Our Renovated Caravan

We have renovated a 1980 Millard 11ft pop top caravan which we have name The Cubby – a small place to have fun in. She is so functional and surprisingly spacious, have a look at the photos to see what I mean!

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We are first time caravanners and because of that we wanted to test the water without a huge outlay. Boy the water is nice and yes we are hooked. We did not own a large car so we also needed a van small enough to be towed  by a 1.8 lt engine. 

Smaller means you have to make the most of what you have. Painting the ugly 1970′s fake timber panels with a contemporary taupe colour, new seat covers and colourful cushions makes a very comfortable living space for us. Because it is such a small space, keeping everything one colour makes it look bigger. We had painted the van white to begin with, but it did not feel right. The taupe gives a cosy feel. Taupe is what I call a ‘happy’ grey – it is warm. 

We kept the original drawer knobs but these will eventually be replaced with something less 1970ish when we get close to a shop that specialises in door fittings. Bunnings is over-priced and their range is very limited.

The gas cooker was removed and an electric portable induction cooker replaced it. Bench tops were replaced and the kitchen bench was increased in size. The cupboard above the sink was steam and water damaged so it was removed and a full length shelf replaced it. We were fortunate enough to have a proper tap unlike most vans of the same age. This was replaced with a flickmaster tap.

The under bench cupboards configuration was changed to fit the microwave. A new drawer above the fridge was added. A power-board was added to the side of the kitchen wall near the bed and out of sight.

After living in the van for six months, we would love to upgrade from 11ft to 15-16ft with a toilet and even a shower for when we free camp. Other than that, we love our current layout and would love the next van to have a similar layout, just with the bed facing long ways instead of across the van.

The external walls of the van were painted with Penetrol and you can read about that here. The wardrobe was converted into a kitchen pantry and you can read about that here.

Finally, the underneath of the van was not forgotten with a coat of bituminous paint to waterproof it.

Before . . . . [click photos for a larger view]

1980 Millard pop top caravan old caravan kitchen van29
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After . . . . [click photos for a larger view]

new colour scheme for our caravan tiles for our caravan haymes allure [taupe] paint

The floral patterned fabric was from Spotlight and the floor tiles and flickmaster tap were from Bunnings. The wall and cupboard paint was Haymes interior semi gloss enamel for durability. The colour is called Allure [which is taupe] with a white base.

new seat cushions for our caravan renovation caravan double bed with cushions caravan kitchen renovation
ikea caravan kitchen

The seat cushion upholstery fabric was from here, upholstery thread from here  and heavy duty zips were purchased from here. The taupe cushions were from Target and the doona cover was from this eBay seller here [prices are really good!].

The stainless steel rack and accessories above the sink was from Ikea.

triple arm LCD TV mount and happy wanderer TV cable connector

triple arm LCD TV mount The TV triple arm mount bracket was attached to the side of the small cupboard. Because this cupboard is stapled to the van wall, a small [ugly] bracket [which you cannot see] was added for extra strength. We tried a double arm mount but it was not long enough to get clearance for the TV. 

A new Happy Wanderer TV cable connector was installed through the wall as the existing one is near the dinette and we got sick of running all the cables along the top shelf. Now everything will be nice and neat. 

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caravan cooker

The old cooker was removed and replaced with a table top and a drop down door. Inside the induction cooker sits and this space is well packed with bits and pieces when we are travelling. Just in case you were wondering, they are white basins sitting in the sink.

The lights are original. They had a brown strip stuck on the side which was removed and then painted with white gloss paint. This saved dollars doing this and they look great.

The table leg was filthy, like everything else in this 33 year old van. We used an electric drill with a brass wire brush attached. It did take time to clean up but well worth the result – it looks like new!

Here is a break down of our total spend to purchase and renovate our caravan:

Caravan $4,500
Flick tap $29
Plumber to install tap $70
Drawer and door locks $42
Door spring hinges $30
Floor tiles $60
Ikea rail and accessories $60
MDF $80
Laminate bench top $60
Laminate cutting to size and shape $20
Silicone sealer – internal and external $40
Undercoat and top coat interior paint $150
Penetrol for exterior walls $20
A-frame paint $60
Glue $10
Chain loops (underneath van) $4
Induction cooker $60
Microwave oven $45
Seat cushion fabric $80
Throw cushion fabric $20
Cushion zips and upholstery thread $22
Cushion insert $5
Silver foil for windows $18
80lt fridge $184
TV wall bracket and cable connector $140
Total spend $5,809


So there is our cubby. We would love you to share your caravan renovation stories on our website.

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