The owner, Grant Miller, takes us on a tour of his 97 Road Rescue Freightliner fire rescue ambulance from San Ramon Valley, which he has transformed into a beautiful home. From the kitchen and the bedroom to the exterior, we get to see all the exciting features that make this ambulance a cozy place to live.
From Ambulance to Home
Welcome to a unique living solution, where creative modifications have transformed a 97 Road Rescue Freightliner fire rescue ambulance into a well-equipped home. Once inside the rig, you are greeted by a spacious kitchen and dining area that boasts a stunning black walnut Live Edge slab with a hammered copper sink. The custom shelves are adorned with Ewok figurines, adding a personal touch to the space.
The ceiling space has also been used cleverly with bespoke standing Lanes that have UV lights for added ambiance. The living area houses a 7000 BTU AC unit that is low power and can be powered by solar energy. This feature ensures that the living space remains comfortable even during scorching summer months.
In the living quarters, the furniture serves a dual purpose. The original heater and air-conditioning unit has been retained to maximise space. The refrigerator which doubles up as a freezer is perfect for dry camping. The most impressive addition is a 50-inch Xbox One that doubles up as a gaming console and 4K movie player. The cleverly designed bed is spacious, with the leaves storing conveniently underneath the bench for additional seating.
Finally, the exterior storage is a significant plus point of the ambulance conversion, with the secure and durable shutters that add a visually appealing aspect. The back doors can be opened for added airflow, which drops the temperature in the rig significantly.
The transformation of this ambulance into a liveable home is truly awe-inspiring, and the owner’s creativity and resourcefulness have been perfectly executed in this unique home.
Touring the Transformative Interior of Camp Zilla
Explore the transformative interior of Camp Zilla and experience the ingenuity and creativity of owner Grant Miller’s design. The kitchen area boasts a beautiful black walnut Live Edge slab with an undermount hammered copper sink, customized shelves, and a spice rack. Look up and see the little Ewok village, adding a whimsical touch to the space.
Check out the hidden electronics area and the custom-made plate and paper towel holders. To increase headspace, Grant removed the bay lights on both sides, creating standing lanes and added UV lights for ambiance. The Max Air roof vent is another favorite feature, keeping the space cool even without the AC unit.
Step inside and admire the untouched original ambulance wiring and lights. Grant kept the original heater and air conditioner unit, preferring to use it for dry camping. The interior reaches its peak in functionality with clever storage spaces such as the pantry, vertical storage behind the door, and each storage cubby located throughout the rig.
Miller’s attention to detail and love for the tiny home and van life communities is evident in every aspect of the build, from the exterior storage to the Xbox One entertainment system located in the queen-size bed platform. Experience the joy of a unique and soundproof adventure vehicle, built with care and creativity, and a lot of love.
The DIY Renovation Journey of a 97 Freightliner Ambulance
Step into with Grant Miller as he recounts the transformation of his rig – dubbed “Camp Zilla”. Miller took out all the existing shelves and cabinets in the ambulance to make room for his dream renovation. The kitchen area now features a black walnut live edge slab with an under-mount hammered copper sink, custom shelves, and some Ewok figurines for character. Miller was also able to utilize the extra headspace in the roof by installing standing lanes and some UV lights, while the max air roof vent provides optimal cooling.
One of Miller’s biggest renovation challenges was finding an AC unit that was low power and had a heater. He went for a 7000 BTU unit that runs off his inverter and solar; although it’s better to plug it into Shore power, it does a good job, and Miller only uses it occasionally. The ambulance also came equipped with an original heater and air conditioning unit which runs off the engine AC and works great for dry camping. Miller left the unit in and converted it into storage, serving as a pantry and extra storage area.
Miller went full creative with his build, wanting a queen size bed in the ambulance. He cut away everything exterior and got an aluminum fabricator to help weld some pieces and built all the wood framing and table, making additional leaves for additional seating. The back cushions can also be inserted, providing a giant bed to accommodate his movie nights with his son.
One of the advantages of renovating an ambulance is the exterior storage space. Miller has stored everything from a metal detector to a ghillie suit for fun, but one of his favorite features are the shutters, originally made from wood and starting to show signs of wear, Miller got some new ones made from a local shutter store to keep the look but make them more durable. Being able to keep the back doors open provides additional airflow and ventilation, thereby reducing the temperature within.
Maximizing Space in a Tiny Home on Wheels
Grant Miller gives us an inside look at his 97 Road Rescue Freightliner ambulance conversion. As a technical illustrator at Tesla, he worked on the project only on weekends and after-work hours, taking him roughly a year and a half to complete. Starting with a completely gutted space, he wanted to include a queen-size bed in the design, which meant cutting away exterior space and getting an aluminum fabricator to weld a few pieces.
In the kitchen area, Grant replaced existing ambulance shelves with a black walnut Live Edge slab and under-mount hammered copper sink. He added UV lights in the standing Lanes for ambiance and a max air roof vent, which cools off the whole interior. The AC unit provides heating and cooling, with a 7000 BTU unit that runs off the inverter and solar. There’s a pantry for food storage, and a freezer-fridge that currently runs off a 12-volt power source.
Grant kept the original ambulance wiring and lights intact for aesthetic purposes, with the exception of the stripper pole. He replaced it with a shelf-tabletop combo, and custom signs indicating the locations of fire extinguishers and first aid kits in case of an emergency. The exterior of the ambulance contains enough storage for all of Grant’s camping and fishing gear, and he even holds a ghillie suit for his future zombie apocalypse or hunting trips.
Overall, Grant’s design maximizes the limited space available to him and offers all the necessary amenities for his dry camping lifestyle. He drew inspiration from other Van Lifers and Tiny Home enthusiasts online, highlighting the power of community when undertaking a project like this.
Tools, Storage, and Fun Junk: The Exterior of Camp Zilla
Welcome to the exterior of Camp Zilla, where we have a lot of practical and fun items to explore. One of the biggest advantages of converting an ambulance is that it offers ample storage space outside. We have divided the storage into different compartments based on their usage.
Firstly, we have a trunk where we throw in all the camping equipment including a fishing pole, metal detector, and other miscellaneous stuff. Here, you will also find a ghillie suit, which is from the previous owner, and we sometimes have fun with it. We also have a generator and electrical tools that we use occasionally.
Secondly, we have installed custom-made durable shutters to replace the older panels which were previously there. Keeping the back doors open generates plenty of airflow, dropping the temperature inside by 10-15 degrees immediately.
Our ambulance is unique, and we love to show it off with our exterior decorations. With twinkling UV lights, we have turned our standing lanes into a cool ambiance. Besides, our customized Ewok shelf showcases our love for Star Wars. The exterior of Camp Zilla is not just about practicality; we have added a touch of personalization, making it more sustainable, vibrant, and fun.
Q: What changes did Grant make to the ambulance to convert it into a tiny home?
Grant removed all the ambulance shelves except for one, built a black walnut live edge slab with an under-mount hammered copper sink, installed custom shelves, put in Manzanita wood, and added UV lights for ambiance. He also removed the bay lights to add more headspace, installed an AC unit with a heater unit that draws low power, added a pantry, a freezer fridge, storage, and a queen-size bed with a 50-inch Xbox One.
Q: What did the original ambulance consist of that Grant chose to keep?
Grant kept all the original ambulance wiring, lights, and controls, including the original heater and air conditioner unit that runs off the engine AC. He also kept the stripper pole and repurposed the wall where it was attached to add a nice shelf and tabletop.
Q: How long did it take for Grant to finish the conversion of the ambulance into a tiny home?
It took Grant a year and a half to finish the conversion of the ambulance into a tiny home as he worked on it during weekends and sometimes after work. He did everything by himself, from building the wood framing to making the table and leaves.
Q: What inspired Grant to convert an ambulance into a tiny home?
Grant was actively looking for a camper after the lockdown in 2020 and originally wanted a schooly or a shuttle bus. The motorhomes he drove were shaky and wooden, so when he saw the ambulance on Facebook Marketplace, he fell in love with it and thought he could just make minor changes and make it his own.
And that’s a wrap on Grant Miller’s incredible transformation of an old ambulance into a cozy tiny home! From the kitchen area with a beautiful black walnut Live Edge slab and hammered copper sink, to the standing Lanes with UV lights and a max air roof vent, to the queen size bed and 50-inch Xbox One, every inch of this rig has been thoughtfully designed and executed with full creative control by Grant himself. And let’s not forget about the exterior storage with shutters that Grant worked hard to find a durable and long-lasting solution for.
It’s clear that Grant’s years of technical illustration experience at Tesla and passion for the Van Life community have come together to create a true masterpiece on wheels. If you’re in need of some inspiration for your own tiny home on wheels, Grant’s Camp Zilla is definitely worth checking out!