Sunday, 24 May 2020

Caravan Restoration - Phase 1

Like everyone I’m still adapting/evolving to this new way of (isolated) life.  However, recent relaxing of lockdown regulations in the UK has meant that I can now travel to the family farm as long as we keep a distance from our actual family members (other than the ones we already live with) This has led me to finally undergo operation caravan!  Let me provide a little background…

When I first had the children and we were plodding through the ‘baby years’ I looked forward to a time that we would be able to go camping ‘hassle free’ and actually get some sleep.  (The hassle free and sleep idea may have been a dream, but it certainly is getting easier and so is camping!) 

While I enjoyed many nights under canvas as a child, never concerned about waking up drenched from a rain storm or with a tent half fallen down - I’m not so tolerant in my mid-thirties.  Much to my husband’s distress (and a touch of embarrassment) I started to toy with the idea of getting a caravan back in 2017.  I had a very low budget so finding a caravan wasn’t easy.  However, Jamie pulled through and found one on Facebook - a family were moving and needed to get rid of their caravan that day.  I snapped it up for £500! 

The caravan when we first bought it back in 2017 - the kids are so small!!

This was one of the first times we camped in the caravan on the farm during harvest (hence looking a bit rough) back in August 2017

Warming up by the campfire as it got dark - Alf was 2 here!

While I initially gave it some instant TLC and we’ve used it a couple of times a year, my dreams for out little plywood box were much bigger!  With ‘time’ now on my side (thanks to the corona virus and kids able to occupy themselves a bit more) I’m undergoing the BIG renovation! 

The past couple of weeks have been really intense with Jamie back on the boat, me trying to balance lecturing online, design work, two books in progress AND all that comes with two children at home full time.  So, I decided to take bank holiday weekend 'off' and on Thursday I switched off notifications and commenced an intense 3-day renovation project completing phase 1 of the project!!

I have been researching interior ideas on Pinterest for the past couple of years so had lots of ideas for the new interior.  You can check out my inspiration board on Pinterest here.  I also did lots of research on HOW to do a restoration – bearing in mind caravans can get damp and some decorating products may not be appropriate.  I came across a post by The Twinkle Diaries that covered their own renovation from a few years back – it’s really informative and covers everything you need to know about applying paints and wallpaper to interiors click here to read it.  You can see from the posts I was also inspired by the retro feel and colour palette.

The original orange wood interior - it wasn't in bad condition but was a little sad.

Layer 1 of undercoat paint!

I spent a 12 hour day stripping, cleaning and prepping all the surfaces.  The wooden doors are taking about 4 layers of paint to get my desired finish.  That’s 2 layers of undercoat prime and an eggshell finishing layer twice.  Day 2 I just painted, painted and painted.  I undercoated all the ceiling and then covered with a matt emulsion which has made it a lot fresher and tons brighter.  Day 3 I did even more painting, ripped out the horrid laminate floor and started to wallpaper the kitchen area with a retro geometric wallpaper.

More layers of white paint!

Initial wallpapering

It’s now the end of the bank holiday for me and I can say im absolutely shattered.  The kids loved playing free range on the farm while I did all the hard work.  They are equally shattered, covered in as many layers as mud as the caravan doors are paint and have lovely grazed knees and elbows!!!

Where I left it - definitely a lot brighter!

So what’s next…   I still have more surfaces to wallpaper which will take about another 3-5 hours.  All the doors need their final coat of eggshell too.  I’m making new blinds for the kitchen area (I re-made the curtains last week in the evenings) I just used a cheap yellow gingham I ordered from a Home Scapes fabric store – link here.  I also bought new curtain popper tape to mount the curtains from e bay.  They were really simple to re-make on my sewing machine.  I have ordered a new laminate floor which should arrive in a couple of weeks (stay tuned for images).  I also need to completely re-vamp the bathroom which I think will be another days work too.  Then we should be read to ‘glamp’!

I’m hoping to get all the renovating done in time for harvest and spend many nights sleeping in a shiny fresh caravan on freshly cut stubble fields (especially as we wont be going on any long distance holiday any time soon) - I’ll keep you updated. 

Follow me on Instagram @emily_kiddy to keep up to date more regularly with my progress.

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