Nowadays it’s getting more and more popular: tiny homes. Do you already know this phenomenon? They are small houses where you are provided with everything. It’s great, fun and cool. The concept of small home living is not new at the moment, but that doesn’t mean that people don’t come up with new ideas. The opposite is true. Everyone is becoming more creative when we look at tiny homes.
His new project
When Michael started his new project, he first considered another car. Michael: “Initially I considered another van or bus, but one morning I woke up, refreshed Craigslist and found this beautiful, boxy behemoth listed for sale.” He saw that the van was still in pretty good condition and well maintained by its previous users. He picked up the car and started the big transformation.
The car was quite an unusual vehicle, a 1992 Ford E-350 7.3 Diesel. The Ford was originally a “small-town ambulance” in Tennessee. It was later purchased by an AstroTurf company. This company used the car to transport materials such as tools and huge rolls of fake grass.
The inside of the ambulance, before the transformation began
Creative people generally have the gift of seeing the potential in things. When buying the ambulance, Michael had to be very creative to see the potential in the van. Fortunately, Michael’s creativity allowed him to easily look beyond the clutter and other flaws of the ambulance.
“Everything that was damaged or in disrepair seemed like something I planned to replace down the road anyways,” he says. Michael knew it was going to be quite a job to transform the ambulance, but he was ready to get to work and make this vehicle the jewel he knew it could be. So he went straight to work, but he didn’t know there was a disturbing revelation about the ambulance.
The disturbing revelation about the ambulance
When you start with the transformation of a vehicle, the first step in a project like this is to completely empty the vehicle so he can make a new start with his renovation. Now that Michael has removed everything, it immediately became a lot clearer to see that this was once used as an ambulance.
Because of this, he gets a lot of questions from people of course. He says that one of the most frequently asked questions is whether something tragic happened in the ambulance. His answer is: “Yes, people probably died, but people’s lives were also saved, so I feel it’s a wash.” He completely stripped and cleaned the ambulance before he went to work. Now his plan could start.
The first important step
Since Michael had to turn an ambulance into a tiny house, the next step was very important. He had to figure out where everything would fit best in the small space. In the picture you can see his sketch of a part on the inside, he planned to make a wooden wall and place a refrigerator in the room where medical equipment was once stored.
An example of his master plan
When designing a tiny home it is very important to use every inch of the space. Besides a couch, TV etc. you also need to have enough storage space. Fortunately, Michael had experience with transforming other vehicles into homes, so he was already full of good ideas regarding storage space.
But what were his good ideas? On the sketch you can already see an example of his plan. A bed would be cleverly hidden away in a bench, there was also a special space to store the mattress. In terms of sound, a sound bar would be placed near the ceiling. He says: “though some of it ended up changing based on new ideas and available materials, this plan ended up being pretty close to the final product.”
Michael can almost start the transformation
Now that Michael has stripped the inside and started making a plan, he can almost start the transformation. The next step he had to take into account and deal with was the ventilation. To do this he cut a hole in the roof of the ambulance to install this fan, which keeps the air moving inside the ambulance.
The next thing on the to-do list
Now it was time for the next job on Michael’s to-do list: electricals. He had to deal with an old control panel that was located in the future kitchen, which was harder than he thought. The panel couldn’t be removed easily because some of the motor’s electrical components were running through it, which would be a big job for someone who wasn’t professionally trained. He wanted to equip the ambulance with solar panels. So, he bought the panels from an electricity warehouse and then installed them himself.
Placing a beautiful hardwood floor
After placing the floor you really started to see his work in the ambulance. It’s not every day you see an ambulance with beautiful hardwood floors. Despite the fact that it was a very nice floor and it looked good, he admits that he made a mistake with the installation of it. He said: “invest in some hardwood floor protection after the installation.” “My floors are already scuffed up. Although it’s not that bad, it would have been nice to enjoy a perfect floor for a while”.
The beginning of the kitchen
Because Michael is quite tall, he had to think carefully about how and where to place the fridge in his new kitchen. He didn’t like the idea of having to bend over every time he wants to take something refreshing out of the fridge. So he made the decision to take a floating fridge. It was more convenient and he liked the look of it. “I decided on this particular fridge for its thickness, its style, and the ability to turn it off from the inside,” he says.
The end result of the kitchen
Michael was looking for wood for the new interior of the ambulance. While shopping he came across wood for an incredibly good price. “While walking through Home Depot, I came across this faux barn wood for a ridiculously low price. It came in 12′ boards, which was exactly the length of my kitchen cabinets!” This meant he didn’t have to cut any of the boards you see on the left, except the top one, which had to become narrower. This was a big advantage for his new kitchen, because the end result was beautiful!
Being creative with the bedroom
When you are going to transform a vehicle into a house you will of course need a bed. Often you have 2 options for the bed area: either you have a permanent horizontal bed or you have a futon-like version that can be folded up into a couch during the day. Michael did not like both options and did not want to put this in his new tiny home. That’s why he came up with a much more creative idea: “construct a new bench in the back that could somehow triple in size”. As usual he started working out his idea to make a plan.
Michael even thought of a shower
Of course Michael thought of everything. So, the shower served as a storage space as well. It was built using a rechargeable pump that he purchased online. “The pump is built into the house that makes it possible to use any water source for your awkward life-threatening shower,” he jokes.
With this setup, hot water is no problem. Thanks to the solar panels and the can there is also hot water during the day. Which allows Micheal to shower whenever he wants.
The place where he transformed the ambulance
Micheal was regularly asked a lot about where he builds the vehicles. This is because it takes a long time to rebuild the vehicles and you need a large space. “I simply look for spots that seem open to a dismantled vehicle or a war-zone-like construction site, then contact the owner and ask if they’d be willing to put up with my tomfoolery with a short-term lease,” he explains.
The amazing end result of the transformation
Can you remember that the ambulance was full of junk and stuff from the previous owner? I hardly recognize the old ambulance. What a difference!
Micheal used wood for most of the interior, but this hasn’t become boring. “I didn’t want all the walls to be one kind of wood, so I decided to treat the barn wood as ‘furniture’ wood and the tongue and groove pine as ‘wall’ wood,” he explains.
Be amazed by the new living -and bedroom
And finally… The big reveal of Micheals custom made bed. He put so much effort into it, but the result is incredible. The bed is made by using heavy-duty drawer guides. Michael describes his creation as: “I basically turned it into four drawers with one front, with only the inner most drawers containing storage for blankets and pillows”.
Be surprised by all the changes
What a sweet picture! This is Michael’s cute dog named Bumper, “he is my pet tax,” jokes Michael. You can see how cozy and nice the ambulance has become in the room when you decorate it as a bedroom. Because he has used the rooms well, you don’t have the feeling that it is a small space.
What is not shown in the picture of the design: “If you open the back doors while laying around in bed, is one of the best things about life that most ambulance builds don’t allow for”. This sounds absolutely amazing, doesn’t it?
See the new kitchen
Micheal used a very special material for the kitchen counter. Surprisingly enough it is concrete. The concrete was applied using a process called skim coating, which is very light and can be applied to a variety of surfaces.
You can also see that he made a unique copper painted back wall, which he made to cover the control panel. The ambulance also has a storage hob so you can make delicious dishes in your new kitchen. Actually, the ambulance has everything you need in a house, plus it is built on wheels. There is a special feature of the ambulance that you certainly won’t expect.
The exterior of the ambulance
When Michael bought the ambulance, the exterior was completely covered with advertising stickers from the previous owner’s company. It was also covered with reflective tape from the time the vehicle was used as an ambulance. It took Michael a lot of hard work to remove everything but in the end it worked out well. After removing everything, he used a electric orbital sander to completely smooth the surface. This was a good preparation for the new paint job he was going to do.
It’s all about the details
The renewed ambulance was of course already a special appearance, but Michael wanted the renewed ambulance to have a vintage look. On the picture you can see that he chose green with white details. This was not the plan he had in mind.
Michael: “I was originally considering a Black/Charcoal/Grey tonal paint job, but I thought it was a bit too serious, so I started looking at old campers and Suburban paint jobs,” he says. Then he made the choice to use green and white. You won’t expect what else Michael added to the outside of the ambulance…
This is the best so far
What a surprise, Michael even made a roof terrace on the ambulance. You can see that he thought of everything. Remember when he bought the vehicle from an AstroTurf company? He says: “When haggling the price for the ambulance, I took the former owner’s offer on the condition that he would throw in a roll of his finest AstroTurf so that I could create a removable roof back”.
Michael saw this as a joke at the beginning, but now he loves having a turf on his roof. Do you want to do yoga, have a drink in your ‘garden’ or relax in the sun? With his roof terrace it’s all possible!