Well what a month it’s been! Many of you will already know about my exciting new venture but if you don’t and you’ve been wondering why I’ve been M.I.A, then let me share some very exciting news! I’ve opened a travelling homewares store, and online boutique called Scouted Design and it’s based out of my renovated vintage caravan.
It’s an absolute dream come true which began bubbling away last September. There’s been lots of bumps in the road and whole lot of hard work but I would do it all again in a second because I’m so happy with how it has all turned out.
Since you last saw my little vintage caravan she’s been adorned with my logo and filled to the brim with a gorgeous collection of homewares, home decor and lifestyle products from my favourite Australian and international designers. From Cushions and scented candles to kitchen ware, table decor, wall art, rugs, throws and garlands, I have a beautiful range of contemporary Australian and Scandinavian inspired wares.
I’m so happy to report that my vintage caravan makeover is back on track! A couple of weeks ago I picked up my little caravan from the repair shop and brought her home on a brand new Chassis. As you can see from the pics below it was a pretty big job!
Whilst she was in the workshop she also had a new A frame (draw bar) installed, new springs, new stayz and a service on her bearings. She’s also had some repairs to her timber frame, and some resealing around her trims. The only parts underneath that are original now are her wheels and axel! Everything else is brand spanking new!
Since she’s returned I’ve done a few touch ups to the floor, touched up the paint work inside, replaced all the seals on the windows and door and lined the inside of the door with ply. All that’s left to do now is paint the exterior! I was hoping to have this done professionally, but…after getting back the quotes, I’ve decided to spray paint her myself. There’s just not enough money left . So time to roll up my sleeves and learn how to spray paint!
My vintage caravan makeover is moving along faster than I can post so to bring you up to speed I’m going to share all the latest updates. Since building the bench seat I’ve laid a beautiful new vinyl plank floor, made some upholstered cushions for the chairs and bench seat, installed some lovely new lighting and electrical switches, and made my own leather cabinet pulls and handles.
Lets start by talking about those floors. I chose these vinyl adhesive planks from Bunnings. They were lightweight and very easy to lay. Cutting around corners was probably the trickiest part, so if your tackling a similar project be sure to buy more than you need to allow for mistakes and off cuts. Before I started I watched this video which was so helpful. Before you start laying your vinyl planks make sure your floor is really clean then give it a coat of bondcrete which needs to dry for 24 hours before you begin.
For the upholstered seats I bought a combination of medium and high density foam from Clark Rubber when it was on sale and they cut it all down to size for me which was a great time saver. The front cushion seats are 100mm high density foam and the back rests and bench seat are 750mm medium density foam. Before I made removable covers I lined each cushion with calico for longevity and to disguise the colour of the foam from peeping through the cushion covers. I used a heavy durable cotton fabric from IKEA to make the cushion covers and added these zips from spotlight so that the covers could be removed and washed.
As for the lighting and electrical, I bought replacement architrave light switches and power points from Bunnings and had my electrician install them. I also bought the exterior bunker light from Bunnings and my beautiful concrete pendants and pretty globes are from Freedom. I’ve strung them across and secured them to the ceiling with white pendant hooks from Beacon. Whenever the caravan is mobile I just wrap them in bubble wrap and secure them in the overhead cupboard .
I love the look of my leather cabinet pulls! I’ve wanted to try making leather cabinet handles and pulls for a little while so I was excited to be able to use them in the caravan. They’re really simple to make, all you need is leather cowhide strips (mine were 1 inch wide), a leather punch, Stanley knife, screws and bolts. I found this DIY video really helpful (although they use a full hide and paint the hide before cutting it down) and I also read this step by step tutorial before I began. I used the existing hols in the cabinet doors and drilled new holes for the handles on the bench seat.
I’m so happy to have the interior almost complete. I just need to give the window frames a good clean, replace the adhesive dust seals, and do a little touch up painting. Then the most fun part, accessorising. Oh and I forgot to mention that I’ve also replaced all the broken glass and dodgy scratched and discoloured perspex in the windows. Don’t they look so much better. I went with 4mm clear toughened glass, it won’t discolour and is considerably stronger than regular glass.
Unfortunately my vintage caravan makeover is now on hold for a few weeks. Before I can begin any more changes, my little caravan is headed back to the workshop. Sadly her chassis has cracked and caused some of my framework to break, and my floor to bow. This is a bit devastating to my budget and my morale. I was on such a roll. Apparently the chassis is beyond repair, so after lots of consideration and chatting to repairers and metal fabricators, she’ll be getting a whole new chassis. This is quite a difficult and expensive procedure so I’m leaving it up to the experts. Fingers crossed her body stays in one piece and she’ll be back soon, stronger and safer than ever.
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.
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.