Does it really make that much of a difference what the interior colour scheme of your caravan looks like, when on holiday, you spend the majority of your time outside?
We put this question to ourselves on many occasions when we heard the news that our new Eriba had inadvertently been upholstered in a different choice of material from the one we originally specified.
This admission came with the positive note from the dealer that the fabric they had fitted was in fact harder-wearing, of a much better quality, and consequently, more expensive. We were not expected to pay the revised price if we agreed to accept their error.
At the time, we convinced ourselves that we were actually much better off – the cheaper, darker grey colour might have made the caravan feel smaller inside. And when comparing fabric samples, it was obvious the fitted fabric was a heavier weight – clearly more durable in the long term.
Over the years, when we have been pitching up, people have often commented how beautiful and retro our Eriba caravan is from the outside.
As Eriba owners for nearly 10 years now, we absolutely cannot fault the aftersales care, build quality and the twin dinette layout in our Troll 550. However, with the limited choice of fabrics on offer, the interiors, in our opinion, are a bit disappointing. We think that, by not updating to lighter interiors or offering alternative options, Eriba has missed an opportunity to take these very popular vans forward to the next generation.
For our first summer holiday in TinTin (as our Eriba quickly came to be known), Harvey did his utmost to personalise the interior, removing net curtains and putting out our designer fabric cushions and throws, but this still could not detract from the feeling that, when we retreated inside our van at the end of another lovely day, there was just a lot of beige.
This was reinforced when we ventured inside other caravans at the NEC Show later that year, where it was noticeable that some manufacturers were trying to make refreshing changes, appealing to a younger demographic and families such as ours, looking for a brighter, fresher-looking space.
We decided to make a start on our interior design mood board that very same evening!
Gorgeous A4 fabric samples, ordered from eBay (Pandoras Upholstery, £1.99 including postage) were lying on our doormat just a few days later.
Deciding on Orla Kiely Early Bird Granite Cotton as our family choice of curtain fabric, we hoped Kayleigh Grinstead (Colchester Bridal Alterations) would agree to help us.
Leaving our old curtains with Kayleigh so she could produce some templates, we discussed the look that we were trying to achieve.
This was clearly not a very straightforward task, as she had to take into consideration carefully replicating the amount of pattern on show in each window and ensuring that the curtains hung properly.
Hand-sewing the edges made the stitching invisible. We were so impressed with the care and attention to detail Kayleigh had taken, and just delighted with the finished articles.
Choosing a colour
Practicality was the key in our choice for the cushions – we were aware the material needed to be fire-retardant, durable and stainproof. Sitting our dog Lucy on a mocked-up seating area made from grey towels and green paper, we tried to gauge her opinion of our fabric colour choices as well!
We concluded that we were looking at material ranges used in public areas. Directed to Sprung Classic Upholstery by a local caravan dealer, we found that Mark and his son Chay, a friendly duo with more than 39 years of experience, immediately put us at ease.
With an extensive collection of fabric samples to choose from, we were initially a bit overwhelmed, knowing that they could “spec anything”.
Mark and his team worked away in the background, leaving us to narrow down a selection of samples. Then, just as we were about to leave, Harvey happened to see and pick up an offcut that he noticed lying on the table.
Back home, we mocked up the choices in TinTin, and it was quickly apparent that the offcut was, in fact, exactly what we were looking for.
For the contrasting piping, we decided that the green of our sofa at home would be perfect. We confirmed the colours and costs straight away, so that the transformation could begin.
Making the cushions
Once again, we were very impressed with the care and attention to detail as Mark and his team went a step further, to ensure that our removable cushions would fit perfectly.
So, just one month after our ideas were initially put in place, we had our new interior.
In our minds, we would ideally like to replicate the white interior and beautiful clean lines that companies such as Adria offer, with no more traditional floral patterns or natural wood.
However, we had done as much as we could to improve our space and try to bring just a little Scandinavian style into our own Eriba caravan life.
Will this change our touring experience? Well, sitting in our spruced-up TinTin, I am smiling, so clearly, it’s been worth every penny!
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Practicality was key in our choice for the cushions - we were aware that they needed to be fire-retardant, durable and stainproof, too