We have another amazing DIY renovation to share with you – this time, it’s a 25-year-old Clubman caravan…

Bristol couple Melanie and Mark Jones purchased the 25-year-old Clubman for £700 and managed to completely overhaul it for around £1,000.

The caravan had damp, a dated interior and a distinctive smell to it, with Melanie saying: “It needed heaps of TLC and we were just the right people to do that. With Mark’s building expertise (he owns his own building company) and my flair for interiors, we put our heads together and started the renovations.”

The pair wanted to make the small two-berth feel “large, light, and as airy as possible”, and to achieve this, they knew a light colour scheme was the way to go.

To start the project, they gutted the caravan, taking out the stained brown carpet, curtains, rails and the pelmet. As well as this, the lights and door handles were removed, as were the seat covers, the window plastic and the blinds.

The caravan was gutted
The caravan was gutted

From here, the next step was to sand the wood.

Melanie explained: “I have seen some other people who renovate who don’t bother with proper preparation which in the end can lead to paint chipping off in transit, as caravans are quite wobbly on the road, so this is key.”

After successfully doing this, they wiped the surfaces down and used Valspar Difficult Surfaces Primer in white on the kitchen walls and the caravan’s brown surfaces. This was followed by two coats of both Valspar Biscuit Crumbs and Ronseal Quick-Dry Interior Clear Matt Varnish.

The couple had some door handles in the garage so were able to use those to replace the ones they had removed.

When it came to the ceiling, they decided to opt for Superfresco wallpaper, as it would provide some texture – two coats of Homebase White Matt Emulsion followed.

The caravan had come with plastic strips on the ceiling, while both the ceiling lights and air vent had plastic surrounds – these were all sprayed white with Rust-Oleum All Surface Paint in Flat White.

Melanie has a tip for anyone who is spray painting – be sure to take the cupboard doors off first! Otherwise “trying to get paint off them is a nightmare”.

Lights were added for the top cupboards – these were £20 at Homebase. Another warning from the couple – don’t throw out any pull cords for lights that you intend to change. They did this and subsequently had no way of turning them off, meaning Mark had to re-add a pull cord.

Damp was spotted beneath the left-hand window. The previous owners had attempted to combat this with foam but it hadn’t worked, so the couple decided to replace the shelf.

Melanie said: ““Again, thankfully Mark could do this no problem although to anybody that is not skilled, you can get wood cut to size in DIY stores so this is fairly easy. We then painted it with the Valspar Biscuit Crumbs.”

When it came to the flooring, a key consideration was choosing something that was light but equally, wouldn’t get dirty too easily. With weight also a factor, they opted for quick-step vinyl from Wickes.

Wallpaper for the van came from Dunelm – to make sure it stuck to the walls, PVA glue was mixed with the paste so it was extra sticky.

The seating fabric was jumbo corduroy in mink, with a friend doing the re-upholstery for them.

A large pelmet was added in front of the main windows, which Mark made – from here, rattan heart lights could be hung to add to the evening ambience. These came from blaze-on.com.

For the kitchen, self-adhesive brushed copper wall tiles were purchased, which were easy to apply thanks to their peel-off backs, while PVC Venetian blinds were bought from eBay – four cost around £95.

The updated kitchen area
The updated kitchen area

The couple are over the moon with the results of their efforts, with Melanie saying: “Caravan sales have gone sky high as people cannot go abroad as easily as in the past.”

“Old vans need to be renovated due to damp issues and most of the younger generation don’t like the drab old brown and want to put their own unique stamp on caravans.”

“At one point there was a stigma with caravans only being for ‘old people’, but now it’s become very trendy to own a caravan!”

“We spent around £1,700 in total on the purchase and doing it up. It took eight weeks.”

“It was such an achievement to be able to say ‘we have done all this work ourselves”.

Breaking down the costs, the couple spent:

£100: Paint
£26: Wallpaper
£420: Re-upholstering
£42: Replacing roof light due to old one leaking
£60: Kitchen wall tiles
£22: Foam
£109: Sofa cushion fabric
£120: flooring
£15: Pillow covers
£95: Venetian blinds
£26: Plywood
£3: Hinges

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “It’s incredible to think that a brand new caravan costs £20,000 and that Melanie and Mark have done this all on their own for a fraction of that!”

“By using their own DIY skills and affordable materials, the couple now have a caravan that’s good as new – for less than 10% of the price of a new one!”

Images courtesy of Melanie Jones

Decided you’d rather buy a new model? Then be sure to check out our best caravan round-up, where we select the top models currently on the market.

Find out about the DIY caravan servicing tasks you can carry out to your ‘van to find out about the jobs you can be doing to keep it in top condition.

Future Publishing Limited, the publisher of practicalcaravan.com, provides the information in this article in good faith and makes no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Individuals carrying out the instructions do so at their own risk and must exercise their independent judgement in determining the appropriateness of the advice to their circumstances. Individuals should take appropriate safety precautions and be aware of the risk of electrocution when dealing with electrical products. To the fullest extent permitted by law, neither Future nor its employees or agents shall have any liability in connection with the use of this information. You should check that any van warranty will not be affected before proceeding with DIY projects.

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