Couple buy and transform 25-year-old caravan for just £1,700
The cosy caravan you see above didn’t always look like it does now.
In fact, when Melanie Jones, 41, and her partner Mark, 52, purchased the mobile home for £700 at the start of lockdown it was in an absolute state.
But the couple made it their mission to do it up – and what a job they’ve done.
The couple, who live in Bristol and have six kids between them, were keen for a challenge to keep them busy and focused during the lockdown, and spent an extra £1,000 on materials to get the caravan up to scratch.
Melanie, who works for the police, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: ‘We had our holiday of a lifetime to Thailand cancelled in April this year due to COVID and soon realised that we were not going to be able to go this year at all.
‘We needed something to keep us focused for our health and mental wellbeing during lockdown.’
Although Melanie and Mark (who has his own building company) both work full-time and have two children 18s, they were happy to take on the project.
When the Clubman caravan was purchased, they describe it as ‘very dated, smelly, and damp.’
But Melanie says: ‘With Mark’s building expertise and my flair for interiors, we put our heads together and started the renovations. ‘
They decided on a light colour scheme to make the space seem larger, and asked a friend who runs a sewing company to reupholster the seats with material they’d already chosen.
‘We first took out all the interior including the stained brown carpet, velour green curtains, the rails and pelmet and three clocks that had been placed randomly,’ says Melanie.
‘We also took off the lights, all the door handles, took the seat covers out and stripped off the window plastic and blinds.
‘This took us less than an hour as we were super excited to be making a start, we then hoovered the whole inside, then the real work began.’
Next came sanding all the wood (to ensure paint wouldn’t chip in the caravan as it moved), wiping down, and using a primer before painting with Valspar’s Biscuit Crumbs shade and a Ronseal varnish.
Melanie continues: ‘The door handles were some old ones we had lying around in the garage so we utilised those in the caravan to keep the cost down as much as possible.
‘For the ceiling, I decided to go with Superfresco wallpaper. Because everything was going to be light colours, I knew I would need some added texture so this was perfect.
‘Mark wallpapered and I then used two coats of Homebase white matt emulsion on top. The ceiling also has plastic strips on it and also plastic surrounds on the ceiling lights and air vent which I sprayed white with Rust-Oleum All Surface Paint in Flat White.’
The renovation wasn’t without problems, including some missed areas when painting and a thrown-away light cord that meant the lights stayed on at all times (until Mark sorted the issue, of course).
Mark’s building expertise came in handy at multiple points, making shelves and sorting damp.
Then Melanie’s bargain-hunting prowess helped the pair land wallpaper from Dunelm for just £6 and eBay blinds for £95 for four.
Melanie is delighted with the finished look of her caravan, and thinks now is the perfect time to take on your very own caravan renovation project.
‘Caravan sales have gone sky high as people cannot go abroad as easily as in the past,’ she says.
“Old vans need to be renovated due to damp issues and most of the younger generation don’t like the drab old brown and want to put their own unique stamp on caravans.
‘At one point there was a stigma with caravans only being for “old people’”, but now it’s become very trendy to own a caravan!’
She adds: ‘It was such an achievement to be able to say “we have done all this work ourselves and made it our own” rather than spending thousands of pounds that we don’t have on a brand new, all-singing, all-dancing caravan that is generic in colour and specification and not how we would have wanted it.
‘It’s our home from home and might not be to everybody’s taste but we love it.
‘A new two-berth Lunar Clubman is around £20,000 so we have saved thousands.
‘We can have the same memories and fun in our 25-year-old caravan that we would have in an expensive brand new one!’
What they spent
- £100: Paint
- £26: Wallpaper
- £420: Re-upholstering
- £42: Replacing roof light due to old one leaking
- £60: Kitchen wall tiles
- £22: Foam
- £109: Sofa cushion fabric
- £120: flooring
- £15: Pillow covers
- £95: Venetian blinds
- £26: Plywood
- £3: Hinges
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