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He Bought a Used Ambulance, Turned it into his Home, and Drove South to the Tropics

RVs October 23, 2017

He Bought a Used Ambulance, Turned it into his Home, and Drove South to the Tropics

He has now entered Costa Rice with his DIY converted home-on-wheels he bought used of eBay.

We have heard of many vehicles being turned into homes these last couple of years, from vans to SUV’s to campers. But it is extremely creative to see an ambulance as your next home. Ambulances are often filled with so much equipment to care for the people who need medical help that it is hard to create a vision for yourself inside one of these very common vehicles.

It may be difficult to see an ambulance as a home but this gentleman certainly proved that it is not impossible. On the exterior it still looks like an ambulance, however, the space to hold his motor cycle on the back gives away the secret. This is no ordinary ambulance. Whenever you convert any vehicle into a dwelling space you must have an eye that sees things and space in a different way.

The interior looks very comfortable and the space is utilized well. There is even room enough for a pet dog to lie comfortably as he or she would in an apartment or house. The walls are used for a lot of storage. Items that would normally sit on the floor, hang on the walls instead, like his guitar. This method is used for many tiny house dwellers as well. The walls become a hanging storage area.

The bed and sofa are combined into a sectional that can offer another sleeping space at night or plenty of space for company during the day or an evening get together. The rear living space is separated by a curtain from the front driving area. So it feels like two spaces in one. The eating area has a beautiful wood table that curves to take up less space and it sits right in front of one end of the sofa/bed/sectional area where it is used for dining.

It takes a lot of imagination to complete a transformation like this one. As we stated, ambulances remind us of just about everything but a home and this one definitely fits the bill as one of the best and most creative transformations of a vehicle into a home, that many of us have seen.

7158 total views, 2 today

Winterizing for Van Dwellers

RVs October 23, 2017

Winter in a van

For some van dwellers, it’s been a lifelong dream to feel this free. You can live rent-free and travel if you wish. It has turned out to be a dream come true but there are things one must consider before taking on a life of van dwelling, and one very important thing is how to winterize your van, so you can stay warm  during the Fall and Winter seasons.

There are quite a few options for keeping your van in good repair and warm for the upcoming season, some a bit more costly and others go towards the frugal way. However, keeping warm is not a joke and you do want your methods and all your hard work and money to be sufficient.

First things first: Insulation

Most vans that are purchased as dwelling spaces already have some kind of insulation, check it out and make sure because you may fall into a case where you need to insulate more or replace torn out insulation. On Instructables.com there is a comprehensive instruction article on how to properly insulate your van for the Winter.

Make sure your van is in good working condition

Now is the time to check out all the mechanical stuff. Make sure that you have recently had a tune-up and an oil change before hitting the road in the Winter. Make certain that if your van has its own heat,  have the heating system checked out so you know you’ll be warm while driving. Check your anti-freeze levels and your battery so you don’t get stuck on some cold highway waiting for help. And get winter tires just in case you run into snow storms and blizzards.

Keeping warm at night

It is one thing to have a good working heating system while driving, but how do you keep warm at night or when you park for a day or two? You can use some warm night clothing, socks, slippers, pajamas, and good winter blankets. Getting a couple of sleeping bags is another great idea. They keep you warm inside and outside. A good hot water bottle works well to preheat the bed and/or the sleeping bag.

Gas heaters

There are compact gas heaters that many  people love to use on cold winter nights. One great thing about them is that they don’t require electricity. These heaters function very well so do your research to see which ones are in your budget and what size heater you will need to heat your specific van space.

Source: Living in a Van in Winter

By Kimberly Smith

69 total views, 0 today

DIY Repair When Your House is a Van

RVs October 23, 2017

DIY Repairs When Your House is a Van

Van dwelling is getting more popular these days. It saves you from paying rent and mortgage and many other monthly bills that everyone is used to paying. It is also a way to freedom, freedom to move and go whenever you feel the notion. Van dwelling comes with a lot of perks but you must remember, that your new home is a vehicle and vehicle’s have issues from time to time. This is especially true because most van dwellers buy used vans that at some point will need mechanical attention.

Are you up for doing a little DIY repairs on your home? Well, it will be a whole lot cheaper if you could do some of the things that your van will require to keep it and you, on the road. Here are some repairs that are simple enough that even a novice can learn.

Checking your oil

Oil keeps any vehicle going strong. You cannot continually drive a vehicle without making sure that it has enough oil or that the oil is clean. Doing an oil check by simply lifting the hood, looking for the plastic stick that has an oil can on it and removing that stick to see how much oil is actually there, is one of the simplest but most important things you can do for your vehicle. If you look at the markings on the stick you can see at what level the oil is, and fill or add oil if needed.

2. Anti-freeze

If you are constantly on the road, particularly during the cold weather, anti-freeze is a fluid that needs checking. If you remember how to check the oil, you will see a cap that either says anti-freeze or look for the sketching of a picture of anti-freeze fluid. Remove and read the instructions on your particular brand of anti-freeze. Look in your manual, if it is still available because some anti-freeze needs to be mixed with water and some bottles come that way. Pour the anti-freeze in the correct section of the car and mark in a book when you refilled it so you will know when to check it again.

3. Tires

Always check your tires for low pressure and often the vehicle will tell you when there is low pressure, but if the vehicle is too old for that type of messages, check your tires when you check your oil. If one seems low, immediately go to a gas station with an air pump or a tire place where they can check all of your four tires and see if there is the right amount of air in all four. Make sure you know how to change a tire on your own as well. This will make things a whole lot easier; and get Triple AAA, for any road service needs in case it is nighttime or bad weather is occuring, and you simply need some roadside assistance.

908 total views, 1 today

All About the Inexpensive Sears Mail Order Houses

Prefab October 22, 2017

All About the Inexpensive Sears Mail Order Houses

If Sears brought these back (for under $30k), would you consider buying one? Sears sold somewhere between 70,000 and 75,000 inexpensive homes through the mail-order Modern Homes program. 447 styles to chose from!

Most people are aware of the Sears company, selling everything from clothing to high power tools. But only a few may know that between 1908 and 1940 Sears sold mail order homes. It was quite a successful venture, with Sears selling 70,000-75, 000 homes during that time period. Karen DeJeet moved into her home approximately 4 years ago and found out about its unique history. It is still standing beautifully and it is one of the mail order homes from the Sears company. This made DeJeet very curious as to how many other Sears mail order homes were still around. It has become quite the hobby for DeJeet.

Obviously the homes took off, soaring with sales during the early 1900s, but if Sears began to sell these homes again under 30k, would you actually buy one? The reason we mention this number is because it’s the equivalent in modern-day dollars to the prices they sold them at a long time ago (you’re probably familiar with seeing old magazines with prices like $1000 and $1995). Except we averaged it out high, so the updated number would be less than $30k.

With so many people getting into the tiny house movement, dwelling in campers and vans, and making homes from shipping containers, a mail order house is not a far fetched idea. If it can be sold for under 30k, that in itself is a great marketing tool.

In these times, it is not unusual to buy unassembled furniture or many objects and projects that are DIY. DIY is now a hugely popular trend, so one would think that a DIY home would do very well in this housing market.

What was then Sears & Roebuck, designed 447 versions of this house, from your large luxurious family home to what would be called a tiny house today. There would be a design that would fit just about everyone’s taste and the DIY factor is getting less scary as time goes on. Also, if they were being sold for under 30k, it could be easy to pay someone for help, if you are not a DIY person yourself.

Certainly, no one really knows how well a product will sell until it is on the market, however with the way most people are thinking, a DIY mail order home from Sears would do pretty well in this current world economy.

by Kimberly Smith

24875 total views, 247 today

The Cost of Living in a Tiny House Community vs. The Cost of Being on Your Own

Tiny House October 2, 2017

The Cost of Living in a Tiny House Community vs. The Cost of Being on Your Own

There are many ways you can live in a tiny house. Many people park their tiny homes in a friend’s backyard or a rented lot for periods at a time. There are also those who own land and choose not to move and just place their tiny home on their own land. But there are also ways to live in a tiny house, trailer, schoolbus, shipping container, or whatever you have transformed into your home. There are tiny home communities where many of your needs are provided for you, such as electric, WiFi, showers, and even meals. Some have what they call, a community kitchen. While other tiny house dwellers have their own kitchens and everything they need within.

If you are thinking about living the tiny house lifestyle, it may be good to know which direction to go in when it comes to finances, especially those monthly and day to day finances. If you are an entrepreneur or work at home for any reason, you may not want someone else in control of your internet service. If you leave the house most days for work and own a smart phone with data, this may not be such an inconvenience.

Let’s explore the costs of the two ways of living in a tiny house; community, or on your own.

Living on your own or rented land in a tiny house can realistically cost you a few hundred dollars a month depending on the climate and where you’ve decided to park your tiny home. Tiny homes have small refrigerators, so you will probably spend more time and money at the grocery store because it’s harder to make a meal plan when your refrigerator can only hold but so much product.

Heating may be a bit expensive if your tiny home is not well insulated, so electrical heating can cost up to and above $150/per month, especially if your tiny home is mobile. If you build a tiny home to be stationery, you may be able to connect it to the local gas or electric department, which would bring costs down. But with tiny house living being mostly off the grid, sometimes for legal regulations reasons, hooking up to the local utility services may be a problem.

You must also consider the price of gas if you are traveling in your tiny home from park to park or lot to lot. You can end up spending a lot of money on gas, anywhere from $60/week and up just to get from one destination to the next. If you’re stationary this could be a non-issue.

Community living is quite different and can be different from one tiny house community to another. In most communitites, certain amenities are provided to those who live there, for example, there is usually a main house equipped with showers, community purchased grocery, a full kitchen, WiFi, and a community social room. Many communities have their own gardens to save on food for everyone living there. You may still be responsible for your own heat, but things like WiFi are usually a group effort. Grocery is often a group effort as most people who choose to live in a community, tend to build or rent tiny homes without kitchens. So you will save on food, gas because you are stationery, Internet, and often phone service.

Choosing between these two options depends on what kind of dream you have for you and your tiny home. If you are more of a solitary person, you may want to front the costs of living on a lot of land by yourself or with regular neighbors. You may want control over your own Internet and phone service. And many people don’t care for the processs of sharing showers. So think about what makes you happy. Though community living may be cheaper, it may be less convenient when it comes to your lifestyle.

6546 total views, 2 today

Converting a Van Into a Home – She Downsized to Pay Off Debt

Unusual Dwellings October 2, 2017

Converting a Van Into a Home - She Downsized to Pay Off Debt

“My Car-Dwelling Life” is the only name we have for this brave young woman who decided to chronicle her life on YouTube. And why is she chronicling her life, well, she decided that her credit card debt was just too stressful with trying to pay rent and car payments plus insurance. Though she works full-time, she had no joy in her life and all she thought about was her bills and her humoungus amount of debt she gathered while in college. She decided that her overall plan is to buy an old van and convert it into a permanent traveling living space, but while she is paying off all of her debt, she is now living in her car, by choice.

Her journey in life begins with car dwelling, full-time, and she shares the pros and cons of temporarily living in your car:


No rent – She saves approximately a thousand dollars by not having rent and other utility bills that go along with living in an apartment.

No furniture – Like most people, this car dweller, used to spend money on furniture and household knick-knacks that really were’nt needed but that she bought to impress family and friends.

No utility bills – She is free from paying utility bills each month, and in the process, gave up television altogether because she found out through this transition of living in her car, that there was nothing she missed.

She spends less on clothing – Spending less on clothing is another perk. Since there isn’t a lot of room for a full wardobe, she sold and gave away a lot of her clothing and only kept the clothing she really needed or really loved.

There, of course, are also a few cons to calling your car, your home:

Showering/bathroom – Most people car and van dwellers use the gym for showering facilities and that is just what this car-dweller is doing. Paying a small monthly gym fee is nothing like paying rent and you can exercise every day or every couple of days and shower while you’re there.

Bathroom- When nature calls, she has learned of all the places she can go to use a decent bathroom. Even in the middle of the night, which she says doesn’t happen often, she has a map of all the 24 hour superstores where she could go in an emergency. It isn’t the most convenient plan, but it does work out temporarily.

Sleep – Sleep was a bit uncomfortable at first, but after trial and error and a few blankets and pillows, sleeping in the back of her car became quite easy. Curtains were also installed in the car that could be drawn in the evenings and at night for privacy.

Telling friends and family – People may think you are a little crazy for choosing to live in your car, so at first, it’s a little embarrassing to share this info. But it appears that you can get over that and explain to people if you choose, that you are saving to convert a van into a real home. And that living in your car is a temporary and cheap solution.

“Her Car-Dwelling Life” is very happy with her decision and has calculated that what was once three years of debt has dwindled down to just 8 months. After all of her debt is paid off, she intends to look for a van that requires some TLC and convert it into her traveling home. She has also decided that she isn’t looking for any more permanent jobs. She just wants to live on the road, park by the beach when she can and live life on her own terms, while experiencing new adventures.

13092 total views, 4 today

Rustic Countertop For Cabins – a DIY Project

Furniture and Furnishings September 27, 2017

Rustic Countertop For Cabins - a DIY Project

The log cabin look is getting more popular every season and one of the reasons why is that it is such a warm and inviting way to decorate a home. Home dwellers with many different types of homes have chosen to decorate and design their home like log cabins, a pure and rustic look. The love of this rustic look has moved into the kitchen where kitchen countertops bring in that cabin look that home owners desire.

Countertops can be the centerpiece of your kitchen if you take time to do something new and different like rustic countertops. The great thing about rustic countertops is that they can compliment any kitschen from country style to minimalist. There are many ways to go rustic, wood is just one. Recycled wood is popular for this type of style, many home dwellers and designers even use old wood pallets that are often free or sold for pennies.

You can also pull off the rustic look by using recycled metals, leaving all of the markings and scratches for that rustic look and both these materials are durable. They are often more durable than any materials constructed today. Wood and metal together is another great look for a kitchen counter and you can build that rustic look around it by using hanging pot holders and shelves made from the same materials.

Don’t just ignore your kitchen counter. We know it is easy to do so, but the kitchen counter can be just as beautiful as the rest of your home. Rustic is in this year and according to many home designers, this look is not going anywhere. So be creative, choose your materials, and if you need help ask for it, but put your personality into your kitchen by creating your own DIY countertop from salvaged materials or materials made to look warm and worn at the same time.

1741 total views, 0 today

How To Build Your Own Shipping Container Home

Shipping Container Buildings September 26, 2017

Shipping containers are becoming hugely popular as items used for building cool and unique homes. However, there are important things you should know before embarking on such a project. Though it is exciting to build your own home, just as with any type of house, there are specific instructions that need to be followed. Before you make your final decision, here are some instructions you should follow to guarantee that your shipping container home is built with the sturdy foundation and quality you are seeking.

How to Build a Container Home:

Step 1

Design your home, either alone, if you have your own detailied ideas or hire a home designer to help put your thoughts on paper for the engineers. This is of course, for those who will not be doing this as a DIY project on their own.

Step 2

A consultation with an engineer is not a bad idea. It is wise to at least have someone experienced look at your plans and design to see if it will really work in the real world. Often our imaginations can outdo reality. So find an engineer and show them your plans.

Step 3

Purchase your containers. This is the beginning of the whole project. You can’t begin building your home without the right containers. Choosing the right containers is up to you or you can take along a consultant if you’d like. They will be able to point out any trouble spots.

Step 4

Build the foundation on which your shipping container house will sit. It is also a great idea to take a consultant with you if you are choosing your own foundation materials. You can simply choose your material and then have an engineer approve them. One thing you want is a safe and sturdy foundation.

Step 5

You need to know, from your original plans, how you want your containers placed. This ultimately becomes the design of your shipping container home.

Step 6

Containers are connected together in various ways. Here is where a consultation with a professional builder would be most useful. You want to make sure that your home lasts as long as you want it to, and that you and your family are safe inside of it. Speak to an engineer about what the best connections from container to container would be.

Step 7

It is best to have an inspection during and at the end of the building process. An inspector can check out anything that may go wrong after the building process.

Step 8

Your roof is the next and last step of the building process. Choose what types of material you would want for a roof. Remember, a roof has to protect you from the weather and anything that may fall upon it. The roof is one of the most important parts of building any home. It needs to be secured and insulated so that your home is warm in the winter, and protected from heavy snow, if you live in those areas.

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Nautino Maxi Houseboat

Houseboats September 22, 2017

Nautino Maxi Houseboat

Rest and relaxation on the water? Is that what you’re looking for today?

A houseboat is a luxury in itself, floating on the water with fine dinners and drinks or simple burgers and fries. No matter the plan, gliding on a houseboat is fun for everyone and a chance to experience the serenity and passion of the ocean waters. The Nautino Maxi Houseboat is a dream come true for those who get to experience it. It is luxury through and through and that is something no one can turn down.

The Nautino Houseboat is a new breed of houseboats that are the equivalent to mansions if they were on land. Just the beauty of this boat will dazzle you and your friends. Experiences come in all shapes and sizes and this one comes in at the maxi level. It is a boat designer’s dream as well as those who get to experience it. If your looking for a unique experience, the Nautino Maxi is your choice.

And the adventure comes with it. These “Nautilus” are new, innovative design houseboats from a young, innovative company. Owner and manager Andreas Hoffmann personally works on the architectural planning of their several boat types. He has been awarded at the trade fair Boot & Fun 2012 in Berlin with the Innovation Award for its timeless design and environmentally friendly construction. Through various equipment options and floor plans you have the possibility to build a boat according to most people’s wishes and budget.

This one is the “Nautino Maxi.”

According to the builders, “Our Nautino Premium maxi is the special boat for larger families and friends. It offers room for up to 6 persons, boating pleasure and is highly comfortable. 2 berths are in the roof cabin, 2 single berths (can be extended to a bed for 3 persons) in the stern cabin and 2 further berths on the couch in the living area.”

Find more from Nautilus and other houseboats we’ve indexed in our Home Designers and Builders Directory. You can search the company’s name and look builders near your area. And to see more houeboats, click here.

Gallery of images:

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Mortgage-free in 320 Square foot House

Tiny House September 20, 2017

Mortgage-free in 320 Square foot House

The Tiny House Movement has become a world wide phenomenon and its participants are actually obsessed with tiny living. People are finding the idea of downsizing their lives and making life more simple and uncluttered very attractive. The benefits of living tiny are many and varied, but one of the most attractive is that for less than $20,000 you can build – or have built – your very own tiny house and live without the albatross of a monthly mortgage. This tiny house is 320 square feet large and was built for less than $20,000.

Living in a tiny house forces you to find out what really matters to you. You will definitely have to give a lot of your “stuff” away, but in the end you will have all your most loved items and will have decluttered your life significantly. And without a mortgage your cost of living goes down dramatically. You will find that living in a smaller space does not mean you have to give up your creature comforts and having no mortgage leaves extra money for adventures in traveling, dining out, going to concerts and other entertainment.

This tiny house can be completely mobile and you can change your views and location on a whim.  And if you have solar panels, collect rainwater and compost waste, you can live totally “off grid’ and be completely self contained and self sufficient. No mortgage to pay frees you up considerably. You will find that tiny homes like this one are extremely versatile and practical. There is much less to spend on maintenance and upkeep, cleaning can be done in minutes, and everything is at your fingertips.

Some additional source material can be found here and is very interesting.

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