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Onsite caravan renovation - Sussex Inlet

LizzieCro
Junior Contributor

Onsite caravan renovation - Sussex Inlet

Hi Everyone,

 

Just thought someone might be interested in a reno I did, on an onsite van down at Sussex Inlet on the NSW South Coast. I live about 2 hours away from it, so a lot of the work involved very detailed measuring and ripping down, and prepping, materials at home, prior to taking them down there and installing. I did buy a cheap mitre saw to keep down there, but mostly I took all tools (except the table saw) and equipment to and fro'. This is the second van I've renovated, but the other was done in the early 2000s, before it was a popular thing to do. I'm pleased with the outcome. It probably looks like it was only paint and styling which made the changes, but there was a lot of actual carpentry and renovating as well. There were a few jobs I had tradespeople complete for me, (electrical, welding and occasional handyman).

 

I started with the annexe. It had random groove, woodgrain-look, ply walls. I repainted throughout, using the technique below, which I use for all slick surfaces which I want to paint. It works for me and never scratches or chips:

  1. Wash down surfaces with Sugar Soap and a Scotchbrite scouring pad. No need to scour, just lightly scrub clean.
  2. ESP to all surfaces, as per instructions. This helps adhere primer and slick surface.
  3. Prime with Zinsser BIN, then very lightly sand, wipe dust, then repeat the Zinsser BIN only.
  4. Top coat x 2 with Dulux Wash ‘n’ Wear in low sheen. I chose to use the Dulux colour, Lexicon Quarter, which turns out a very clear white. The great thing about this colour, is that it has a lot of black in the tint, so it gives good coverage, quicker, which means less coats.

 

I had a new floor of yellow tongue particleboard installed to overcome a flooring issue. I painted the floor with Bondcrete, which helps seal the flooring and create adhesion for the planks. I then laid Gerflor Senso Rustic Walnut self-adhesive planks over this. It’s a great little job, very easy to do with the simplest of tools, (straight edge and utility knife), and gives almost instant gratification!

 

I attached recycled skirting around the base of the walls, to hide some water damage. A new ceiling of gloss-painted ply was installed, and I ran some cornice around it to hide the joins at the edges. I just made the cornice from some old bullnose architrave I’d removed from my house. I ran it through my table saw to clean it up a bit, then primed and painted before installation to make it easier.

 

I installed a custom canvas wall/screen to separate the bed end of the annexe, and the living area. I could’ve built a stud wall, but it would take up too much space, so the canvas was an easy solution and works well. It’s simply attached by cup hooks in the ceiling and floor. I replaced the existing vertical drapes with slimline Venetian blinds from the Pillar range, which are inexpensive, easy to install and look very streamlined and neat. The furnishings were mainly cheap things I picked up from Gumtree or Marketplace, some I refinished, or altered to suit the purpose.

 

In the van I repainted throughout, using the same paint and techniques as above. For the cabinetry I used Dulux Aquanamel in semi-gloss, using the colour Antarctica Lake, which is a lovely sea glass green. I used quarter strength in the bedroom and double strength in the living areas. I continued with the vinyl planks in this area, replaced the benchtop with laminate, also replaced sink with a round, Mondella Resonance Stainless Steel, and tap with Estilo WELS gooseneck type. Pillar Venetians again for the windows. I also ripped down some 3mm ply into planks and lined the end walls, and parallel walls with them, to afford a more beachy feel in the van. It broke up the plain white walls a bit and made a lot of difference to the feel of it. I changed the orientation of the upper cabinet doors, so they lifted up, rather than out. This makes them much easier to use in such a tight space. I soaked the hinges in vinegar, then rinsed and spray painted with Dulux gloss. The underside of the upper cabinets had a lot of damage, and large holes. Rather than repair them, I simply ripped down 3mm ply to size and cladded the underside, then trimmed out the edge with pine moulding. The seats were reupholstered in fabric from Spotlight, and I had the existing table re-laminated at a local kitchen place. I deleted a very small cabinet in the kitchen, which was pretty much useless. It enabled me to open up a larger space which had been behind it, install shelves and baskets and have more storage. There were various areas around the van which were damaged, so I just trimmed them out, decoratively, with 3mm ply, and painted them to match the rest of the area.

 

On the exterior, there was necessary work carried out to the chassis, and I installed gardens and a small shelter. The shelter helps protect from the elements, but also gives a place for a quiet cuppa, (or other beverage!), and affords a little more privacy to the van. I made the shelter simply from treated pine, and Euro Reed screening, and lined it with builder’s plastic, on the sides, and a Bistro Blind on the back.

 

The roof was sealed using Sikaflex Pro, (sandable and paintable sealant), and Crommelin’s water proofing membrane and paint. There were many screw-sized holes in the cladding, so I squeezed some Sikaflex into them, then inserted a screw in each hole. The cladding is textured, so this looks much more intentional than if I’d tried to fill each hole with bog. Once the van was painted, they weren’t very noticeable. I washed the van with Truck Wash, then Sugar Soap, then wiped any remnants of old silicone with acetone to remove it. I primed with Dulux Etch Primer, then painted with Dulux Weathershield Maxiflex. The upper colour was standard white, and the lower teal colour was Dulux Riviera Sea. I finished off with a recycled plastic outdoor rug, and some Lytworx solar festoon lights, simply attached with Command adhesive hooks.

 

If anyone has any questions about any of it, I'm very happy to answer them. Van reno's are easy to do, and can be very encouraging for newbies to renovating, as the results are seen fairly quickly. It's a good way to get into learning a whole lot of skills. Sorry for the long post, but I know, when people are learning stuff, thorough descriptions can be really helpful.

Have a great weekend!

 

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Re: Onsite caravan renovation

Thank you for sharing lovely job and ver inspirational.

sandy_d
Experienced Contributor

Re: Onsite caravan renovation

Wow! What a fantastic entry to this years DIY July. It’s amazing how much more spacious and cosy it looks. 
You've really outdone yourself and I’m loving the colour scheme. 
I think the community will have many questions for you, so they can achieve the same look. 
Best of luck with your entry LizzeCro 

 

Sandy 

Re: Onsite caravan renovation

Thank you MsAussie Thunder. It was fun!

LizzieCro
Junior Contributor

Re: Onsite caravan renovation

Thanks Sandy. It was very rewarding. I bought the van as a surprise for my family, and they didn't know I'd bought it until it was almost completely renovated. It was tricky business trying to keep it a secret!

LizzieCro
Junior Contributor

Re: ONSITE CARAVAN RENOVATION ~ SUSSEX INLET

Hi again,

Just to let you know, I have really added a lot of content to the original post. There were technical hitches.... long story....anyway! There's much more detailed info now, in case anyone's interested, and better photos. If only I could make the photos separate from each other .... no idea how. Thanks for looking at the post. I hope it helps someone.

sandy_d
Experienced Contributor

Re: ONSITE CARAVAN RENOVATION ~ SUSSEX INLET

Amazing detail thank you @LizzieCro . How you kept this a secret is beyond me! In regards to the pictures, if you wanted different placements or underneath something you’ve just written, you’ll need to select to the place you want the image to be. I start on a new line by selecting return and add the image as you have been (I’ll add a screen shot)  

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I hope this helps but if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Again thank you for providing so much information into your caravan renovation!

Sandy 

 

MitchellMc
Bunnings Team Member
Bunnings Team Member

Re: Onsite caravan renovation - Sussex Inlet

Incredibly inspiring project @LizzieCro! I've wanted to purchase a caravan and reno it for some time now. It's a little out of my budget, but it's a dream I'll keep hoping for. You've done a spectacular job, and many thanks for including so much detail in your post. I love your little shelter outside. It must be terrific to sit back and relax under with a cool drink.

 

Let me mention some of our caravan enthusiasts, @FloTheCaravan, @twocutekelpies and @VickiD, as I trust they'll be excited to see your work. 

 

We'll be looking forward to your next project.

 

Mitchell

 

See something interesting? Give it the thumbs up!

Re: Onsite caravan renovation

Welcome to the Bunnings Workshop community @MsAussieThunder. It's great to have you join us and marvellous to see you've found this project inspirational.

 

Are you also dreaming of one day owning a caravan? Check out this amazing three-part guide on How to renovate a caravan. I'm sure you'll find it a great read.

 

We look forward to hearing about your projects around the house and garden. Please let us know anytime you need assistance or have something to share.

 

Mitchell

 

See something interesting? Give it the thumbs up!

Re: Onsite caravan renovation - Sussex Inlet

Thanks Mitchell @MitchellMc . I'm very familiar with the caravan enthusiasts you tagged. We're members in common, on other sites, and their work is the stuff of legends! 

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