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Meet Linus, the Off-Grid Skoolie Conversion That’s a Surfer’s Dream Machine
All DIY projects are inspirational, if only for the fact that they’re exactly what the name implies: do-it-yourself projects. But there is a very special story behind Linus, one of the most recent projects from Graham, North Carolina-based duo Lisa and Megan Donahue, aka Live Simply Buses.

Meet Linus, the Off-Grid Skoolie Conversion That’s a Surfer’s Dream Machine

Linus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machineLinus is a skoolie conversion styled as an off-grid-capable surfer's dream machine
Live Simply Buses started out officially in 2019 and, as mother-daughter duo Lisa and Megan Donahue told Apartment Therapy in late 2021, they work mostly on Marketplace. This is where they buy the donor buses, and also the place where they sell the final creations. Word of mouth also helps, as does the buzz around the conversions on social media, but ultimately what sells these beauties is just that: their beauty and the excellent craftmanship on them.

The Donahues actually completed their first conversion in 2017, which is also when they realized they had the know-how and the experience to spin a business out of that first endeavor. Linus is their ninth project to date and one of their most recent and, like each and every one of their conversions, it has a unique name that ends in “us.” Because “it’s a bus by us,” they explain.

But Linus is more than just a bus: it’s also infused with personality and the spirit of Michael Donahue, Lisa’s son and Megan’s brother, who passed away in 2015 and in whose memory the company was set up. Michael was an avid traveler and a great lover of the outdoor, so building buses in his memory is the duo’s way of making sure that he continues doing both. Wherever their buses go, so does Michael.

Buses from Live Simply vary in size, but they all have several things in common, in addition to the unique name, which is chosen once the donor is secured. Each has a particular theme, also chosen before the conversion, and they’re sold off only after thorough interviews with potential owners. Depending on what goes up on it, a conversion can sell for as much as $60,000 for an off-grid-capable unit, or as little as $20,000.

Linus sold shortly after its completion in late 2021, for the asking price of $55,000. It started out as a 2011 Chevrolet Express 3500 van, before being repurposed as a New York school bus in 2012. The Donahues bought it in June 2021, and completed the conversion in October that same year, retaining the original 4.8L V8 small block Chevy cast iron block engine. The theme for Linus was modern coastal, which translated into light blue colors with contrasting darker elements, the vibe of a beach home, and the functionality of a “surfer’s dream machine.”

Linus sleeps two or three people, and features a full kitchen, a dining room that converts into a bed that can sleep two guests, and a comfortable bedroom area in the rear. Most of the conversion was done with repurposed materials, with help from family friend Bob. For instance, the countertops in the kitchen are salvaged from Bob’s bar and donut shop, while the exterior shower was built with the side mirrors used before on the bus to monitor the kids inside.

With a total living surface of just 97.5 square feet (9 square meters), Linus is the very definition of compact, though it doesn’t look cramped. The Donahues were able to achieve by giving each item onboard multiple-functionality, from the dual-purpose living room to storage-integrating furniture. The many large windows also help with creating the impression of a much bigger space.

Certain must-haves had to go, unfortunately: the “restroom” is a Camco 2.6-gallon (11.8-liter) portable toilet, while the shower has been moved outside. To compensate for the small space, the Donahues added an outdoor dining area with barstools.

“Since Linus was built near the beach we decided to make him a ‘surfer’s dream machine’,” the Donahues say. “It is sleek, modern, and minimalistic with touches of warm colors to make it feel like home while also still giving it the light and airy feel associated with beach homes.”

For a surfer-type or as a beach home, Linus is perfect, because it makes up for whatever creature comforts it lacks with plenty of gorgeous styling and homeliness. The fact that it’s described as off-grid-capable only adds to its appeal.





Editor's note: This article was not sponsored or supported by a third-party.

 
 
 
 
 

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