’t be able to build a strawbale home, they began the tiny home life in earnest. Photo: Rob Anderson
Nick made sure the bus had all the creature comforts of home like a full-size kitchen, full-size shower, and king-size bed, and they sold a lot of their possessions that wouldn’t fit into their limited storage space.
Emma said simplicity was a significant part of the design and build process, and they also used upcycled, second-hand materials, local products, and handmade items. They encountered many challenges, but the final result was beautiful – The Bus hideaway quickly became a functional home with a living room, kitchen, bedroom area, fireplace, and even an office.
The bus is permanently connected to an extra room, with more space for relaxing. The corrugated iron room with an aluminium sliding door maximises the view and lets in all-day sun.
The room connected to the bus has beautiful wooden flooring, light colours, and plenty of space for reading, relaxing, and storage. There is also a secret laundry.
The entrance to the bus has rich wooden flooring and wood features throughout. It’s also light, spacious, and warm, courtesy of the aspect and plenty of windows and doors. Amy Guy Photography
When you enter The Bus Hideaway for the first time, you’re met with a convenient office nook. This area features wood flooring and walls, along with a practical desk for study or work. A window is strategically positioned for plenty of natural light.
Emma said they kept the original windows in the bus, which have some wear and tear. However, she loves how much natural light they let in and how they help you feel close to the surroundings.
The full-size kitchen was a must-have for Emma. It has plenty of storage space, meal preparation room, and full-sized appliances. The windows of the bus also let in plenty of natural light.
The Hills wanted to use as many reclaimed materials as they could, so second-hand wood flooring features throughout the bus. It makes it welcoming and homely.
The wooden floors and ceiling add a sense of warmth and homeliness to the bus and work in harmony with the soft furnishing colours. Photo: Lauren Mckinnon Photography
The dining table for two is a Norden gateleg table from IKEA with built-in draws for storage. The windows above it provide plenty of natural light and views over farmland. Photo: Lauren Mckinnon Photography
Winters are never a problem in The Bus Hideaway since the bus is heated by an efficient and practical Jotul wood fireplace. Photo: Lauren Mckinnon Photography
Nick built the couches to fit into the curves of the bus at the request of Emma. She wanted a couch big enough for her to sit cross-legged she fed her babies. It’s a favourite seat with many guests. Photo: Lauren Mckinnon Photography
A full-size bathroom connects the living space and bedroom. This was another requirement Emma had when Nick was working on the bus over a 12-month period.
The bathroom has a generous amount of storage space, a window to let in natural light, and easy access to the bedroom at the end.
Rustic wall panels and a strong wood theme reflect a charming farmhouse style.
The shower is as large as one you’d find in any traditional home, and the bathroom also has a composting toilet.
A king-sized bed was something Emma wanted in their bedroom, and it fits perfectly. The master bedroom has timber walls, storage, and views out of the bus windows to the river. They have also finished the bed in bold colours with linen and a wild flower-printed cushion.
The family’s tiny home journey came to an end after two years when they decided they needed more space. The Hills now have three children, live in a traditional home, and rent out The Bus Hideaway on Airbnb starting at $220 per night. You can follow the Hideaway Bus on Instagram