A clever couple have revealed how they managed to save money renovating an old caravan.
Bex Ambler, 29, and her boyfriend Tom, bought a second-hand caravan during the summer to go on holiday with their two dogs.
However they soon realised that their new purchase had a damp problem – which they were quoted £2,000 to fix.
Instead, the pair of DIYers took on the task themselves, getting rid of the damp and transforming the entire place for less than £1,000.
Across five weeks the couple overhauled the caravan and they are now left with a Scandinavian-inspired space that’s unrecognisable from its former self.
Bex, who is a marketing and events manager, told LatestDeals.co.uk : “Myself and my boyfriend Tom renovated our 2002 Bailey Pageant Champagne this autumn in the hopes of being able to take our two rescue dogs on lots of lovely holidays.
“We started looking for a van at the end of the summer and it was so hard to find one we liked within our budget that hadn’t sold within a couple of hours of it going online.
“In the end, we had to up the budget and loaned a bit of extra money from mum and dad to buy it.
“We thought it was in perfect condition but unfortunately due to us being absolute amateurs, we didn’t take a damp metre which is my number one recommendation.
“We found loads of damp soon as we started painting and taking things down.”
The couple managed to fix the damp problem themselves for just £250.
“To fix it, we bought a multi-tool from B&Q which was £50. Then we started the process of removing all the damp by chopping it away then chipping off any awkward small parts,” Bex said.
“Our polystyrene wasn’t salvageable so that came out too. Once it was all out, we used No More Nails to glue new polystyrene to the walls and replaced the plywood.
“Everything was from B&Q and it cost around £250 in total as opposed to I was quoted £2,000 to pay someone to do it.”
Once the damp was removed, Bex and Tom began renovating.
“We re-papered the walls using lining paper and painted using Frenchic Alfresco paint throughout to keep it light and fresh,” Bex said.
“We used about five tubs at £20 each as the orange wood took four or five coats.
“I recovered the sofas and dining seats myself using throws from The Range and rugs from IKEA.
“For the worktops, we used DC Fix white gloss which is an absolute pain to do but looks great when it’s finished.
“Make sure you have a smoothing tool and a hairdryer to get it tight on the edges, and any small bubbles you can get out using a pin afterwards.”
The couple bought bargains from eBay, Amazon and Etsy to help redesign the caravan.
“The vinyl herringbone flooring was from eBay and it was £95,” Bex advised.
“If you are replacing the floor keep the old one and use it as a template as it makes it so much easier to get the right size.
“I also found a guy on eBay who recovers button so I got 24 buttons for £6 and sent the fabric for the seats off to him.
“I got 24 buttons for £6 and you just send your fabric off to him.
“The gold handles were bought from Amazon and they were £25 for 20 handles which did the whole caravan and the kitchen tap was £60 also from Amazon.
“The door is also done in DC Fix, then we added some decals from Etsy on the top. The total cost was £14 for the door.
The best saving the couple made was the tiles, which cost them just £10, and the rugs for £12.
“The tiles are stick-on from One Below and were £1 a pack and we used about 10 packs,” Bex said.
“The rugs are actually bathmats from Homesense and were £12 each – they are easily washable with the dogs.
“I was worried about the bed being uncomfortable to sleep on but we invested in a gel mattress topper and you can’t feel a thing, it’s super comfy.
Bex and Tom are over the moon with their caravan and can’t wait to take it on the road with their dogs.
“I found so many amazing transformations on Instagram and was completely inspired by the numerous accounts on there,” she said.
“For anyone thinking about starting on yours or buying an old van I would 100% recommend it.
“As I said before my biggest tip is to purchase a damp metre when looking for your caravan. You can get them on Amazon for about £15.
“In total, we spent around £800 on the renovation.”