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Old 03-24-2018, 10:02 PM   #1
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The Greatleys Overlander Renovation

You may have seen me around the forums. I'm Dan Greatley, and my wife and I bought our 74 Overlander in July of 2015 intending to renovate it for full-time travel. I had a copy of Restoring the Dream, which led me to believe that I could complete the job in a year and we could ride off into the sunset on our honeymoon.

June 2016, we got married, and spent our month long honeymoon in our aluminum tent. We had a bed, a fridge but no propane to run it, a wood stove, and a composting toilet but no bathroom wall.

It's now March 2018 and I've nearly finished the renovation. We've been traveling for a while in various stages of completion. This is our tiny house, not a collectors item. I have thrown most everything out, rebuilt the interior to our liking, and chopped whatever holes in the shell I wanted, wherever it suited me.

Leanne and I are in our 30s, and not retired or independently wealthy. We are both digital nomads, doing our best to invest our time and resources mindfully.

Our renovation blog is at thegreatleys.com. We are @thegreatleys on Instagram.

Here are some photos of the current state of our Airstream.

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Old 03-24-2018, 10:03 PM   #2
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Old 03-24-2018, 10:22 PM   #3
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From another thread I didn't mean to hijack:


Quote:
Originally Posted by TouringDan View Post
I really like your creative redesign of your Overlander.

Is that ceramic tile on the shower walls? If so, how is it holding up traveling?

What kind of range is that? I will be redoing our 95 34’ and I would like to install a range and dishwasher in it as you have done in your Overlander.

Thanks, Dan
Yes, it's 3/8" ceramic tile attached with modified thinset. Substrate is 1/2" ply with Kerdi membrane on top and 1x2 studs for structure. It's been in for 7 months of travel so far and no signs of any issues. I'm not concerned about it. The shower enclosure is not attached to the wall very tightly. It's sort of a rigid floating box. So any flex in the trailer frame is not really transferred to the shower walls.

The range is an Atwood, the 17" model. It feels kind of chintzy, but it fit perfectly above the dishwasher and a nicer marine range wasn't in the budget. It works fine after adding a pizza stone on top of the oven rack. The stove igniter is dodgy, so I keep an aim-a-flame with my utensils.
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:26 AM   #4
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Dan, your project is well thought out and organized for what suits you two. Too many people get too aggressive on their renovation schedule and end up missing things things they wished they would have thought of. Our latest project had a two year renovation timeline, but I missed that by six or eight months. Oh well, it is what it is. Not regretting the extended timeline, just having fun. Your 74 is looking greatly. Have fun, enjoy and see you down the road. Bubba
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Old 03-25-2018, 07:29 AM   #5
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You guys have done a wonderful job of renovating in a manner that suits your needs. We've been following the blog and these additional pictures you just posted give us a good visual to add to the write ups.

We have an empty 62 Ambassador (that we camp in) that will eventually get a similar treatment to yours.

Will be saving your pictures for inspiritation.

Going to study the pictures a bit more on a bigger screen then ask some questions.
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Old 03-26-2018, 03:30 AM   #6
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I agree!! I love this. You have taken something and made it completely your own. We have gotten comments from folks wondering why are we taking everything out? Why would you do that to a vintage airstream,? Well, we bought it and we are preparing for our future ( we are 20+years older than you and Mrs, Greatly physically) lol but, want something that works for us! I can't stop showing my husband your "Home"! Would love to stay in contact with you during and after this adventure!!! You've been a great help and jumped right in to offer info on your remodel! Thank you!!
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Old 03-26-2018, 06:40 AM   #7
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the greatlys

love your re-do. I'm currently in the "what to keep, what to tear out" phase, and you have given me inspiration---I'd like a clean slate. My question is did you guys pull out the interior walls and replace insulation? Also, your kitchen cabinets and countertops are beautiful---are they custom made and what materials did you use. I love wood, but don't want to add weight to the trailer. thanks for any feedback. BTW---you two are cute as pie
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:05 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sdmezurek View Post
I agree!! I love this. You have taken something and made it completely your own. We have gotten comments from folks wondering why are we taking everything out? Why would you do that to a vintage airstream,? Well, we bought it and we are preparing for our future ( we are 20+years older than you and Mrs, Greatly physically) lol but, want something that works for us! I can't stop showing my husband your "Home"! Would love to stay in contact with you during and after this adventure!!! You've been a great help and jumped right in to offer info on your remodel! Thank you!!
Yes, exactly this! The interior was absolutely disgusting when we got it. Black vinyl upholstery and curtains, strong smell of stale cigarette smoke and mouse. It wasn't a good candidate for restoration, and a restored Airstream was not what we wanted. We wanted a tiny house that was fit to tow across the country.

Restorations are awesome. There are some folks on this forum who are doing amazing work restoring Airstreams to their original condition or a modernized version of that. This is not one of those.
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:21 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by clarezy View Post
love your re-do. I'm currently in the "what to keep, what to tear out" phase, and you have given me inspiration---I'd like a clean slate. My question is did you guys pull out the interior walls and replace insulation? Also, your kitchen cabinets and countertops are beautiful---are they custom made and what materials did you use. I love wood, but don't want to add weight to the trailer. thanks for any feedback. BTW---you two are cute as pie
Thanks! Yes, this was a full shell-off remodel. Insulation was pulled and replaced. I used reflectix loosely attached to the upper half with foam tape, then rockwool on top and everywhere else. My thinking was that anywhere the reflectix fell away would create the void needed to make it work, and anywhere it was pressed against the ceiling, it was at least as good as the same thickness of rockwool. Ribs insulated with double-stick foam tape stuck to sill gasket. There's lots of pictures of insulation and links to all the materials on the blog.

The counter is oak Ikea butcher block with matte finish wiping varnish. It weighs less than it looks, since a large percentage of it is cut out for the sink and the stove, and the long section is shallower than a standard counter. I originally wanted to use a product called Paperstone, but I didn't want to drive to the nearest distributor three states away.

The cabinets are also wood, custom made mostly from pine 1x2s, glued and pocket screwed. They're also desceptively lightweight. It's basically a face frame with a few supports, then horizontal supports attached to the wall to support the counter and drawer hardware. There isn't much to them. No bottom, no back, no sides except for the far left and right. Lots of detail on the build process of the cabinets and pantry on the blog.
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Old 03-26-2018, 07:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubba L View Post
Dan, your project is well thought out and organized for what suits you two. Too many people get too aggressive on their renovation schedule and end up missing things things they wished they would have thought of. Our latest project had a two year renovation timeline, but I missed that by six or eight months. Oh well, it is what it is. Not regretting the extended timeline, just having fun. Your 74 is looking greatly. Have fun, enjoy and see you down the road. Bubba
I was definitely disappointed at my timeline, but there's only so much you can do when you only have the weekends to work with. I spent a lot of time on the frame, subfloor, and running gear because I wanted it to be safe to tow and last for another four decades.

The honeymoon was a lot more like camping than I had hoped, but we had a nice time, and now we have a solid house to live in.

I have to say, it's been incredibly handy to have all the off-grid equipment we have. The composting toilet, the solar, the wood stove, the fridge that doesn't need AC power. We farm-sat in Kentucky for two months with no hookups, and we were fine. We're currently parked in a field, been here for a week, and we're not missing hookups at all. It was a lot of work to set up, but it's been worth it.
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Old 03-27-2018, 06:09 AM   #11
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I have to say, it's been incredibly handy to have all the off-grid equipment we have. The composting toilet, the solar, the wood stove, the fridge that doesn't need AC power. We farm-sat in Kentucky for two mQonths with no hookups, and we were fine. We're currently parked in a field, been here for a week, and we're not missing hookups at all. It was a lot of work to set up, but it's been worth it.

Mr.Greatly,. Your posts are Great!
Lol. Ok. So you stated your process is in a blog?!.. you ,your wife and AS stole.my heart at off -grid and farm!
Like I stated in an earlier post, your younger than us, and I'm so happy to see how you've chosen to live!
Without going thru previous posts, may I ask the brand of refrigerator, solar and toilet you chose? Are you in Kentucky? Has the wood stove kept it livable? What do you do for a water resource? And the solar unit is fascinating to me... I think I'm your mother or older sister from another time! There's so much we need to do to our AS when it comes back Fri. And so I don't drag this convocation on , I'll try and stay in touch via message. And if your ever in North central Ohio, let us know, we've plenty of room if you need a short stay !
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sdmezurek View Post
Mr.Greatly,. Your posts are Great!
Lol. Ok. So you stated your process is in a blog?!.. you ,your wife and AS stole.my heart at off -grid and farm!
Like I stated in an earlier post, your younger than us, and I'm so happy to see how you've chosen to live!
Without going thru previous posts, may I ask the brand of refrigerator, solar and toilet you chose? Are you in Kentucky? Has the wood stove kept it livable? What do you do for a water resource? And the solar unit is fascinating to me... I think I'm your mother or older sister from another time! There's so much we need to do to our AS when it comes back Fri. And so I don't drag this convocation on , I'll try and stay in touch via message. And if your ever in North central Ohio, let us know, we've plenty of room if you need a short stay !
The fridge is a Dometic propane/electric model. If you use one of those, I highly recommend the Fridge Fix from smartrvprodicts.com. It's a fan that circulates air across the cooling coil, which prevents frost buildup and makes the fridge work much more like a household model. If you were feeling handy, you could rig up some computer case fans to do the same thing for far less money, but the fridge fix is a nice package unit and works well.

If I had to do it again, I'd more seriously consider a DC compressor fridge, which would have been much more efficient to run off of solar.

I chose the Air Head toilet. It's very similar to the Nature's Head. Seems expensive for what it is, but works great and it means we never have to dump black water.

The wood stove has kept it toasty in here easily down to zero degree temps. We try to have hookups if we're in extreme hot or cold weather, but it's nice to have the option to heat the Airstream with no electricity at all, and without burning through our propane. And it's nicer to watch in the evenings than television.

We've been filling up the water at parks, mostly. Our last stop had a water supply. This one does not, so I'm going to be taking my jerry cans into town to find something. We had a faucet nearby when we camped on the farm in Kentucky.

The bigger issue is the gray water. Some places you can let it percolate into the ground, some places you have to dump it like black water. We have about 44 gallons of gray water storage, so if we're careful, we can go quite a while before having to dump the tanks.

The solar is all from AM solar. I put the roof combiner box in first so I could prewire everything while I had the interior skins off, and to allow easy expansion later. And because I didn't have the money for all the other stuff yet. I now have four SP100 panels (I bought the kits with the wiring and rocker mounts), and a blue sky 3024i charge controller. I think AM Solar has since switched to Victron products for their charge controllers. They were great to deal with.

I have family in Akron, so I might say hi when I'm passing through sometime.
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Old 03-27-2018, 06:39 PM   #13
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Shower tile

Can you describe the "modified thinset"? How was it modified, what brands, etc? Thank you!


Yes, it's 3/8" ceramic tile attached with modified thinset. Substrate is 1/2" ply with Kerdi membrane on top and 1x2 studs for structure. It's been in for 7 months of travel so far and no signs of any issues. I'm not concerned about it. The shower enclosure is not attached to the wall very tightly. It's sort of a rigid floating box. So any flex in the trailer frame is not really transferred to the shower walls.

The range is an Atwood, the 17" model. It feels kind of chintzy, but it fit perfectly above the dishwasher and a nicer marine range wasn't in the budget. It works fine after adding a pizza stone on top of the oven rack. The stove igniter is dodgy, so I keep an aim-a-flame with my utensils.[/QUOTE]
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Old 03-27-2018, 07:01 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DesertRat223 View Post
Can you describe the "modified thinset"? How was it modified, what brands, etc? Thank you!


Yes, it's 3/8" ceramic tile attached with modified thinset. Substrate is 1/2" ply with Kerdi membrane on top and 1x2 studs for structure. It's been in for 7 months of travel so far and no signs of any issues. I'm not concerned about it. The shower enclosure is not attached to the wall very tightly. It's sort of a rigid floating box. So any flex in the trailer frame is not really transferred to the shower walls.

The range is an Atwood, the 17" model. It feels kind of chintzy, but it fit perfectly above the dishwasher and a nicer marine range wasn't in the budget. It works fine after adding a pizza stone on top of the oven rack. The stove igniter is dodgy, so I keep an aim-a-flame with my utensils.
[/QUOTE]
Modified thinset has a polymer additive to improve performance and strength. The exact product I used was Mapei Ultraflex 2.
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