Ever since she was a little girl, Cassie Furlong dreamed of traveling the country. Sure enough, after buying an old school bus, she's since gone on to make that dream a reality - in the form of a tiny portable home. Here's her story.
Raised in the Upper Midwest - Minnesota, mostly - Cassie's younger years were far from ordinary. In fact, she was almost always on the move, chasing the latest adventure alongside her family and friends.
How did she put it? "I spent my childhood in the backseat of my family car," the travel junkie shared of her road-tripping days. "My most beloved place was a seven-hour drive from the cities to the northern border of the state."
She Was Raised By a Carpenter
But when she wasn't busy in the backseat of the family car, young Cassie was actually busy doing a whole lot of learning. You see, her father was a carpenter, which meant it was only a matter of time before she picked up the handy skills her old man had taught her along the way.
What exactly did that call for? "From a young age, I developed the skills to make useful items with my hands," the crafty child explained. From fixes around the house to tricky woodworking, by 12 years old, there wasn't much the skillful girl couldn't do. Soon enough, though, these skills would lead her to fulfill her dreams.
Dreaming Big of Tiny Projects
You see, ever since she was a little girl, Cassie's love for the great outdoors was endless. In fact, she knew the path she was destined to go down was one filled with endless adventures, endless pitstops around the scenic countryside, she just didn't yet know how exactly she'd do that.
In only a matter of time, though, that would all change, as the young dreamer sculpted the perfect plan to get her latest journey started. "I have always loved traveling and spending time in the outdoors," she explained. "[So,] I decided to combine these passions into a project, converting [an] old school bus into a camper."
The 2007 GMC Mini School Bus
Sure, she wouldn't be the first to transform a school bus into a portable home, but what exactly was so appealing about living in the yellow vehicle? For starters, the car already had four walls, a roof, and of course, was on wheels. Not to mention, the purchase wouldn't burn too big a hole in the pocket.
And so, as the ambitious young girl stumbled across a mini school bus - a 2007 GMC - available for purchase in her very own hometown, she knew exactly what she was going to do. "Of course, I had to buy it!" an excited Cassie revealed on Instagram. As for what came next?
Naming Her New Home
Naming her newfound home, of course. And so, as Cassie continued to enlighten followers on her latest purchase, she, too, turned to their help for her latest dilemma. What would she name it? "The bus was a challenge I took on to fulfill my childhood nostalgia," she finally revealed of the moment it all became clear.
"It only felt fitting to name my tiny home on wheels after what I was referred to as a child," Furlong explained after endless speculation. Perhaps that's why, despite endless recommendations, there was only one name that suddenly stood out like a sore thumb: "Sassy."
Changing Her Home's Exterior
But while the story of how she came to name her tiny little home might have been met with ease, things were actually about to get very difficult. You see, Cassie wanted Sassy's exterior to be as beautiful as possible, which meant she had a whole lot of work ahead of her. Where would she start? A much-needed paint job.
"Inspired by spring to find the perfect exterior paint color," the inspired blogger began, as she unveiled the newest color of her future home: A beautiful shade of green. "I started this transformation so one day I can travel the world and see beautiful places... It only feels right that I find a color that reminds me of nature!"
What Would She Get Rid Of
As for what came next? The little details, of course. What would Cassie keep, and what would she toss to the curb? For starters, the unimpressed designer removed the big, chunky mirrors plastered at the front of the school bus as they weren't necessary. But there was one item she simply couldn't make up her mind about.
"Should it stay, or should it go?" the conflicted carpenter shared on Instagram of the STOP sign that dangled on the vehicle's side. The verdict? The red token would stay - but not until Cassie painted a fresh coat of white paint over it. Things were slowly looking up, but her home's exterior was far from ready.
Upgrading the Wheels
You see, to the naked eye, she may have given her new home an upgrade, but if Cassie wanted to take her tiny bus throughout the country - and the rough terrain it called for? She'd need to fix the wheels. But she was looking at years worth of dust and dirt here, which meant things would be far from easy.
Of course, though, the skillful carpenter was up for the challenge, and thanks to a thorough sanding machine, smoothing down the centers and bumpers, the wheels were practically good to go. Up next? Cassie slathered on some white paint and was finally ready to move on inside.
Tackling the Inside
With a fresh slab of paint, a new set of wheels, and a revamped STOP sign, there was no doubt about it: No detail escaped Cassie as the young dreamer poured her heart out into her latest project. But what would that mean when it came to her home's interior?
For starters, the homeowner may have been dealing with a tiny school bus, but don't think her struggles weren't enormous. As a matter of fact, how, exactly, would she possibly fit everything she needed inside the mini-retreat? She'd need to take apart the entire thing, a task as grueling as it sounds, as Cassie'd soon find out.
Removing the Interior
"The hardest part so far was the hours spent grinding out the bus seats," the exhausted carpenter revealed on Instagram, to those following along on her remarkable journey. Sure, it was a cozy school bus, once home to kids on their way to school, but that's exactly what made it so difficult.
With seemingly hundreds of leather seats screwed in tight, it'd be hours before Cassie would successfully remove all of the bus's rows. "If you know of anyone looking for bus seats, send them my way!" the proud worker finally revealed, after making room for her next challenge.
Changing the Floor
Sure, the cramped bus aisles were finally out of the way, but with the newly empty space, too, came a new discovery: The unimpressive rubber flooring, no longer hiding behind all of those leather seats. What was Cassie to do? There was no doubt about it: It needed changing, but what, exactly, to?
"Two days of work later, and we have an insulated subfloor," the proud worker finally gushed, unveiling an unrecognizable floorspace. After picking up some floor insulation material and affordable wood, the crafty girl's rubber floors were officially a thing of the past. "Now, time to create a floor plan!"
Her Floor Plan
As for what that floor plan had in store? For starters, not a single nook or cranny would be taken for granted in the mini school bus, considering Cassie literally needed every inch of space possible. And so, as the inspired builder took to a pen and paper, Cassie began to craft the perfect design.
It would be compact, but not cramped; organized but also aesthetically pleasing; Where would appliances be plugged in? Where would she go to sleep at the end of another long day? There were so many missing puzzle pieces, but it'd eventually all add up.
Bringing Her Vision to Life
After endless scribbling (and erasing), the meticulous designer had finally concocted the perfect blueprint for her tiny home. And so, with a newly completed floor base, Cassie was finally able to pour her attention into arranging the rooms and the furniture that'd fill them.
With the help of some sticky blue tape, the young designer began bringing her vision to life: She'd keep the driver's seat at the front of the bus, along with two benches and a table she'd hail in. Across from that? A sofa bench, too, doubling as a guest bed. As for the kitchen and bedroom? They'd be stashed towards the back of the bus.
Updating the Bus's Engines
It was all so surreal, decades' worth of dreams finally coming to life in front of Cassie's very own eyes. But that's exactly why the eager traveler did what she did next, as she made her way to the front of the school bus, bracing herself for the rusty engine she'd soon be met with, as she popped open the hood of that bus.
You see, Cassie's hard work was supposed to mean something, to take her adventurous self across the country. But she wouldn't be able to do that given the current state of her home's engine. Sure enough, after endless research, the skillful designer hailed in a NAPA Legend 75 battery, officially ready to take the roads by storm.
Testing Out the Roads for Herself
And, well, that's exactly what she did, as Cassie soon hit the brakes on her little project, and instead hit the gas on that pedal, setting off on a much-needed road-trip intermission. "Took a break from the renovation for a little road trip," the excited traveler shared on the 'gram.
From beautiful, green forests to breathtaking bodies of water, an awestruck Cassie took Sassy around Minnesota, reminding herself just how worth it all of her blood, sweat, and tears would eventually be. And just like that, a more-than-ever determined Cassie headed back as she set out to finish what she'd started.
Insulating Her Homes
Well, what came next for the determined girl? With insulation and base flooring finally installed, Cassie moved on to her home's walls - a crucial fix if she wanted to stand a chance against Minnesota's brutal winters. Sure, much like any other school bus, Sassy was already insulated, but nowhere near the extent that she'd need it to be.
And so, with the help of some measuring tape, power tools, and wooden slabs, Cassie built a frame on her home's walls for foolproof insulation. Next? She covered the purple foam with some pieces of light wood. Finally, leaving the original white ceiling as is, Cassie's mini school bus was looking more and more like a home...
She couldn't believe it. After endless hours spent slaving away in the hopes of a forever home, Cassie's bus interior was finally coming together. In fact, there were practically only a few stops left on her seemingly endless 'To Do' list. What came next? The furniture, of course.
After building the pieces herself, Cassie filled her new home with her latest creation: Two wooden benches, that would eventually be joined by a wooden table, boasting secret storage slots at the bottom. But that wasn't all. With another wooden bench, which could also be a guest bed, Cassie's home was slowly falling into place.
As for what came next? Sure, Cassie had finally crafted the perfect living area, stacked with a secret guest bed, but where would Cassie feed the friendly faces she'd soon welcome into her home? She needed to build a kitchen, and she needed one, fast.
Of course, it's no surprise that the hands-on builder would soon go on to concoct her entire kitchen from scratch - all with the help of some power tools and a few slabs of wood. Sure enough, after creating a counter space and cabinet area, it was only a matter of time before her kitchen's skeleton took shape.
Building a Compact Area
As the story goes, once Cassie finally completed the frames, all that came left was some storage space and a sink. And well, with the help of a beautiful yet simplistic light-wood finish, the crafty designer did just that, as she created a compact counter space that had room for not one, but three, cabinet doors underneath.
In a move that both her wallet and mother nature would thank her for, Cassie then filed the hole she'd just carefully carved with a recycled sink - an old bar sink that simply needed a little revamping. Sure enough, it looked as good as new by the time the crafty visionary was done with it.
Making Use of Every Inch
Well, what came next? Yes, one side of the kitchen was already boasting three cabinets, but what would the other side consist of? For starters, it'd be mostly dedicated to stashing cooking appliances. But with that, too, came a daunting realization: Cassie needed a lot more storage space.
Sure, she'd carved the perfect hiding spot for all of those pots and pans, but what about all of her clothes and camping supplies? Where would they go? As Cassie searched desperately around her bus for answers, she looked up to find an empty wall above the sink staring right back at her - and it wasn't long before she put it to good use.
All of the missing pieces were slowly falling together perfectly, but that didn't mean Cassie was done just yet. In fact, she was far from it. You see, while most campers might opt for a simple granola bar or easy-to-prep meal while on the roard, Cassie wouldn't be taking the easy route anytime soon.
Perhaps that's why the determined camper did what she did next, crafting a fully stocked kitchen - boasting a small oven, 2-burner stove, and, of course, a mini-fridge. Powered by propane, that oven and stove would soon fill that bus with dreamy smells of bacon and pie, as Cassie put her new kitchen to work.
Helping Her Wallet and the Environment
There was no doubt about it: Cassie was ballin' on a budget as she continued to craft her tiny dream home. From free kitchen appliances to building her very own furniture, the crafty carpenter was certainly looking out for her savings account. But that wasn't the only thing.
"From a young age, I learned to conserve the outdoors," the nature-enthusiast proudly explained to her followers. What did that call for, exactly? "A large part of bus living and camping is the no trace left behind policy," Cassie explained, as she continued to recycle her way through her journey on wheels.
The Progress Continues
Of course, her journey had already taken her a long, long way from when she first embarked on it. From a yellow school bus to a green oasis, Cassie's home on wheels - and the transformation it called for - was truly remarkable. But perhaps it was that which lay behind those green doors that was the most remarkable.
"It's really starting to come together," Cassie proudly gushed of the completely unrecognizable interior. Safe to say, she wasn't the only one who thought so. "Good job on all the hard work. I love it!" one loyal follower applauded her. But she wasn't done just yet.
Planning Her Bedroom
You see, Cassie might have been spending every waking second pouring her all into her incredible retreat, but what about the seconds when she wasn't? Where would she put her head down at the end of another long day? The hard worker needed a proper bedroom - a place to get the rest and relaxation she clearly deserved.
Sure enough, nestled between the kitchen and emergency door laid the perfect spot for her well-earned oasis. "Even though there is still a lot of work to do, it's come a long way," Cassie explained, as she revealed her cozy master suite, a lofted queen-sized mattress boasting secret storage and a window overlooking the great outdoors.
Her Cozy Spot
It was the perfect hideaway, a "cozy spot," as Cassie put it, where she could gaze underneath the stars all while tucked away in the comfort of her own home. But while those airy windows might have been the perfect touch, that didn't mean they didn't come with their fair share of problems. In fact, they did.
Sure, the bus had come with a heating system, but would that really be enough? With windows hijacking every inch of her bedroom, how would Cassie possibly stand a chance against those plunging temperatures? Thanks to the help of a customized quilt from Enlightened Equipment, her new accessory would officially have her back, literally.
What To Do With the Bus's Ramp
Boasting the perfect "cozy spot," and a down quilt to keep her snug, Cassie's cozy home was officially looking less and less like the old yellow vehicle it once was. But there was one remnant from the bus's former years that stuck out like a sore thumb.
Stowed directly next to Cassie's bed sat a rusty accessibility ramp, something she simply couldn't ignore any longer. And if you asked her followers? "It's heavy. I'd remove it," as one of many unimpressed spectators commented. Sure enough, though, the visionary felt otherwise, opting to keep it "as a patio and outdoor table."
Her Power Station
With a decked out patio and outdoor areas perfect for hosting, Cassie's portable oasis was coming together more and more by the day. But what about the contents that remained inside of the tiny home? How, exactly, was the traveler supposed to put her kitchen to good use without any electricity?
For starters, the appliances were powered by solar panels, perhaps the most eco-friendly option possible. As for Cassie's phone and other electronics? The innovative blogger partnered with MAXOAK for a solar generator and wireless charging battery. Another accomplishment to tick off the list!
The Wooden Floors
But what about the rest of her home's interior? Sure, her floors were finally insulated and rubber-free, but that wasn't enough for Cassie: She wanted her Sassy home to be as sassy and lively as possible, but with her walls bare, and the floors needing finishing, there was so much life still waiting to be brought into her miracle home.
Sure enough, it wasn't long before Furlong found beautiful dark wooden floorboards for her new home - the perfect finishing touch to her remarkable renovation. And with the additional layer of insulation, Cassie was sure her feet would stay warm when that dreaded Winter finally came rolling around.
On the Move
Yes, the Sassy bus still has a ways to go before being morphed into the ultimate home on wheels, but if we've learned anything about Cassie by now, it's that she's not one to turn down an adventure. Perhaps that's why the thrill-seeker has already taken her new home along for endless rides, literally.
From sunny afternoons in Glacier to scenic sunrise hikes in Acadia, Cassie's new travel companion has already seen it all. Believe it or not, some of Cassie's most cherished memories have actually been made within her new home, as the nature buff celebrated her birthday alongside Sassy and loved ones. Cheers to that!
What Comes Next
Well, there you have it, folks. We've just walked you through Cassie's journey to fulfilling her lifelong dream. But make no mistake about it, the travel junkie is just getting started. So, where exactly does she - and her Sassy companion - go from here?
Forget the fresh slabs of paint that await the walls of her new home, Cassie's journey has a whole lot more in store for us. Perhaps a trip to the sandy shores of California? Maybe a thrilling ride to the city that never sleeps? We guess only time will tell here, but one thing we do know? Our hands-on dreamer is certainly going places...