A Texas man bought an old ambulance from a landscaping company for $4,500 and spent $10,000 converting it into his dream tiny home. Here's how he did it.

Joey Hadden
·5 min read
ambulance before and after copy
ambulance before and after copy

The ambulance had concrete counter tops, hardwood bamboo floors, and a copper backsplash. Courtesy of Michael Talley

  • Michael Talley bought a $4,500 used ambulance from a landscaping company and turned it into a $30,000 home.

  • The Austin, Texas, home is complete with a king-sized bed, a 42-inch TV, and a rooftop deck with a solar panel and a small patch for golfing.

  • Talley spent about $10,000 on repairs and converting the space, and he told Insider that he focused on making his home beautiful and having as much open space in the vehicle as possible.

  • Take a look inside the solar-powered tiny home conversion, which Talley highlights, along with other custom builds, on his Instagram.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Michael Talley told Insider that he found a used ambulance on Craigslist in late 2018. At the time, the vehicle belonged to a landscaping company.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

The ambulance was no longer being used for medical purposes. At the time, the vehicle served an Austin-based AstroTurf landscaping company.

After renovating a school bus and a van, Talley wanted a new challenge. He found this 1992 Ford E-350 7.3 Diesel on Craigslist for $4,500, due in part to its incredible engine, he said.

ambulance
ambulance

Courtesy of Michael Talley

After relocating electric boards, rewiring electrical, and cleaning out mold, Talley took some time in the empty space to imagine what the home would look like.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

"It's always easier to build something new than to try to alter something that already has been built," Talley told Insider. Envisioning the final product is one of Talley's favorite parts of the process.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Talley utilized the bones of the ambulance's layout to his advantage. For example, he used these countertops for the kitchen.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Knowing where the kitchen would be located helped Talley plan a layout for the rest of his vehicle.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Talley prioritized fitting a king-sized bed in the ambulance because he is well over 6 feet tall.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

To do this, Talley constructed a bench that converts into a bed three times its size.

ambulance reno
ambulance reno

Courtesy of Michael Talley

This way, his feet didn't hang over the bottom of the bed while sleeping.

ambulance reno
ambulance reno

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Throughout the renovation, Talley used a variety of materials, including concrete countertops, a copper backsplash, ...

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

... and hardwood bamboo floors.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Talley told Insider that he got the lumber for this build from various suppliers.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

To the right of the kitchen counter, Talley installed a fridge and a freezer.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Talley told Insider that space is a hot commodity in a tiny home, so he tries to keep it as spacious as possible by not stuffing too many features in it.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

For example, this home didn't have a bathroom or shower, but Talley said when he was living on the road, it wasn't really necessary. He could always go to a gym to shower and use public restrooms.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Instead, he saved room for a comfortable bed and still felt like he had plenty of extra space to move around. "You realize how much more time you spend outside of it than you do in it," Talley said about living in a vehicle.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Talley said it's best to think of your bus, van, or ambulance build like a really nice car when it comes to designing your layout, instead of a really small house. "The smaller you go, the more flexibility you'll have on the road," he said.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Talley told Insider that the paint job was one of the hardest parts of this project. First, he had to scrape the AstroTurf and decals to prep it for a new color.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Then he decided on a style. Inspired by old Chevy Suburbans, Talley went with a vintage green with a white pinstripe.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Outside the ambulance, Talley used an industrial locker for storage space.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

On the rooftop, Talley installed a solar panel. The ambulance had 600 watts of solar and Lithium-Ion batteries. Talley had the seller throw in some additional Astroturf when he bought the vehicle and used it to make a small golfing green.

ambulance reno
ambulance reno

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Talley left the driver's area as it was.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Back in the living space, a barn door leads to the driver and passenger seats, just behind the 42-inch TV.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

This is what the finished product looked like, which Talley lived in for half a year before selling it for $30,000.

ambulance renovation
ambulance renovation

Courtesy of Michael Talley

Talley is working on another ambulance build now, and this one will have a bathroom, he told Insider.

ambulance
ambulance

Courtesy of Michael Talley

  • Read more:

  • A Tennessee couple bought a sprinter van for $40,000 to travel across the US during the pandemic. Take a look inside their tiny home, which doubles as their office.

  • A former corporate trainer who used to spend his days running seminars about strategy and motivation gave up his six-figure salary to live in a van with 10 rescue dogs. We got a look into his life.

  • 2 couples who have turned vans into tiny homes share their best tips on how to get started in vanlife — and how to make a tiny space feel big enough to live in

  • For people who live on the road, self-isolating at home during the pandemic is impossible — now there's a spreadsheet to connect them with temporary places to stay

Read the original article on Insider