I have very fond memories of December family holidays in our old Sprite caravan. My dad only sold it a few years ago, but for more than 10 years, it was turned into a storeroom rather than a holiday home. Lately, I have come across the most inspiring pictures of vintage caravans used in all sorts of ways – from mobile businesses to studios. And of course, also the traditional holiday-on-wheels, but with a stylish twist or two. It really inspired me to write this article and share with you the clever caravan renovations that people have done to turn their assets into lovable, liveable and workable spaces. WARNING: You may end up on Autotrader looking for a second-hand caravan after reading this!
This is the stuff hipster heaven are made of … this vintage caravan got a fresh lick of paint in very trendy turquoise and red, with just a dash of yellow. Complete with all the desirable vintage props like an LP player! This little caravan will transport you back in time.
What I really like about this renovation, is that a lot of thought was put into the exterior elements. An outdoor carpet and little turquoise bench with bold scatters complete the scene beautifully.
This could be a great photo booth idea for a wedding! Just a thought…
This beautiful caravan renovation plays with the blues … gorgeous bedding and a soft palette with very trendy accents. The basket lampshade above the breakfast nook gives it a toned down contemporary feel. Perfect for hot summer holidays!
Meet the Nugget
This is one of the sweetest caravan makeovers I have come across recently. It’s lovingly called ‘Nugget’ by its owners.
Fitted with a beautiful geometric wooden floor that nearly took my breath away when I first saw it – and why not? Just because it’s a caravan, doesn’t mean it has to have a dated vinyl floor like That 70’s Show.
Bright yellow wallpaper adorns the walls, accessorized with fun art prints and softened with some greenery.
Re-upholstered storage benches and a few scatters and throws help to create a warm and inviting interior like this one.
Heart of the (mobile) home
The before shot in the left-hand bottom corner is one we have all seen before but just look at the transformation with a lick of charcoal paint on the cabinets, new kitchen tops and cladding on the walls. They also added modern spice storage as a nice touch.
The very simple mountain print on wood, makes a beautiful focal point above the little gas hob.
Black, white and grey
This orange hanging lamp makes a gorgeous retro statement in this grey, black and white caravan interior. It just goes to show that you don’t need to paint everything white in a small space!
The bottom picture is of a caravan that was remodeled into office space. The cabinets were painted with chalk board paint to maximize efficiency.
I love the black and white framed photographs that tie up the monotone colour palette beautifully.
The same rules for any small space apply in a caravan: lots of clever storage, one coherent colour palette, and play with texture and pattern accents.
Pretty linen on the bunk beds and birchwood wallpaper sections create interest to otherwise forgotten walls.
Quick Q&A with two happy ‘caravaners’
Before you run out the door in search of a vintage caravan, read this very informative Q&A with my friends Liezl & Martin Maree that simply love their caravan and family holidays.
1. How long have you had your caravan?
We’ve had a caravan for about 8 years, but our current one for about a year.
2. Is the yearly upkeep expensive and what does it entail?
Basically, no yearly maintenance – if you store it out of the rain and sun. Only other expense is licensing, which is about R250 annually.
3. Would you say it was a good investment?
Yes, as it allows for inexpensive weekend getaways and probably the cheapest 3-week holiday you can find!
4. Why did you first decide to buy a caravan?
We wanted to create memories for our kids away from the city. Both of us have good memories camping with our own parents.
5. How often do you use it and do you only use it for holidays?
About every second month for a weekend. We’ve also used it when attending seminar’s, instead of staying at a B&B or on-site lodging.
6. Have you done any renovations on the interior?
In our first caravan, we removed a ‘built-in bar’ to make the double bed even larger – which allowed for a family bed when camping. Friends of ours painted and decorated their vintage caravan with curtains, scatter cushions and bunting!
7. If you could, what would you like to change to make it more practical or beautiful?
Our current model is a very compact design that has a clever use of space. One thing we would like to change is replacing the pull-out awning with the newer model’s design as it allows a taller person to walk underneath.
8. Would you say caravan holidays are increasing in popularity?
9. What is the best caravan gadget you have seen?
Definitely a level-bubble! Without it you might sleep ‘downhill’…
10. Any advice for people thinking of buying a second-hand caravan and renovating it?
Look for wood-rot underneath, as well any leaks from the roof or sides. Check that the chassis is sound. Also, check tents for mold and see that zips slide – especially on older models.