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Old 02-02-2015, 08:55 PM   #1
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Considering living FT in 23' International FB during house remodel

Hello,

So this is my first post, I wanted to bounce some ideas off other forum members.

My Wife and I (+dogs) live in a 1920 bungalow that's in need of an interior renovation. The outside is all finished up looking beautiful, but I can't delay the inevitable, I hate the raunchy kitchen, bathroom, no insulation, bad electrical, etc, etc. This would include all new electrical, mechanical, plumping, kitchen & bath on the main + renovated basement to include an additional bedroom and bathroom. All down to the studs w/ new insulation.

The only way we can get a good deal is if we do all of the major down to the studs infrastructure at once. The thought is the GC picks up all that stuff and I build out the interior after drywall is in. I'm perfectly capable of doing the work having built houses before, the problem is where to live while doing so.

The rental market here in portland really sucks. I haven't really been able to find anything that would take both dogs and be easy to get back and forth to our jobs.

So I was thinking about getting an airstream and living in it w/ my wife (maybe dog can come in...) while we do this process, maybe 6-9 months starting in march after winter peels back here in PDX.

A few questions:

1. I found a sweet used 2013 23' international FB CCD here in PDX. It looks clean, is 47K a fair price?
2. Anything I need to be aware of for parking on the street in front of my house occasionally? I plan to get a permit for the 40' of frontage for construction and loading throughout the process. Maybe its as simple as telling neighbors a 23' RV will be parked there occasionally?
3. Are there any good RV parks around portland where we can hide out and enjoy a full hook up if we choose? Im looking for clean, no tweakers, etc.
4. Is this crazy? Has anyone else done this?
5. How long can I hold out before the dogs get let in? Does it hurt resale?
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:21 PM   #2
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Well, I can't help you with any of the site specific questions but I will tell you that my wife and I spend 6 months a year in our 31' Sovereign, about 5 of those months with it parked at our Summer job location.

We have been happily married a long time and are well adapted to Airstream life but 31' of trailer starts to get a little tight after about month 4. There is just no private space.

In a 23', space will be very tight. When you are both home, doing anything (cleaning, dishes, dressing, morning routine...) will be a group effort. If you both have a healthy sense of humor, don't stress out about the small stuff and have an end date you can look forward to, it certainly can be done.

We have found that we can "reset the clock" by getting underway, even if only for a few days. Something about being on the road just melts away any "cabin fever".

Enjoy the journey,

Mike
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Old 02-02-2015, 09:45 PM   #3
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We've done something similar but wouldn't recommend it, there are a lot cheaper RV's than Airstream and you will probably end up in trouble with zoning and neighbors. If you need to live off-site rent something, a lot cheaper.

It is better in every way to live on-site, you'll get more done with more convenience for less money. Finish the basement now to include a really basic kitchenette as well as the bedroom and bath you plan for it. Then move into it and rip out the rest of the house. Check zoning and planning regulations to see how it might be done. Look for the guy who can tell you how to do it, and stay away from the guy who tells you all the reasons you can't.
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Old 02-02-2015, 10:03 PM   #4
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I don't think we can live here while we do the renovation. every system is going to be replaced and the whole house is getting reworked. I dont want to open it back up over and over as we cycle from basement to main floor.

Sure there are more inexpensive trailer options, but i want to hold this one for a long time and enjoy it later on.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:07 PM   #5
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Having redone a number of houses I can say that if you cannot park the TT at the house then you'll be traveling to a storage unit daily as well. I will say that a full sized van is as useful if not more. Rent a pickup from somewhere when you need it at $20, but the can van will be a great addition to an old house re do. Never a lack of need for it.
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:46 PM   #6
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Were a two truck household, so plenty of options there. All good points. What about the price on this used trailer? Is there a better way to judge value?
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Old 02-02-2015, 11:48 PM   #7
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What ever you come up with you'll need a place to stay check out Oregon Campgrounds, Cabins & RV Parks - OR Camping Directory

We've stayed at Roamers Rest in the past and Columbia River RV park.

23' ? How big are the dogs ? The floor plan is everything ! We have a 25' with a modified floor plan and we would have to be highly motivated to live in it for 9 months.
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:34 AM   #8
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Not very relavent, but for convenience I would consider adding an electric heating element to your hot water tank, if it doesn't already have it. That will allow you to have one less thing to mess with, i.e. won't have to be buying propane or be concerned about running out of propane to have hot water. I installed a "Hott Shot" electric element in my hot water tank such that when I have full hookups I use electricity to heat the water instead of propane (the Hott Shot replaces the drain plug on the water heater).
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:36 AM   #9
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We lived in our 34' Ltd for 10 mos a couple of years ago, with a Doberman (inside, of course!), and had absolutely no problems. However, it's much larger than a 23'.

I don't know the size of the waste tanks of the A/S you are considering, but if you park onsite at your home (the best option for overseeing/working on your house), you will have to hitch up and pull off to a dump station fairly often. That's a major nuisance, IMO. But if your local regs allow you to park in your driveway, for example, maybe you can rig a water hose (if not all water is shut off during the renovation) and use a blue boy to empty your tanks into your sewer clean-out, hopefully your house has one already!

To conserve tank space, we have also used the YMCA for showers in a couple of cities; their usefulness may depend on their distance from your home.

Parking an A/S at home is a great way of saving $$, being onsite for answering questions from workers, and being close for doing work yourself.

We are also presently renovating a 1930 bungalow, so I feel your pain!

Best wishes for the success of your project and finding a way to do it more economically!

Vivian
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Old 02-03-2015, 11:49 AM   #10
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Just sent you a PM regarding a 34' one for sale across the river in Vancouver.
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Old 02-04-2015, 10:10 PM   #11
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Go for that 34'! You will never regret it. You can even use it as an extra residence for visitors once you are back in your house, and of course for great vacations, too.

Your dogs will have plenty of room, and if you and your wife need a little "apartness," you can be in one end and your wife in the other: both comfortable but somewhat alone.

When we spent the 10 mos in ours, our Dobie was only 6 mos old at the outset, so full of energy he could hardly be still. He would run the length of the trailer, bounce off the couch, run again, bounce off the nightstand, over and over and over. We all--including the trailer--survived the 10 mos very happily. You need the 34'!

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Old 02-07-2015, 06:52 AM   #12
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Bigger is better in many cases. We full time in our 30' Classic, with our dog. We cheat on that, as she is a mini dachshund. If a marriage can survive a house remodel, and living in a travel trailer, then it is a solid relationship, regardless of the trailer length.... But, if you can afford, money and space, a longer rig, it will be better in the long run.


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Old 02-07-2015, 07:10 AM   #13
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It can certainly be done.

I lived in my 27' Overlander for two years while I completely gutted and refurbished my 30's bungalow. All 589 square feet of it. I was able to park my Airstream in the back yard, hook up to the well and septic, and had a 30amp line. I did it alone in my trailer and loved it. However, I was still working full time and renovating the house myself, so the time in the trailer was mostly sleeping, relaxing after a long day, meals, and an occasional weekend off to relax. All the comforts of home, right behind my home. I was actually kind of sad when I finished the house and moved in because life in the trailer was so easy.

Local zoning will dictate if you can park on the property and live in it. My house is in an out of the way place and I had the trailer tucked in behind the house, so no problems there.

This is an after pic of the almost completed house. You can see my trailer parked in the back. After some moving around I am back to living in the house. Small house living is great. Good practice for full time Airstreaming.
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Old 02-07-2015, 07:22 AM   #14
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Just curious, is there a reason why the sewer vent is on the outside rather than inside a wall? The house and Airstream do look very nice.


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