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Considering purchasing an Elite II several years before retirement, with initial use being one to two week camping trips and the hope that longer trips will become possible if my job eventually agrees to extended periods of remote work.   For retirement, we plan on taking trips of several months duration with lots of Boondocking in national forests and BLM sites, including the possibility of full timing for a couple of years.  

Currently not liking the fact that Oliver is no longer honoring requests for some customization, but am happy to see that they are now offering an upgrade lithium iron phosphate batteries.  I would love to see Oliver offer options for:

   1.    an efficient 2-way DC/AC refrigerator that doesn’t require the the two large outside vents;

   2.  replacing the current furnace and hot water options with a Truma Combi;

   3.   awning style windows like the Arctic Tern windows; and

    4.  an AC delete where the Maxxair fan is installed in the  standard AC opening location and with the standard opening for the Maxxair fan not cut out, which would open up roof space for at least one additional solar panel.

If the Omni-Directional antenna option isn’t selected, option 4 from above might even allow for another solar panel in front or an additional Maxxair fan in the front over the bathroom door swing if all the solar panels were mounted to extend laterally rather than longitudinally.   Lots of people using two Maxxair fans rather than an AC in converted vans.

I have spent a lot of time reading threads here and really appreciate all the information and the helpful attitude exhibited in this forum.  Because I see the potential to convert the side dinette seating area to an additional storage closet, I am curious how much current owners are using the side dinette seating rather than just using the seating provided in the rear area, especially for those who have the twin bed layout. 

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37 minutes ago, Norman said:

Because I see the potential to convert the side dinette seating area to an additional storage closet, I am curious how much current owners are using the side dinette seating rather than just using the seating provided in the rear area, especially for those who have the twin bed layout. 

We have the twin bed and we use the side dinette a lot.  The twin beds serve as “recliners”, especially for reading and on the rare occasion we watch TV.

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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 Laramie 6.7L Cummins Diesel

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55 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

We have the twin bed and we use the side dinette a lot.  The twin beds serve as “recliners”, especially for reading and on the rare occasion we watch TV.

Thanks for the response.  Do you have a Lagun table set-up for the twin bed area?  I am wondering what factors encourage you to use the side dinette rather than the rear area.  

I appreciate the “rare occasion” for the TV.  If we ordered a new Elite II, I would strongly lean toward asking Oliver to forego the installation of all the audio and video features, especially if they would credit us with the cost savings on the equipment that isn’t installed.

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Posted (edited)

Before I installed our Lagun table and swapped out mattresses for cushions, we used the dinette all the time.  Now we rarely use it.  I would love for Oliver to make a fiber granite countertop that could be fitted to span all the way from the pantry to the bath, but I'm not holding my breath.  But something else could be made to go in that spot, with storage underneath.  The space could even be used for an additional fridge or freezer.  

If you haven't seen this thread, it might help you envision what is possible with the solar.  Oliver won't do any of it unfortunately, but I have no doubt that someone skilled could retrofit it.  I'm considering reorienting my panels to add another narrow panel, for 720w total.  That' would be a distant project if it were toe ver happen.  I'm actually quite happy with it as it is.  We also have a member who is working on a tracking rig for the standard solar package.  No idea where that stands but you can read about it here.

Edited by Overland

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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2 hours ago, Norman said:

.  Because I see the potential to convert the side dinette seating area to an additional storage closet, I am curious how much current owners are using the side dinette seating rather than just using the seating provided in the rear area, especially for those who have the twin bed layout. 

We plan to configure the dinette area as a sofa when not used for eating.  We eat a lot outdoors and for two people, I can see a need for two sitting areas.  Also, if you plan to work on the road, the dinette will make a fine office.

As for storage, we had the pleasure of seeing an Oliver in person this past week.  I was amazed at how much storage there is; not sure I would like to Full-time, but for extended periods, with some creative storage solutions, it would be great.

We will choose the storage cabinet in lieu of a microwave or MW/convection oven and take along our Breville Mini-Smart toaster oven.  If you don't already have a tow vehicle, consider a crew-cab pickup with rear seats that fold flat; these could easily be transformed into organized storage.  Otherwise, a pickup with canopy and pullout trays.

Ray and Susan Huff

Elite II Twin "Pearl" - Hull#699; taking delivery December 7, 2020

2013 F350 3.2l diesel Super Duty 4x4 long bed crew cab

2017 Leisure Travel Van Unity Twin Bed (sold)

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1 hour ago, Overland said:

Before I installed our Lagun table and swapped out mattresses for cushions, we used the dinette all the time.  Now we rarely use it.

Thanks for the insight, which tends to validate my thinking that if the twin beds are configured to be “sit friendly” and if there is a Lagun table, there may be little practice reason to use the side dinette for seating.

Quote

 I would love for Oliver to make a fiber granite countertop that could be fitted to span all the way from the pantry to the bath, but I'm not holding my breath.  But something else could be made to go in that spot, with storage underneath.

You have expressed several of my ideas for that space.  The additional counter space could prove useful/convenient.

Quote

If you haven't seen this thread, it might help you envision what is possible with the solar.  

  It was the middle diagram below from that thread that gave me the idea that we could eliminate the AC and move the MaxAir fan to the AC location to allow room for at least third panel and another MaxAir fan in the front, or for at least four full sized panels if we didn’t add a MaxAir fan in the front.   I am not certain that Oliver provides the structure for attaching the panels at each of the locations I imagine.

ovqtm51vrfsvxstrdf4stncj4m37qsz5.jpg

Quote

We also have a member who is working on a tracking rig for the standard solar package.  No idea where that stands but you can read about it here.

Thanks, I hadn’t seen that thread.  Looks interesting and I hope they can make a go of producing a commercial product.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Norman said:

Thanks for the response.  Do you have a Lagun table set-up for the twin bed area?  I am wondering what factors encourage you to use the side dinette rather than the rear area.  

I appreciate the “rare occasion” for the TV.  If we ordered a new Elite II, I would strongly lean toward asking Oliver to forego the installation of all the audio and video features, especially if they would credit us with the cost savings on the equipment that isn’t installed.

We don’t have the Lagun table.  It wasn’t available in 2015 and we’ve grown accustomed to our current set up.  Since we have mattresses we don’t sit on the beds to eat or do computer work.  Eating and computer work is done at the dinette, or more usually, outside.  When we read we often use pillows on the bed to form rather comfortable “recliners”.  I installed a Sirius/XM receiver that runs through our Furrion so we can get all of our news/weather/music through the speakers.  We rarely turn on the TV except for an occasional DVD.  I’ve thought about removing it all together.  Mike

Edited by Mike and Carol
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Mike and Carol | Fair Oaks Ranch, TX | 2016 Elite II #135 | 2020 Ram 2500 Laramie 6.7L Cummins Diesel

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1 hour ago, Susan Huff said:

We plan to configure the dinette area as a sofa when not used for eating.  We eat a lot outdoors and for two people, I can see a need for two sitting areas.  Also, if you plan to work on the road, the dinette will make a fine office.

Thanks.  I do worry that if we both want to be using a table surface for something at the same time, one sitting area won’t be enough. Very good point about working on the road.  I am hoping that I can eventually work remote, and I will need some dedicated table and sitting space for most or all of each work day.  

 

1 hour ago, Susan Huff said:

As for storage, we had the pleasure of seeing an Oliver in person this past week.  I was amazed at how much storage there is; not sure I would like to Full-time, but for extended periods, with some creative storage solutions, it would be great.

We will choose the storage cabinet in lieu of a microwave or MW/convection oven and take along our Breville Mini-Smart toaster oven.  If you don't already have a tow vehicle, consider a crew-cab pickup with rear seats that fold flat; these could easily be transformed

I may be over estimating our storage needs and underestimating the available storage in the Elite II.  I have to keep in mind that we will also have room in our tow vehicle for storage.   I like the option for the storage cabinet instead of the microwave, even though for our current life style we use our microwave all of the time. 

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10 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

We don’t have the Lagan table.  It wasn’t available in 2015 and we’ve grown accustomed to our current set up.  Since we have mattresses we don’t sit on the beds to eat or do computer work.  Eating and computer work is done at the dinette, or more usually, outside.

Thanks for the additional info.  I was wondering if mattresses would make the twin beds less useful for sitting.   We will want comfortable beds and do not want to have to change between a day and night configuration for the twin beds.

 

16 minutes ago, Mike and Carol said:

 I installed a Sirius/XM receiver that runs through our Furrion so we can get all of our news/weather/music through the speakers.  We rarely turn on the TV except for an occasional DVD.  I’ve thought about removing it all together.  

I could see keeping the Furrion and the speakers and using them just like you with a Sirius/XM receiver.  I just think the TV takes up a lot of room and we will have IPads and laptops that we can use for video.  

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9 minutes ago, Norman said:

may be over estimating our storage needs and underestimating the available storage in the Elite II.  I have to keep in mind that we will also have room in our tow vehicle for storage.   I like the option for the storage cabinet instead of the microwave, even though for our current life style we use our microwave all of the time. 

That really depends on how much stuff you have to carry for a pleasant trip, and, for working remotely. 

My husband and I removed the microwave in our older Elite I a year or so ago when we installed a 12v danfoss/secop fridge. The cabinet gives us a nice food storage area.

Since then, I  often have a few empty cabinets in the trailer when we travel, and the Elite I has far less storage than the II.

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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3 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

That really depends on how much stuff you have to carry for a pleasant trip, and, for working remotely.

I am used to lightweight backpacking and canoe trips, so I don’t require much other than being outside to have a pleasant trip but my wife is going to want more of the “comforts of home”.  Working remotely would add the need for file storage, a printer, office equipment and supplies, and at least one monitor in addition to supplement my laptop. 

13 minutes ago, SeaDawg said:

My husband and I removed the microwave in our older Elite I a year or so ago when we installed a 12v danfoss/secop fridge. The cabinet gives us a nice food storage area.

Since then, I  often have a few empty cabinets in the trailer when we travel, and the Elite I has far less storage than the II.

I have read about your fridge install and wish that was a standard option from Oliver.  The storage cabinet (in place of the microwave) does look like it adds a lot of additional food storage.  If the Elite I had the same interior height and width as the Elite II, I would strongly consider it for all of our uses except for full timing.  I am about 6’2”, so I worry that the interior height of the Elite I would become a “pain in the neck” for anything more than a week at a time.

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We eliminated both the stereo and TV when we did our build. I don’t know if Oliver still allows that. I later installed a Sonos Beam above the nightstand and recently purchased a Sonos Move to go along with it. Its a great combo and I love the Beam, but if the Move had been available when I bought the beam, I’d just have bought the Move - or maybe two, for music inside and out. 

I doubt if Oliver will be willing to move the fan for you, but of course there’s no harm in asking. I’d hoped that after they got their production line working smoothly that they start offering customizations again, but they seem set on eliminating choices where possible. 

I wouldn’t be too worried about where Oliver puts the solar mounts. Other owners have had good luck installing panels with VHB tape and I think that or rivet nuts will give you whatever flexibility you need. 

Snowball • 256 • 2018 Ford Raptor

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1 hour ago, Overland said:

We eliminated both the stereo and TV when we did our build. I don’t know if Oliver still allows that. I later installed a Sonos Beam above the nightstand and recently purchased a Sonos Move to go along with it. Its a great combo and I love the Beam, but if the Move had been available when I bought the beam, I’d just have bought the Move - or maybe two, for music inside and out. 

The Sonos equipment is exactly what I was thinking about using.  Some friends have it in their house and it provides great sound.

 

1 hour ago, Overland said:

I doubt if Oliver will be willing to move the fan for you, but of course there’s no harm in asking. I’d hoped that after they got their production line working smoothly that they start offering customizations again, but they seem set on eliminating choices where possible. 

Seems so easy for Oliver not to cut an opening and install the MaxAir fan into an opening they were already going to cut.  Oliver isn’t hurting for sales, so they simply may not be willing to provide what seems like a simple request.   The customization Oliver provided early on was a real win-win for the buyers and for Oliver. 

 

1 hour ago, Overland said:

I wouldn’t be too worried about where Oliver puts the solar mounts. Other owners have had good luck installing panels with VHB tape and I think that or rivet nuts will give you whatever flexibility you need

Thanks, this is good to hear.

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3 hours ago, Norman said:

I have read about your fridge install and wish that was a standard option from Oliver.  The storage cabinet (in place of the microwave) does look like it adds a lot of additional food storage.  If the Elite I had the same interior height and width as the Elite II, I would strongly consider it for all of our uses except for full timing.  I am about 6’2”, so I worry that the interior height of the Elite I would become a “pain in the neck” for anything more than a week at a time.

I agree. 

The more people who ask, the more likely Oliver is to include the 12v Danfoss/secop as an option. Our Indel/truckfridge has been an awesome replacement. .

As far as an Elite I first a tall person, it could be problematic.  Especially the bathroom. The bed is long enough, but it's more a full than a queen size. 

Sherry

2008 Ram 1500 4 × 4

2008 Oliver Elite, Hull #12
 

 

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Som

13 hours ago, Norman said:

...Because I see the potential to convert the side dinette seating area to an additional storage closet, I am curious how much current owners are using the side dinette seating rather than just using the seating provided in the rear area, especially for those who have the twin bed layout. 

Over 80% of the Elite II's sold are the twin bed models. I would expect that there is a great amount of usage of the side dinette.

Steve, Tali and the dogs: Reacher, Lucy and Rocky plus our beloved Storm and Maggie (both waiting at the Rainbow Bridge) 2008 Legacy Elite I - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0026 2014 Legacy Elite II - Outlaw Oliver, HULL NUMBER: 0050 2017 Silverado High Country 2500HD Diesel 4x4 

 

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16 hours ago, Norman said:

   1.    an efficient 2-way DC/AC refrigerator that doesn’t require the the two large outside vents;

   2.  replacing the current furnace and hot water options with a Truma Combi;

   3.   awning style windows like the Arctic Tern windows; and

    4.  an AC delete where the Maxxair fan is installed in the  standard AC opening location and with the standard opening for the Maxxair fan not cut out, which would open up roof space for at least one additional solar panel.

1: Agree

2: Not sure the Truma Combi really gets us that much of a win, other than a little less space.  

3. Those look worse than the double pane glass for insulation, but probably better for keeping water out

4. I'm a fan of tidying up the roof, but I still want an AC.  For me a minisplit either ductless or ducted checks these boxes.  Then ideally a max air (or similar) can be installed without the need for a hood, under solar panels above the roof, forming an attic.  So the MaxAir and bathroom fan (which if we are doing all this trouble will be updated to something quieter than my Duramax) will both pull air from the solar panel "attic".  The Zamp Obsidian are 7'3" if you take two 100W panels end to end - so just wide enough to make a little overhang and keep rain off of the awnings, windows and roof.  over 18 feet, you could fit 10 of those 200W pairs.  2000W of Solar, no more gunk stuck behind the awnings, no more rain sounds on the max air hood, maybe even keep the rain off the windows, no more turbine sounding AC, and the ability to make 10kWh of electricity a day in the PNW.

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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13 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

The more people who ask, the more likely Oliver is to include the 12v Danfoss/secop as an option.

I am very surprised that they don’t already do this.  They have an opening that will fit a couple of nice models that offer more interior volume than Oliver’s current offerings and Oliver can avoid cutting two openings into the side of the shell, which then avoids all the stuff that can come into those openings.  To be honest, I think there is a good argument that a 12v Danfoss/secop should be offered in the standard set-up, with the 3-way being offered as the option.

 

13 hours ago, SeaDawg said:

As far as an Elite I first a tall person, it could be problematic.  Especially the bathroom.

Thanks for this insight.  I am attracted to the shorter length and lighter weight of the Elite I, but don’t like the idea of having to be continuously stooped over when inside. 

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10 hours ago, ScubaRx said:

Over 80% of the Elite II's sold are the twin bed models. I would expect that there is a great amount of usage of the side dinette.

I think this is somewhat confirmed by the lack of modifications posted in this forum that eliminate the seating in favor of storage or some other use.  There has been a lot of useful creativity displayed in the posts here when it comes to modifications, but I can’t find anything like what I have suggested.

Edited by Norman
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, WhatDa said:

2: Not sure the Truma Combi really gets us that much of a win, other than a little less space.  

The additional space that it would open up is one of the big attractions for me.  I am thinking it might open-up enough room to add the evaporator and compressor of a mini-split dc air conditioner.  

 

6 hours ago, WhatDa said:

3. Those look worse than the double pane glass for insulation, but probably better for keeping water out

FWIW, the Arctic Tern windows are double pane acrylic, which does provide insulation but the acrylic scratches easier than glass.  There is at least one brand of double pane glass awning windows offered in Europe that is similar in design to the Arctic Tern window, but I believe they are pretty pricey.  The reviews I have read of the Arctic Tern indicate that they do a very good job of keeping water out when open, PLUS I haven’t read of the leaking problems that some here have experienced with the current windows offered by Oliver.  The attraction for me is the ability to keep the window open while it is raining.

Quote

I'm a fan of tidying up the roof, but I still want an AC.  For me a minisplit either ductless or ducted checks these boxes.

I could get by without the AC because our plan would be to mostly follow mild weather, but my wife would be less willing to suffer the occasional stay in an area where the temperature stays high all day, especially if there is also high humidity.

I think a mini split with the evaporator located in the space currently occupied by the furnace and water heater (assuming a Truma Combi would allow the room) could be ducted into the existing ducts, or perhaps a duct could be added that runs up higher to duct out of the rear sides of the nightstand between the twin beds. 

6 hours ago, WhatDa said:

Then ideally a max air (or similar) can be installed without the need for a hood, under solar panels above the roof, forming an attic.  So the MaxAir and bathroom fan (which if we are doing all this trouble will be updated to something quieter than my Duramax) will both pull air from the solar panel "attic". 

That is an interesting idea.  I hadn’t considered the possibility of mounting a panel over the MaxAir fan so that the hood wouldn’t be required for operating during rainstorms. That would allow for me to just ask Oliver to not install the AC and to not cut the opening for the AC while keeping the MaxAir fan in the standard position, which seems like an easy option for them to provide.

Quote

The Zamp Obsidian are 7'3" if you take two 100W panels end to end - so just wide enough to make a little overhang and keep rain off of the awnings, windows and roof.  over 18 feet, you could fit 10 of those 200W pairs.  2000W of Solar, no more gunk stuck behind the awnings, no more rain sounds on the max air hood, maybe even keep the rain off the windows, no more turbine sounding AC, and the ability to make 10kWh of electricity a day in the PNW.

That is a lot of solar!  I would want to see what the overhand looks like.   

Edited by Norman
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yeah, 7'3 wouldn't overhang much, if at all if you peak/slant the roof. 

Also on remote work from the Ollie: I ditched the extra monitor as I was tired of finding a place for it when not in use.  But I did upgrade to the Surface Laptop 15" which has a 3:2 screen vs the 16:9 screen.  Matebooks and MacBooks also have similar aspect ratios.  In the office and home, I have two 27" monitors, and while it'd be nice to have the same in the Oliver, the 15" 3:2 screen works well enough that my productivity doesn't suffer anything measurable.  

If I did add a monitor again, I'd have it replace the TV on some sort of quick detach mount that I could put on the table.

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, WhatDa said:

lso on remote work from the Ollie: I ditched the extra monitor as I was tired of finding a place for it when not in use.  But I did upgrade to the Surface Laptop 15" which has a 3:2 screen vs the 16:9 screen.  Matebooks and MacBooks also have similar aspect ratios.  In the office and home, I have two 27" monitors, and while it'd be nice to have the same in the Oliver, the 15" 3:2 screen works well enough that my productivity doesn't suffer anything measurable.

I appreciate you sharing your experience on remote work.  For years I only used a small laptop at work, but in the last year I started using two 27” monitors plus my laptop and found that I really like the extra monitors.  I don’t think I would want to make room in the Elite II for even just one standard 27” monitor, but was thinking I might be able to either use a thin portable 15” monitor similar to the one in this link:  Portable Monitor Display

Edited by Norman
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With just the laptops now, we've been just using the dinette for work.  I have about 7.5" between my laptop and the shade -- so if I got a portable monitor I'd look for something that can be easily setup in the vertical orientation.  If MacOS sidecar worked in portrait mode, I'd probably be rocking a 15" Macbook pro and iPad Pro for that setup.

2019 LE2 #529.   Standard Floorplan.

2020 GMC Sierra 2500 Duramax

 

 

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Just wondering if you have thought about hanging a monitor under the attic like the television and using a Lagun table as a laptop desk?  Seating could be a challenge depending on how long you had to work each day.  Something like a bar stool in the aisle might work.

As you can see from my pre-retirement workstation, I did like a lot of monitor real estate.

Mossey

AD393684-AB7F-4700-B766-03A61B05AD39.thumb.jpeg.02df867348b487de085ab9d4889123fe.jpeg

 

 

Edited by mossemi
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Mike and Krunch   Lutz, FL   LEII #193 “the dog house”

 

 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, WhatDa said:

With just the laptops now, we've been just using the dinette for work.  I have about 7.5" between my laptop and the shade -- so if I got a portable monitor I'd look for something that can be easily setup in the vertical orientation.  If MacOS sidecar worked in portrait mode, I'd probably be rocking a 15" Macbook pro and iPad Pro for that setup.

One of the main reasons I want an additional monitor is so that it can be setup in a vertical orientation because it really helps with the material I creat and review on-line.  I use an iPad Pro and MacBook for personal stuff, but work prefers windows systems.  

Edited by Norman
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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, mossemi said:

Just wondering if you have thought about hanging a monitor under the attic like the television and using a Lagun table as a laptop desk?  Seating could be a challenge depending on how long you had to work each day.  Something like a bar stool in the aisle might work.

I was actually planning on using the Lagun table as a laptop desk, at least until I got all the feedback on how handy some people found the side dinette.  I was hoping to delete the TV and not have anything hanging from the attic.   If we don’t attempt to convert the side dinette into a additional storage, I think that area would make a better location for my work station since I tend to be an earlier riser than my wife and like working in the morning.  

Quote

As you can see from my pre-retirement workstation, I did liked a lot of monitor real estate.

Mossey

AD393684-AB7F-4700-B766-03A61B05AD39.thumb.jpeg.02df867348b487de085ab9d4889123fe.jpeg

LOL, I guess sometimes more is better.   That set-up would require an extra Elite I as an additional TT.  

Edited by Norman
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