A Retired Couple Transformed a Run Down Semitrailer Into a "Monster" Mobile Home Over the Course of Five Years and $180k

A Retired Couple Transformed a Run Down Semitrailer Into a Monster Mobile Home Over Five Years and $180k

When Clayton Balabanov and Theresa Balabanov retired, they wanted to travel, but they couldn’t locate a mobile home to buy that met their needs. As retirement age drew near, Clayton Balabanov made the decision to pursue his lifelong goal of traveling.

He imagined himself and his wife Theresa traveling the beautiful roadways of the US and Canada in their golden years. So he first had to purchase a mobile house. Balabanov claimed he was unable to locate anything suitable on the market. He said (According to Yahoo)

“I was not happy with the manufacturers’ units. They just didn’t seem like they would stand up to the year-round use, rather than just vacation use.”

So the pair made the decision to construct their own. They intended to transform an old semitruck into a roomy, environmentally friendly home-on-wheels. Balabanov aimed to convert a semitrailer into a residence that would be just as cozy as their Vancouver Island, Canada home.

Yet there was still one more important prerequisite: it had to be sustainable. He said (as reported by Yahoo)

“We needed solar, recycling water, and things like that, which would leave a smaller carbon footprint, making up for the amount of fuel that the truck uses.” 

A Retired Couple Transformed a Run Down Semitrailer Into a "Monster" Mobile Home Over the Course of Five Years and $180k
A Retired Couple Transformed a Run Down Semitrailer Into a “Monster” Mobile Home Over the Course of Five Years and $180k

Balabanov began repairing a “real wreck” of a truck he had purchased five years prior. On eBay, he also purchased a trailer. Balabanov said he couldn’t afford to buy a brand-new truck. He said (Reported by Insider)

“So, I bought an older one and then spent the next year rebuilding it. Brakes and engine, and all that sort of stuff.”

Also, he purchased a pre-owned trailer on eBay that was essentially a blank canvas for his ideas. Balabanov said (as reported by Yahoo)

“It was empty, and I just decided to go at it. I planned things out on a whiteboard and kept making changes. As I built, things changed as well.”

The semitrailer needed a lot of time and work to be converted into a livable place, in part because the couple undertook the majority of the work themselves. Balabanov worked on the conversion for hours almost every day for five years. “Most of it I did myself,” he said. He even sewed the curtains himself.

Balabanov said that given it was a unique build, it would have been too much work to find someone who understood his vision. “It would take longer to explain it than to actually do it.” He claimed that Theresa was in charge of acquiring the supplies, which was particularly difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Also, it wasn’t cheap. Balabanov calculates the price to be close to $180,000. Although he has not yet performed a computation and gone through his numerous boxes of receipts, Balabanov claimed he is unable to provide a precise figure for the cost of the construction.

Yet, he provided a ballpark figure of $250,000 Canadian. In US dollars, that amounts to $181,126. By including a couch area and kitchenette, the pair started to make the truck feel more like a home. The kitchenette features a microwave and a refrigerator, and the loft bed is located above the seating area.

Then they started creating a space-saving spiral staircase for the camper. The trailer includes a living area, kitchen, garage, bedroom, library, and bathroom in addition to various more rooms. Moreover, it includes what appears to be a majestic spiral staircase that ascends to the second floor.

Balabanov said:

“It looks awesome and it takes up less space than if I put regular stairs in.”

Balabanov quipped that the couple built a full kitchen since they couldn’t get by on beans on toast any more. All common household gadgets, including induction burners powered by solar energy, are present in the modern kitchen.

A “movie theater” was also constructed by Balabanov within the trailer. To access streaming services, the pair utilizes Starlink. A 75-inch 4K TV and surround sound are featured in the small room. The couple can access Netflix and Amazon Prime material even in remote locations thanks to Elon Musk’s SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service.

Balabanov said (According to Yahoo)

“It’s so we can relax in the evening and have a nice movie for entertainmen.” 

Theresa Balabanov reads much in the library space. Theresa has already made excellent use of the onboard reading area, which consists of a chair and bookcase towards the top of the staircase, she has read 42 volumes since they moved into their semitrailer home in late September 2022.

Balabanov said:

“Theresa likes books, she decided that that’s going to be her main entertainment.” 

A hot tub is also put on the semi-trailer. A jetted tub is located in the bathroom’s sunken area. The pair has welcomed guests in their dining room and cooked for them. Although the dining area isn’t especially large, Balabanov said it serves its purpose. He said (as reported by Yahoo)

“We had people over for tea… I think three people were sitting there, and I normally just sit on the stairs, which is right next to the dining room table, so I’m in the conversation.”

In addition to being a terrific opportunity to meet other nomads, hosting dinner guests is a “good community activity,” according to Balabanov. During their inaugural trip, though, a lot of things went wrong, so it hasn’t all been smooth sailing.

The pair has encountered issues with the solar batteries, melting wiring, and roof leaks. The pair described how an upper radiator hose burst when they were in Nebraska in a YouTube video from late October. Balabanov admitted that he might have regretted devoting so much time to the truck.

Balabanov stated he may have regretted spending so much time creating it after thinking back on the process. Anyone considering doing the same should be less ambitious than he was, he would suggest.

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The major piece of advise from Balabanov to individuals wishing to convert a semitruck into a residence is to “start small and develop.” Only individuals who are “exceptionally skilled” and in possession of a lot of equipment, he claimed, should consider building their own. He said ( as reported Yahoo)

“It just takes a lot of time out of your life.” 

Yet, the pair claims they are overjoyed to be touring the continent in their “Nomad Monster” residence. The Balabanovs had long-term plans to remain in their semitruck home because they sold their family residence and their taxi company.

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