Radio Days: Putting the ‘Home’ in Class B Motorhome
Behind every ARV van is a client with a vision and a team of craftspeople breathing life into it. It’s this relationship that makes our motor homes truly custom. It’s this trust that allows space for creativity and innovation to flourish. It’s what makes an RV a home.
Greg, owner of Radio Days, recently visited Advanced RV with a few projects in mind for our cabinetry shop, including a new cup holder and storage for underneath his bed. His instructions were simple: make it functional, and make it beautiful.
Rob, Advanced RV’s Cabinetry Team Leader, crafted a piece that not only included a cell phone slot, wide-based cup holder, and a loose change collector–it also carried the textures and theme seen throughout the coach up into the cab area.
“It’s fun when clients come in with ideas. It’s fun to make them happy; it’s rewarding,” said Rob.
This innovation wasn’t Greg and Rob’s first collaboration, either. They began envisioning Radio Days together in July 2017. Rob asked how Greg wanted to travel, what was most important to him, what his interests were. The motor home took on a few different names and identities in the beginning, but after diving deep into these questions, it’s true personality surfaced: Radio Days.
Greg has spent numerous years working in radio and has a penchant for art deco, which also peaked with the golden days of radio. He translated these two interests into a beautiful and unique theme for his custom motor home. Bold, geometric patterns in rich colors cover the seats and a cased-in recording disk makes up his dining table/headboard.
Greg describes his approach to building Radio Days: “I come up with and idea and I make it ARV’s problem.”
Luckily, we are in the business of problem solving.
“This is not a factory,” added Rob, “it’s a team of craftsmen. Everyone here excels at thinking critically and creatively about design and function. Nothing is cookie-cutter.”
When building Radio Days, Rob and his team created custom fine cabinetry that mimic the lines of the old school radio mounted on top of the wardrobe. “I drew on my experience working on high end homes,” Rob said about the design and woodworking. “The artistry and craftsmanship here is fine focused.”
Knowing that his finished coach would serve as his full-time residence, Greg wanted to make sure that it was easy to change the decor and keep the small space fresh and interesting. Armed with that vague instruction, ARV’s cabinetry team designed Radio Days’ front wardrobe so that the fabric creating the illusion of a radio speaker could be easily swapped out with something new. Greg has a picture frame on his wall that contains 8 photographs he can rotate between depending on his mood. The vintage radio mounted to his wardrobe can be replaced with a fully restored replica of his dad’s 1936 RCA that he remembers listening to Cleveland Browns’ games on as a kid.
“Sitting around and coming up with ideas—how about this? What If we do it that way?—that’s the fun stuff. The whole give and take process,” noted Greg. “I would tell new clients, you don’t have to know how to do it! Never once have I worried whether or not an idea was possible. If you just let your imagination run, that’s when the magic happens!”
Indeed, there is a certain magic one feels when they step inside Radio Days. Just ask Greg about any of the design elements or decor and you’ll understand why.
Although ARV provides hundreds of fabric and finish samples for you to peruse during your configuration, the possibilities don’t end there, and Greg found art deco prints for his upholstery and galley accents that he purchased on his own and had drop shipped to our facility. Not so keen on the Mercedes-Benz emblem on the front bumper of his Sprinter, Greg worked with our engineers to come up with a radio dial that would take its place.
On his coffee shelf you’ll find a metallic lizard, and on his upper cabinetry you’ll find two metallic stars–all knobs his wife had picked out for their hutch to replace the boring original hardware. Nostalgic salt and pepper shakers and a dough family sculpture made by his wife and son are mounted to the kitchen galley. A print out of his wife’s favorite quote and a sign reading “All roads lead home,” gifted from a friend, reside behind the driver’s seat.
“Customization is in the little things. And the little things are what make the van your own,” says Greg about these personal touches.
Rob adds that, “Our clients put passion into their design. They’re not just building a toy, they’re creating a home. The same things that go into making your house a home apply.”
Greg wholly embraced the design process for creating an ARV motor home from start to finish, and continues to partner with ARV’s engineers and craftspeople in thinking innovatively about improvements and ways to incorporate his personality and passions into his coach. Radio Days is truly one of a kind, even by our standards for customization.
Greg summed it up best when he told me, “I chose ARV when I decided I didn’t want an RV. That was the pivot point for me. I wanted more than an RV, I wanted a home. There is no RV that can be or do what Radio Days is and does.”