The Advanced RV Configuration Experience: Part 2
(Note: This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Click Here to read Part 1)
Arriving at Advanced RV
This was our first time visiting the Advanced RV factory. It’s nestled on a clean and green industrial street near Cleveland and is easily accessible.
We drove up, parked, and with great anticipation, rang the doorbell.
We were immediately greeted and welcomed by Tricia Eller. She cheerfully invited us to come in and let us know they were expecting us and were looking forward to our visit. She made us feel special and welcomed.
Touring The Factory
Tricia introduced us to Brittany Immormino-Paley and Rob Wick who would be our primary contacts during the Configuration. When Rob learned we hadn’t seen the factory before, he offered to give us a tour.
It’s an amazing facility. Clean and organized. You can tell the people who work here take pride in their craft, their work spaces, and the motorhomes they are custom building.
Our Unique Bed/Sofa Request
An Advanced RV customer in 2015 got the idea of putting articulating beds into his motorhome for more comfort. It’s an innovation unique to Advanced RV, as they figured out how to do it! Since then, many customers have opted for these types of beds.
We loved the articulating beds. However, we also needed a workspace large enough for our desktop computer and Mitzi’s sewing machine. The beds take up the entire back space so it seemed like we would have to give them up to have the space we needed.
Weeks earlier while we were creating our wishlist, Mitzi came up with the idea of combining an articulating bed with a love-seat sofa in the back. The love-seat sofa would fold down flat like a regular full-length sofa-bed for a complete sleeping area combined with the articulating bed, but when it was in the retracted sofa position, there would be room for a workspace!
We had no idea if this would be possible. As we walked around the factory, we explained our desired layout to Rob. He listened carefully and totally understood what we were asking for. After we finished the tour he met with several more engineers to see if they could put a design together that would work.
Later in the day he came back and reported with a big smile on his face that they could do it! We were so pleased.
The Configuration Process
Most of our time over the three days was spent with Brittany. She walked us through the entire Configuration process, documented all of our designs, and provided valuable perspectives along the way.
The best way to understand the Configuration is to see it. Here are pictures from the wonderful time we spent with Brittany and others.
Mitzi looking for a thread color to go with the UltraLeather we picked out for the furniture. Brittany is recording our choices.
The Malanah Vehicle Workbook where everything about the Configuration is recorded in detail.
Rob’s been with Advanced RV from the start and knows the build process inside and out. He works with customers during configuration to handle all the technical and engineering aspects of the design. Sometimes he likes to draft on paper, so we visited him at his drafting board to see what coolness he was cooking up.
Frank Kolasinski is an expert with the technology that goes in the motorhomes. Here he’s showing Damon where the battery pack is located, and how it’s protected.
Frank and Damon discuss the technical details of the entertainment and battery system.
Mike Griffiths visited the Configuration room to review some details of our build. He’s an expert in everything mechanical. He is also the person who placed the chassis order with Mercedes.
Brittany points out where we can put the Advanced RV branding. While some owners decide to not include it, we want the Advanced RV brand on Malanah. It represents a wonderful company built on high standards and virtues and we are proud to be part of it!
Brittany illustrates with old-fashioned pen and paper a design idea to help us visualize it better.
Mitchell Dunbar made a visit to help us make Malanah logo design decisions. He does marketing and social media for Advanced RV. Here he’s showing us examples of logos other Advanced RV owners have created to give us ideas on what we can do for Malanah.
The design center has thousands of fabrics and patterns to choose from. We went through every board on this wall, and some around the corner! We were about 30% through this wall when we found the perfect curtain fabric. Mitzi said to Damon, “We’ve got it, do you want to stop searching?” He replied, “I’m just a little curious to keep going.” Mitzi and Brittany had a good laugh. His idea worked well, as we found additional fabrics for the accent pillows 🙂
Here’s the woven fabric we found at the design center for the curtains. It was the perfect blend of the colors we had selected earlier in the Configuration room. Brittany and Mitzi were so excited when we saw it on the rack.
Mitzi is holding up the furniture sample with a fabric she is considering for an accent pillow. Brittany is recording every little detail. She didn’t miss a thing!
The design center has a room with a skylight to let in natural light. Brittany brought all the samples we had selected in the configuration room, added the samples from the design center, and laid them all out so we could see how they worked together in the natural light. It was so satisfying to see how a beautiful web of colors and textures and materials came together.
Frequently during the configuration, we would step outside of the room and walk a short distance to where the finished motorhomes are kept. Here Brittany is showing us how the splash guard behind the galley counter works to protect the curtains and wall behind it.
Mary Kapeluch works on the sewing and upholstery team. She visited the configuration room to talk with Mitzi about the curtains, accent pillows, and the fabrics she chose. Everything is hand-crafted and custom made. The furniture builders and upholstery teams are amazingly talented to craft exactly to what we want!
Having Fun In And Near Willoughby
We had a day after Configuration to see the area surrounding Willoughby. We’d never been before, and looked forward to exploring and experiencing the area. It was a great day.
Rob took the time to print this map and write down recommended places to visit near Willoughby. It was super helpful and resulted in a great day.
The top of Brandywine Falls in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.
Before heading over to the Ledges, we stopped at Zuki Sushi House. It is 5 star rated with hundreds of reviews, and ….looks like a hole in the wall place. The reviews were right on — the food and service was amazing.
The path towards the Ledges, also in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, is absolutely beautiful. When you get to the end of the path, you walk down some stone steps into…
the Ledges! It feels mystical. We were transported into a different time by the seclusion, quiet, and vibrant green moss under a canopy of trees. It’s like being in another world. These are striking geological conglomerate rock formations that extend for 1.8 miles.
The Store of Mitzi’s 3x Grandfather
Mitzi has a great-great-great grandfather named Newel K. Whitney who lived in Kirtland, Ohio, about 10 minutes from Willoughby, in the 1830’s. His store has been preserved and restored because it is significant in the founding of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Mitzi had never visited this place before, and was grateful to be there and make a connection to her ancestry.
What Happens Next?
When the Chassis arrives at the factory, Advanced RV will start the build. They will send us weekly updates with pictures and progress. Then the exciting day will arrive when we travel back to Willoughby and take delivery. We look forward to sharing it with you!
So until next time…