It’s pretty safe to say that ex-Blockheads Carlene and Michael Duffy, of Cedar & Suede, are bona fide vintage caravan reno experts. From the gorgeous ‘Bumblebee’ to their latest project ‘Dolly’ (pictured below), their caravan renovation prowess is unparalleled which is why we are thrilled to share some of their top reno tips with you today.
From the importance of planning and clever storage to the judicious choice of materials, overhauling a caravan could be just the weekend project you’re looking for but you’d best start now to have it ready in time for summer!
Buy according to your skills
As with any renovation project (be it a piece of furniture or even an entire house), you need to work to your skill set and limitations. “If you’re handy you could buy a strip-out that needs a lot of work but if you’re an inexperienced renovator it’s best to spend more on a van that’s in-tact and that only requires more superficial changes,” says Carlene.
Good planning is key
“Like any reno you want to spend time in the planning stage achieving a functional floorplan and sleeping arrangements for you and your family,” says Carlene. Mattresses aside, you need to think about how much time you will spend hanging out in the van and whether a dining space is important too.
Keep it light
“This home is transportable and therefore keeping all the materials lightweight is key for optimum safety. Use lightweight benchtops and cabinetry, as well as flooring and wall panelling,” says Carlene.
As with any tiny home, employing smart storage solutions is vital. “We include storage under the beds and under the dining banquette seats to store our camping chairs, tables, surfboards and everything else you can think of,” says Carlene.
Design with holidays in mind
“Most of us use our vintage vans for holidaying so creating a holiday vibe is key. Don’t be scared of colour. These are retro vans that hail from the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s, a time when colour was king, so paying homage to the van’s origins in this way is only right,” says Carlene.
If you’d like to learn more, Carlene and Michael are delivering a series of caravan renovation workshops at Brisbane’s upcoming Reno Home Show and they will be exhibiting ‘Dolly’ there too.
Photography: Cait Meyers