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.
Get to know about Michael Talley’s greatest achievement. This is what he did: he bought a used ambulance that was still in decent condition, he put a lot of energy and time into it, but most of all, he put a lot of creativity into it. This has really become a tiny house that everyone would be very proud to live in. Now it’s time to meet Michael. Find more on the next page!
Michael Talley lives in Austin, Texas. He is a designer who loves to turn vehicles into small mobile homes, which will amaze everyone. He has done this before, for example, with a school bus and another van. He lived in it for a while and then decided to look for a new and exciting project. Curious about his new project? Discover it now on the next page.
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 stuff I was going to replace anyhow,” he adds. Michael was well aware that transforming the ambulance would be a difficult task, but he was eager to go to work and turn this vehicle into the gem he knew it could be. So he went to work right away, unaware that there had been a worrisome revelation concerning the ambulance.
When it comes to transforming a car, the first step in a job like this is to totally empty the vehicle so that he may begin his renovation from scratch. After Michael removed everything, it was instantly evident that this was formerly 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.
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.
He joked that he would keep the chair where it was, but added: “the chair was removed and put in a garbage can behind a Domino’s to rest”. Michael still had so many amazing ideas that he would carry out. Read on and you’ll be amazed. 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 soundbar 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.
It was now time for Michael to move on to the next task on his to-do list: electrical work. He had to cope with an outdated control panel in the future kitchen, which proved to be more difficult than he had anticipated. Because some of the motor’s electrical components ran through the panel, it couldn’t be simply removed, which would be a large job for someone who wasn’t professionally qualified. He wants to put solar panels on the ambulance. As a result, he purchased the panels from an electricity store and installed them himself.
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”.
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.
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!
The end result of the kitchen will definitely surprise you. Find the picture on the next page. 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.He made a bed that was never built before. During the process of making the bed, Michael was inspired by a pull-out dining table he had seen in a store in San Francisco. His plan was to build a sofa that would triple in size. He accomplished this by using heavy drawer guides.
After three attempts, Michael succeeded in making the bed he wanted so badly. He wrote that “this kind of bed was never built, or at least never executed in a van,” as far as he knows. He was very happy that his plan succeeded and became reality. Later on we will see more of the bedroom
It is of course important to be able to relax in your home. That’s why he also wanted entertainment in his soon-to-be tiny house. Netflix was the solution!
When not in use, he mounted a smart TV on a hinged holder that could be pulled out of the way. “A built-in system allows you to broadcast your phone without having to be on a Wi-Fi connection,” he adds, “which is a problem you have to deal with a lot while traveling in the western United States.” Already intrigued by the restroom? Michael even considered taking a shower. Michael, of course, had considered everything. As a result, the shower doubled as a storage room. He used a rechargeable pump that he bought online to construct it. He laughs, “The pump is built inside the house, so you can use any water source for your awkward life-threatening shower.”
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. 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 ambulance was transformed in a junkyard for which Michael paid $200 a month. As an added bonus, the place was right across the street from a hardware store. Are you also curious about the end result? Read on and see the most amazing pictures. The inside will surprise you!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 amazed by the new living -and bedroom
And finally… The big reveal of Micheal’s 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 innermost drawers containing storage for blankets and pillows”.
As you can see, the bed is almost as high as the side couch when it is pulled out, so Michael can put his long legs on it. “This also allows for a comfortable reading nook or a perfect spot for a dog to sleep without taking up valuable bed space,” he says.
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?