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Siblings renovate double-decker bus into incredible Airbnb getaway


The McCarthy siblings bought the bus for £2,500 (Picture: Jam Press)

Three siblings in Co. Cork, Ireland have shared the quirky renovation they undertook on a double-decker bus. 

The McCarthy siblings – Anna, 28, Thomas, 26, and Rachel, 24 – bought the vehicle for €2,500 (£2,100) in September 2020 after being inspired by a friend who carried out a similar project. 

‘When we bought the bus, we left it untouched for a couple of months and by December we were well stuck in,’ Thomas sayid.

‘We gutted the whole bus as a start and planned out our site, then we moved her onto the site where the real fun began.

‘We started with insulating and putting down new floorings and planning what rooms go where.

;Stud walls went up and we wanted to keep all the windows so we had a lot of sealing to do on the exterior windows. 

‘Plumbing and electrical soon came into it and then before we knew it we were planning our kitchen units and picking out tiles and wooden floorings.

‘We kept the interior very colourful and playful throughout and we got the outside graffitied and chose a farm theme.’

The exterior of the bus (Picture: Jam Press)

Not only did the siblings revamp the inside of the bus, the outside was modernised too. 

Anna’s partner Aiden created a tiled patio and installed a makeshift bar made of pallets. A hot tub finished off the area and they covered it using sails from a boat. 

The hot tub is an extra addition (Picture: Jam Press)

‘We love improvising and trying to use second-hand materials as much as possible and come up with quirky ideas,’ Thomas added. 

Alongside the bus renovation, the siblings had another project on their hands too – a renovation of their father’s 170-year-old farmhouse after he sadly passed away. 

The seating area (Picture: Jam Press)

The trio planned to spend €20,000 (£16,800) but went over budget and had to use some of their savings.

Overall, the renovation took a total of six months and cost around €30,000 (£25,000) for the bus, site preparation, electrics and work inside.

‘We got a lot of sponsorship from companies in return for exposure on our social media so that helped reduce cost,’ Thomas explained. ‘Upstairs probably costs us about €7,000.

‘The biggest cost was the kitchen, the outside area and electricity. 

The bedroom in the bus (Picture: Jam Press)

‘Plumbing was about €1,000. It’s a big investment but it will pay off so we’re delighted!

‘We also had loads of help from family and friends and did a lot of the work ourselves which helped massively to reduce cost.’ 

Inside the bus has a spacious master bedroom complete with a double bed on the top deck. Meanwhile, there is a room with four single beds, two of which are pull out. This bedroom comes with a full panoramic view of the farm and courtyard. 

On the bottom deck is a living room with a U-shaped seating area, a kitchen and a toilet. 

The colourful bathroom (Picture: Jam Press)

A start-of-art ventilation system has also been installed to circulate fresh air throughout the space. 

‘I think we were in a state of shock that it was finished, we couldn’t believe how amazing it turned out. It was better than we ever expected,’ Thomas recalled. 

The outdoor area also has a bathtub (Picture: Jam Press)

When the renovation was finished, the siblings listed the bus on Airbnb at a cost of €180 per couple. The bus can hold six guests at any one time. 

Since going live, the bus has been completely booked out. 

Finally, Thomas has some important advice for future renovators. 

‘Just do it, be patient and definitely look into inspirational pages on Instagram or Pinterest,’ he advises.

‘There are fantastic informative pages out there now that will show you step by step what you can do.’

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