THE MAGIC SCHOOL BUS: From run-down bus to luxury two-story cabin

Meet Gloria. She’s ‘The Ottway Cabin’, a 50-seater school bus turned luxury off-grid accommodation with its own mezzanine level.

Neri and Manu are the creative masterminds behind Gloria. They are also the creative duo directing the vintage sustainable clothing brand Ottway The Label.

Following the demolition of ‘The Original Ottway Cabin’ after developers got approval for apartments, the fashionable pair wanted a second shot at their passion project.

Oh, Gloria!

They had found the perfect location secluded in the middle of the forest in the Otway Ranges, Victoria and had tracked down a school bus to renovate.

On the way to pick up the school bus, it was still nameless. Spirits were high on the way there and Gloria by Van Morrison was the next song to come on.

The tune sealed the deal and so Gloria was born.

ottway the cabin
Gloria before her makeover. Inset: the design plans © @ottway_thelabel

From there it was a lot of elbow grease, cold weekends and hot meals at the local pub.

Having a design background, Neri and Manu wanted to make sure Gloria was edgy and contemporary. An A-frame mezzanine level was a sure-fire way to achieve that wow-factor.

Add to that eye-catching design some off-grid solutions including solar energy, a rain tank and an outdoor veggie garden and fire pit.

The next challenge was making the Ottway Cabin self-sustainable. The couple installed gas, electricity and water.

Ottway Cabin starts taking shape © @ottway_thelabel

The end goal was always to have a unique space to reconnect with nature. Neri and Manu wanted an off-grid space to fill with good vibes and good music. The Ottway Cabin is exactly that.

But just because Gloria is off-grid that doesn’t mean she’s lacking any luxuries.

The designer school bus is complete with a cosy fireplace and its interior styling parallels the romantic hipster aesthetic of Ottway’s clothing brand.

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