The last of the big interior building tasks for my caravan renovation was to build a bench seat with storage. And gosh what a difference it has made. I’m so happy with how it turned out! Remember what the old bench seat looked like before?
My goal was to keep the bench seat as light as possible (because we’d already added quite a lot of weight with the new bifold window and cabinetry) but still strong enough to sit or lay on. The original framework for the old bench seat/bed was in good condition so we kept that and started by lining the inside of the bench seat with 4mm ply.
I then overlayed the existing ply on the front of the bench seat with vj panelling and secured it in place with liquid nails.
For the top of the bench seat I used 7mm Marine grade ply. After it was cut to size we screwed it to three horizontal supports (which would lay across the existing framework) and attached it to the fixed ply at the back with two long hinges.
To finish off I gave the bench seat a couple of coats of fresh white paint, and then added some leather handles and a strip of 19mm pine quad trim. All it needs now is a comfy upholstered cushion. Oh and in case your wondering about the floor (isn’t it lovely?) I’ll be sharing all the flooring details plus my DIY leather handles soon.
If your new to my blog and interested in seeing more of my caravan renovation, you can start here to see all the pics of how my caravan looked when I first brought her home.
I’m in love with naked cakes right now, they’re so simple to make yet full of charm and whimsy. I made this one for my Mum’s birthday a couple of weeks ago. It’s an easy naked carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, so delicious!
All it is, is three packets of carrot cake mix, topped with fresh flowers. Simply bake your three cakes (following the instructions on the packet) then allow them to cool completely. Once they’ve cooled trim the top to make them flat and add 1/3 of the cream cheese frosting between each layer. To finish off roughly ice the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting and garnish with fresh flowers. Naked cakes make a gorgeous birthday cake but they would also be lovely for a wedding, christening or garden party too.
Thank goodness it’s autumn! I’m so grateful for cooler days as it’s been really hot working in the caravan over the past couple of weeks. I’ve been sweating away as I patch the veneer, fill all the holes, sand, paint and build some new cabinetry. As you’ll see in the photos further down my little vintage caravan has really started to turn the corner in the looks department; her walls, ceiling and cupboards are now a crisp white, and we’ve added some new cabinetry where the old kitchen was.
I initially had no idea how I was going to tackle some of the issues in this caravan, like the hole in ply of the overhead cupboards. One professional caravan repairer suggest I overlay the whole overheads which would have set me back over $1000!. So I decided to try and patch it myself and to my surprise, it turned out really well and cost less than $5!
I also salvaged the original overhead cupboard doors. They were in pretty bad shape, but after a good sand and a couple of coats of paint they looked just fine. To create the new cabinet we used Kaboodle base cabinets from Bunnings. We cut each piece down to reduce the depth before building them. The most tedious part was trying to get the cabinet level as the floor and walls of my caravan aren’t level or square. It was quite time consuming but with lots of tweaks of the wind up legs we got there. The timber Bench top was also from Bunnings, a great find at just $69! We cut it to size with a jig saw and then secured it to the base units with brackets and PVA glue. As you’ll see from the photos I also added a new vent. It wasn’t exactly the same dimensions as the original vent so we used the renovator tool to trim the veneer panelling a little bigger to make it fit.
My next project will be building a bench seat with storage at the back of the caravan where there’s currently just some basic framing. I’m also planning the cabinetry door handles and have bought all the foam and fabric to make new upholstered cushions for the bench seat and chairs at the front. This is such a fun project, whilst I’m excited to see my vintage caravan makeover complete, I’ll also be a little sad to finish.
It’s been a little quite here recently because I’ve been spending all my spare time working away on my vintage caravan renovation. These days Instagram is my go to social media outlet so if you’d like to see what I’ve been up to you can find me there @chaidays.
Thanks to Instagram I’ve had some very exciting news; one of my photos was chosen as the winner of the Inside Out Magazine Share My Style Kids room category! How exciting! I was thrilled to have my photo of Zavier’s bedroom printed in the March edition of Inside Out Magazine. In fact I almost let out a little squeal of delight in the middle of Coles when I saw it, especially since the prize is $2000 to spend at Pottery Barn Kids! How fun is that! bring on the retail therapy. Oh and if your not already on Instagram, you can see my winning photo below. Thanks again Inside Out Magazine and Pottery Barn Kids I can’t wait to spend my prize.
Hooray! My little vintage caravan is back from the workshop and her transformation has really began. Whilst she was away she had rotten timber framing replaced in the front and down the sides, the front widow resealed and the rotten ply surrounding it replaced, all new window locks and stayz, a new aluminium panel on the back, new aluminium trim down each side where it was missing, and of course her biggest change of all, a lovely timber bifold installed in place of the old smashed back window! She’d been gone for almost three months (due to the christmas break and a delay on the bifold window) so I was so excited for her to come home.
She’s looking great right? Of course there’s still a huge amount of work to do before my vintage caravan makeover is complete, but we’ll get there. The next job on my list was to fix the holes in the floor. This began with removing the old higgledy piggledy kitchen. My original plan was to keep as much of the original kitchen framing as possible, but, in trying to remove the unwanted bits and having to remove one side to patch the floor, it all ended up quite a mess! It was anything but charming, it had an assortment of not so pretty modifications and was coated in years of grease and fat. So, we decided to completely remove it, and replace it with new cabinetry once the floor was patched. Here’s how my little caravan looked once the kitchen had been removed, pretty ugly!
To patch up the floor I enlisted the help of my dad and husband as they’re much handier on the tools than I am. We patched the hole on the right by undermounting a piece of 12mm ply to the frame and then filled the patch with a piece of 12mm ply the same size as the hole so that it was level with the existing floor. We secured it in place with liquid nails and screws which were countersunk.
For all the holes on the left we secured a patch over the top of the existing floor. Our rationale was that perhaps screwing and gluing one piece of ply over multiple holes would be stronger given it would be supporting cabinetry and visually the difference in floor level wouldn’t be noticeable as it would be hidden inside the new cabinetry. However, I now regret not making it level to the existing floor as it has had a domino effect of problems. Note to self, uneven flooring is never a good idea as it can make each little job afterwards so much trickier, even if it is hidden inside a cupboard. But more on that later. In the end the cost to patch the caravan floor cost less than $15, definitely worth the time in DIY.
As you’ll see from the photos, we also replaced the side of the chair on the right with a new full chair side, this was to make it easier to fit cabinetry. We used the opposite chair as a template to trace the curve onto ply, cut it out with a jigsaw, and gave it a light sand before nailing it on. It was actually the easiest DIY so far.