Start a discussion

The Bunnings Workshop community can help with your home improvement projects.

1972 York Caravan renovation

Junior Contributor
Junior Contributor

A rusty 1972 York caravan was lovingly restored into a beautiful mobile home.





The project


August 2019


I've been working on this little 10ft York caravan for just over a year. It's been mostly just me but my husband helps with the mechanical side, and if I need a second pair of hands such as putting the ceiling up. He also rebuilt the chassis as he's a boilermaker.


I don't have a trade. I am self taught and follow a lot of other renovations on social media. The only tradesperson I will get in will be the electrician to hook up a few powerpoints and add a safety switch. I won't be fitting gas so no need for a fitter. 


You'll see many items in the below photos from Bunnings, I almost live there.


On the tilt tray coming home.




Lots of things had been living in it and the chassis had rusted out in most places.




There was no end to the rust in this – even the drawbar had broken, it was that bad.








Long story short: disassembled, rebuilt the chassis, reassembled.




New floor using 12mm formply.




Two layers of Ametalin foil insulation with air pocket.




The interior was relined with 3mm caravan ply (poly coated, so no painting needed).




Winton floor tiles with a sanded and BondCrete-prepped floor.




12v lights to fuse block under the front seat. I've run and connected all of the wiring for this and used LED lights.




Hinged slat double bed using 12mm ply and Pine.




Bedhead storage using Tasmanian Oak railing made from dowel, cover strap and shelf lipping.




Under bed access when you don't want to lift it. Not yet fastened in place so it looks crooked. The baskets and sliding door track are from Bunnings.




I cut the single bed mattress up to use for seat cushions with a little help from my grandmother's old electric knife.     






September 2019


Today I've been having fun with the Permastik Magnetic Insect Screens from Bunnings. The original flyscreens had seen better days.




The grid pattern on the tiles came in handy.




Backing magnets in place with supplied self adhesive tape.




My walls aren't smooth so I didn't trust the tape to last long, hence the added security of rivets.




I'm very happy with how they are looking and they're still flexible enough to allow my air hose through.




I made my own blinds using material, a piece of timber, dowel and fasteners. The material is stapled to the piece of timber, with a scrap over the end to cover, then the timber is screwed to the wall. The material hides the screws when put down.




A full length of dowel in the bottom adds weight and makes it easy to roll up.




I've also built the first lower cupboard. I'll put a bench top on this once I've finished the kitchen side. I used FJ Pine stapled together with wide crown staples using the same construction methods as used during the 70s and 80s and maybe still today. I haven't pulled a newer van apart to see. I've added a few screws where I couldn't staple both sides of the pieces and I've only used glue to put the ply on, no glue in the joins.


Stick frame cabinetry is the best way to build caravan cupboards to keep everything lightweight. The enclosure on the lower side is for the fire extinguisher just inside the door.




The frame is fastened through the walls to the caravan frame and into the floor.




I haven't finished cutting the trims to size yet but the 3mm ply panels are all cut and ready to be glued on. I've used the 3mm wall art corners and joiners from the bathroom area at Bunnings.




Out of interest, I weighed this cupboard as it stands there with the ply lining and it weighed 6.5kg. A similar sized flatpack cupboard weighs 19.2kg. Weight and weight distribution is very important when rebuilding the interior. I try to stick to the same layout as the original as close as I can. I believe that's the weight and distribution that the caravan was built to take. 

January 2020


Roll down blinds, magnetic flyscreens, tic tac tiles and original table leg.






Each cupboard has a different theme from 1972 newspapers.








September 2020


I finished the little York last month and she passed registration with no real issues, except that because of the new drawbar she's now registered as a 2020 home built, which is unfortunate but at least it's registered and road ready. She was sold a week after completion to a lovely young couple who bought it as an anniversary present for themselves. 




I really wanted to be able to put this table down to make a single bed but because I brought the kitchen out, I couldn't have the full width table and still get into that seat.




Under-bed storage with gas struts for full access and sliding doors for quick access.




240v to 12v converter to be able to run lights from battery or as a jump starter.




Slide out 35L car fridge which can be easily removed any time.




Dinky sink with swivel plug so it can't be lost. Tic Tac Tiles as the splashback.




Before and after






How to renovate a caravan


Find step-by-step instructions for renovating your own caravan in Rob's three-part guide that includes choosing the right van to buy, repairing, painting and styling.





More caravan renovation projects


Shelley also shared her first caravan renovation project, which was a 23ft Viscount that needed a full gut and rebuild that took her 16 months.




Experienced Workshop member Rob shared this 70s Millard caravan that he renovated with a distinctive Penguin Classics book theme.




Rob also gave this classic 70s Millard caravan a stylish new look inside and out.




Why join the Bunnings Workshop community?

Workshop is a friendly place to learn, get ideas and find inspiration for your home improvement projects