Man builds fabulous studio apartment hidden inside old work truck to avoid home mortgage

Jason built himself a studio apartment on wheels to avoid housing-related debt.

Prior to attending grad school for urban planning, Jason lived in a big house with five roommates. Due to the high cost of living in big cities, he found a way to escape the crazy high rents this mid-career shift would entail.

In order to feel safe, Jason wanted to live in an inconspicuous mobile home. On Craiglist, he found a vehicle that fit the bill: an old 2004 Ford E-350 box truck.

The van measures 15 feet long and 8 feet wide. Moreover, it had a pass-through from the cab to the back, giving him a nice loft.

He did most of the building himself and hired a friend to handle the design and some of the intricate parts. To park it anywhere, he wanted an apartment on wheels that looked like a work truck.

Jason moved into the mobile van at the beginning of 2021, calling it the “Stealth Studio.” For now, he enjoys living the urban lifestyle without paying high rents.

Jason usually parks for four to seven days and takes public transportation or bikes around the city. Because he doesn’t drive the van constantly, the truck’s slightly low gas mileage isn’t a major issue.

A 12-gallon fuel tank is mounted under the rear portion of the truck, which Jason uses as a heater. 

A compartment holding a fuel tank

There are 420 amp hours of lithium batteries and 500 watts of solar power in the van. 

When he’s in the mountains, a window lets him enjoy the natural light and view outside. Jason designed the window to look like a vent since the vehicle is intended for stealthy urban living.

A cargo door at the back of the truck is made from repurposed panels from a roll-up door. Jason can transform it into a patio or garage with the push of a button, giving him a little extra storage space.

For protection, a 44-gallon gray water tank is mounted on the truck’s passenger side. Jason carries 55 gallons of freshwater that could last him ten to fourteen days.

There is a full-size mattress in the loft area of the 125-square-foot Stealth Studio. In addition, there is a vent for airflow and built-in storage for his clothes. He installed a cool rock climb set up instead of a ladder to get up the loft.

There are upper cabinets with an ebony stain above the couch, which contrasts beautifully with the white walls.

Inside the Stealth Studio Van

He keeps his dress shirts, sport coats, and footwear in a pull-out closet under his bed. To keep his gadgets, cables, and electronics out of sight, Jason placed another box near the loft area.

Because Jason cooks a lot, his kitchen has a lot of counter space and easy access to his favorite appliances. Additionally, he has a small fridge, a microwave, an induction cooktop, and a deep sink.

Jason’s workspace is located on the backside of the Stealth Studio. A big desk holds his laptop, keyboard, small fan, and organizer.

If Jason needs to cool down the space, he runs a portable air conditioner for short periods.

Additionally, the van has a composting toilet and a real shower.

Having an apartment on wheels gives Jason a lot of flexibility and allows him to keep his expenses low.

My biggest lesson is to figure out what your needs are and design your build around them. This lifestyle has its advantages. Consider your goals, what you want to achieve, where you want to be, and then build a plan that works for you,” he said.

Watch the video below to see Jason’s fabulous Stealth Studio.

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  1. Jason – This is amazing! Congratulations on your ingenuity, and good luck with grad school. If I ever lost my husband I would sell our house, build one of these, and travel between my daughters. I’m a writer and an introvert, so it would be ideal!