Man Converts Ambulance Into Tiny Home on Wheels for $13,000

This unique vehicle conversion features an ambulance that's outfitted with a kitchen, bed, shower, and tons of storage.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k exterior

Tiny Home Tours

The idea of travel appeals to many people, but for some, it's a way of life. Some may travel globally as roving remote workers, living in different exotic locales, perhaps joining up with a coworking hub, or signing up for a global co-living subscription. Others may literally take their home with them, as a growing number of people are doing with vans, buses, and other vehicles that have been converted to hold the sorts of things that we might expect in any regular house – kitchens, beds, and even bathrooms. Thanks to the broad reach of social media, the idea of converting a vehicle into a tiny home on wheels is gaining more mainstream acceptance, just as the ideas of micro-housing and living a more minimalist lifestyle have also been catching on.

Besides vans and buses, it's also possible to transform an ambulance into a cozy home. In this enlightening visit via Tiny Home Tours, we get to see this skillful conversion of a 1995 F350 ambulance by certified boat captain and carpenter Ben Harris:

Harris says that he wanted to convert an all-wheel-drive ambulance (as opposed to a bus or a Sprinter van) because they are generally more affordable and often come with a ton of external storage lockers that are already built in, which as we will see, are a handy advantage over other vehicles.

Harris says he chose this particular ambulance after a long search because of the full-sized pass-through that connects the cab to the rest of the vehicle. That means that one can access the steering wheel quickly and safely without having to go outside. As Harris notes, it's also a convenient spot to install hooks for hanging up clothes.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k Tiny Home Tours
Tiny Home Tours

Right at the entrance door, Harris has installed a clever DIY shower set-up, using the ambulance's existing stepwell. He salvaged a metal kitchen sink, cut it down to size and fit it into the stepwell, installed a wooden slatted mat below and a kitchen sprayer overhead; all that's needed is a shower curtain that is magnetically attached to the ambulance's metal frame. While he admits he mostly showers outdoors, he says that it's a convenient back-up just in case he ever needs it.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k shower stall
Tiny Home Tours

Harris' closet is here too, located in a cabinet with double doors that came with the ambulance.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k closet
Tiny Home Tours 

The kitchenette here is small but functional: there's a sink with an integrated acacia wood cutting board, a two-burner propane stove, and plenty of overhead storage with a see-through cabinet – all of it previously built in for paramedics to store their supplies. The best thing here is the garbage chute off to the side of the sink, which was already there and can be accessed and emptied via a locker door on the outside – super convenient!

diy ambulance conversion for 13k kitchen
Tiny Home Tours

The kitchen counter is also made of acacia wood, and part of it lifts up to make way for an extra seat.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k hinged counter
Tiny Home Tours

The platform at one end of the ambulance elevates the bed, making space for a lot of under-bed storage for various pieces of equipment. One sliding compartment holds the Dometic mini-refrigerator, which Harris says is a big improvement over using cooler chests with ice. It also doubles as a seat.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k slide out refrigerator
Tiny Home Tours

The acacia wood dining table slides out from under the bed to create a place to eat or work. The leather pulls here were made with scrap leather pieces that Harris got from a bootmaker in Montana.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k slide out table
Tiny Home Tours

On the other side of the table, there's yet another seat, underneath which is more storage.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k storage seat
Tiny Home Tours

Up on the full-sized bed, Harris is able to sit up completely, and the space is lit with LEDs that were installed on the same wiring system as the ambulance's old lights. As Harris notes, his electrical needs are minimal, and all he needs is the power generated by the 300-watt solar panels installed on the roof.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k bed
Tiny Home Tours

Between the bed and the kitchen, we have a ladder-style divider, which Harris uses to hang clothes and towels, and which was made from a salvaged piece of walnut wood.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k ladder divider
Tiny Home Tours

On the outside, there's a plethora of handy storage lockers that were already built in, which Harris uses to store camping gear, his various greywater and freshwater tanks that add up to 30 gallons, on-demand hot water heater, propane tanks and the like.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k utility locker
Tiny Home Tours

We really like how he's converted one double-doored locker to hold a camping stove, allowing him to cook outside.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k outdoor kitchen
Tiny Home Tours

Of course, there's also a rack at the back for Harris' motorcycle, which he uses whenever he doesn't want to drive the ambulance somewhere.

diy ambulance conversion for 13k motorcycle rack
Tiny Home Tours

All told, Harris says that he spent $13,000 on the build, with about $9,000 going toward the vehicle itself. Compared to some of the high-end van conversions we've seen, this is quite an affordable yet stylish result, and Harris says that he was able to keep costs down by doing much of the carpentry work himself while enlisting the professional help of family and friends to do the metalwork or electrical system.

It's a great example of how vast the possibilities can be, thanks to a bit of DIY effort, creativity, and willingness to think outside the box, or in this case, beyond the usual four immobile walls of a conventional house. To see more, visit Ben Harris on Instagram.