I got into renovating caravans by accident. After having a family, it was time to simplify our camping trips and we had an idea to use a caravan as a second room in our backyard when we weren’t camping.
After some searching, the first retro caravan I purchased was an 11ft 1974 York. I found it online not knowing much at all about caravans and after not too long I realized that the caravan leaked water when it rained therefor needed major repair – our new holiday home was now a new project!
With a little help from friends ‘in the know’, I came up with a plan to renovate the caravan myself. I really dug the retro design inside but this all had to go, I couldn’t save much of the interior at all apart from the bones.
I started off with demolition day, taking out the walls and ceiling which were water damaged and the tired cupboards and kitchen. I took everything back to the bare bones including the humongous and heavy Electrolux fridge.
After fixing the water leak problems, I organized an electrician to sort out the electricity in the caravan (this is something I don’t mess around with). I then added insulation and replaced the plywood walls and ceiling.
I chose a minimal design for the inside to maximize the space. This included lots of storage under the bed, under the seats and above. I installed a new floor, chrome sink, switches and a TV for modern comfort. I replaced the dining table with wood to match the kitchen bench and used the original legs, which fold down to form a single bed. I fitted a double bed and mattress perfectly and sourced some patterned material to make the curtains. Instead of a built-in cupboard that would take up space, I chose a shelf design that people could hang clothes off, or in my case a guitar.
I also painted the outside, fitted new tires and had a mechanic look over it for a safety certificate, which it passed with flying colours. Other than creating wonderful holiday memories for our family, this caravan has also served us as an Airbnb for backpackers and a spare room for guests. I’m now onto my third caravan renovation and still learning new tricks of the trade.
Some of my fondest childhood memories are camping trips to the beach. Naturally, I wanted to create the same memories for my children and caravan holidays have been just that.
When I was a kid, we did a yearly caravan holiday to Rainbow Beach Caravan Park and visited Fraser Island for day trips. The caravan brought the family closer together, literally! I remember sitting around a small kitchen table while my father peeled prawns and the rest of the family watched on while eating seafood and making jokes. Falling asleep to the sound of the ocean and waking up to the sounds of wildlife was my favourite thing about caravan life – and it still is today.