Urban Gypsies: Wild & Wacky Housetrucks & Converted Buses

Imagine living a life of freedom and constantly changing scenery – all from the comfort of your own little house on wheels. Forget the sterile white plastic of mass-produced recreational vehicles; many modern-day gypsies are traveling in style with stained glass windows, full bathrooms, wood stoves and even porches. Check out these incredible homes built on truck beds, utility trailers, converted buses and even a bicycle.

Al’s House Truck  – Cute Cabin on Wheels

(images via: housetrucks.com)

From the back, all you see is a somewhat narrow little cabin with a cute front porch. But this is no ordinary wooden house – it’s an old Dodge bus, torn apart and reconstructed into a tiny rolling residence complete with a sleeping loft over the cab, a wood stove, stained glass windows and decorative porch pillars. This house bus is famous as the cover model of the 1979 book Rolling Homes by Jane Lidz, an out-of-print collection of house bus and house truck photos that is now sought-after by fans of these abodes.

Sweet School Bus Conversion by Von Slatt

(images via: vonslatt)

Inspired by that same book, Rolling Homes by Jane Lidz, steampunk enthusiast Jake Von Slatt turned a 75-seater school bus into a family camper with a seaside Victorian feel. Von Slatt’s 35-foot-bus bus features mostly recycled and salvaged materials and includes a salon, kitchen, bathroom, bunk room and master bedroom.

Complex House Trucks in New Zealand

(images via: htnz.co.nz)

Some of the most amazingly complex, large and livable house trucks in the world are located down under in New Zealand where a thriving population of house truck and house bus dwellers get to take tours of the stunning countryside in the comfort of their own homes. Balconies, slide-outs and roof heights seemingly taller than the maximum 13.6″ allowed in the States give these offbeat mobile homes more room than you ever thought possible.

Handmade ‘Vardo’ Gypsy Wagon

(images via: enslin.com)

The original mobile homes were Vardos, the horse-drawn Gypsy wagons belonging to English Romani people – and while fewer Romani live in them today, these ornate wagons have inspired a whole new set of houses on wheels on practically every continent. Renaissance fair enthusiast Rae built this one for herself, which actually pops up using pulleys and a winch.

Logan’s Super-Long Housebus

(images via: housetrucks.com)

While some people make their homes inside buses and others forgo the passenger part altogether and put a cabin on a truck bed, still more have created hybrids of sorts that add lofts and porches to a bus body. Like some kind of mobile mullet, the wooden cabin extension caps the bus and hangs down the back.

Handcrafted Log Cabin on Wheels

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Get a closer look at an ultra-customized house truck in this video, which was featured on HGTV. Eric’s house truck even has slide-outs that he built himself, nearly tripling the width inside.

Tiny Tumbleweed Houses

(images via: tumbleweedhouses.com)

You might call Tumbleweed Houses the modern-day version of the groovy house trucks of yore, skipping the gleaming plastic interiors of mass-produced RVs and achieving a truly homey feel with wood siding and gable roofs. Ranging from 65 to 140 square feet, Tumbleweed Tiny Houses can be purchased ready-made or built DIY-style with professional plans.

1986 Diesel Converted School Bus

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Wondering how the heck two or more people can fit all of their stuff into a bus? Check out this video tour of Paul and Sharon Jesperson’s “skoolie”, a 1986 65-passenger bus converted for use as a camper and, on occasion, as a full-time residence.

Roger Beck’s 1952 Federal 5-Ton Housetruck

(images via: housetrucks.com)

Long known as an authority on all things house truck, Roger Beck cemented his reputation with his self-published book, “Some Turtles Have Nice Shell”, packed with 400 color photos of house trucks and house buses. Beck’s own housetruck – his fourth, a 1952 Federal -  is pictured above.

Unicat House on Wheels/Offroad Vehicle

(images via: unicat)

If all of these wooden 1970′s wonders just aren’t rugged enough for your taste, a rolling home worthy of post-apocalyptic survivalists ought to do it. Meet the Unicat EX70-HDQ, an off-roader built like a tank with a jaw-dropping list of advanced features like a back eye camera, burglarproof windows, full lavatory facilities and a water filtration system. There’s no price listed on the website, but the need for a fat wallet is almost guaranteed.

Converted Horse Box in the U.K.

(images via: into the hermitage)

It’s impossible not to get caught up in the magical nomadic world of artist Rima Staines, who spent several years traveling around Scotland in a converted Bedford TK horse box. Dark stained wood, church windows, a Dutch door, oil lamps and swirling incense give Rima’s home an undeniably romantic feel and while the inside is small, it’s just enough space when everything has its proper place.

Morison House Truck Art Piece

(images via: morison)

It’s an art project with a message, yet it’s a livable traveling home as well. “Tales of Space and Time” is a work by artists Heather and Ivan Morison made from a converted Bedford truck. Its folksy 1970s-esque interior is a bit at odds with a large display of apocalyptic fiction – a reference to what the artists see as an overly optimistic attitude to surviving the end of the world.

Firetruck Turned Rolling Home

(images via: mr. sharkey)

Bus not big enough? Try a fire truck on for size. This whopper of a house on wheels was built on a 1969 Ward LaFrance snorkel fire truck after the owner, Damien, removed the mammoth snorkel apparatus, added steel framework, applied wood siding and filled the home with an astonishing amount of furniture, housewares and decor. “I’ve given up on people with the ‘could have bought a Winnebago with the same money’ attitude,” Damien told MrSharkey.com.

Modern Double Decker Community

(images via: dornob)

Could the house-on-wheels concept extend to everyday life in the city for people on the go? This concept by Aristide Antonas imagines putting a double decker bus to work as modern, somewhat industrial portable housing for professionals on the go -  like a band’s tour bus, but with 7 full-sized beds.

Incredible Camper Bike

(image via: tiny house design)

Just when you thought you’d seen it all, this photo comes along. Not much is known about this particular setup, but it certainly piques curiosity and provides a starting point for reflection on just how far the tiny portable housing movement can go.

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