Couple give caravan dreamy DIY makeover for under £1,600

Couple give caravan dreamy DIY makeover for under £1,600

01/09/2022

Here’s all the inspiration you need for a major overhaul.

When Bianca Bertalli, 37, and her husband Bert, 47, bought an old caravan, they quickly realised it needed a makeover.

It was a bit of an impulse buy.

Bianca, who works as a primary teacher, told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: ‘The idea to buy a caravan was quite spontaneous.

‘We have had several family camping trips in a camper trailer which requires days of planning to make sure everything is packed properly and a decent amount of set up once we arrive at our chosen spot.

‘I found we were endlessly opening and closing boxes trying to look for items or shift boxes around to make space for the kids to sleep comfortably. I was growing tired of having to deal with zips and flaps and bugs and the weather impacting our down time too.

‘I saw a renovated caravan pop up on Facebook Marketplace and I could instantly see how our family could benefit from having a setup that was ready to go.’


When Bianca showed her husband the online ad, he wasn’t on board – and sadly, within 24 hours the dreamy van had been snapped up.

But that interaction sparked a real craving – so the couple moved quickly to instead buy an old Millard van the next day, despite having no experience doing up any sort of vehicle.

Thankfully, there were plenty of online tutorials to help the couple, who have three children, out.

Soon after the van was theirs, the family set to work on doing everything from painting to reupholstering, for a grand price of just £1,590.

And they did a great job, turning the caravan from dated and meh to a gorgeous home-on-wheels.

‘It was in excellent condition for her age and part of me felt guilty for pulling out the wild orange and brown vintage decor,’ said Bianca. ‘We checked for water damage (we did find a bit more once we got her home, unfortunately) and the condition of the cupboards, fixtures and electrical.

‘We determined that our project would be mostly cosmetic with some straightforward additions so we thought we would be able to tackle it.

‘We have renovated a house but we knew nothing about caravans – thank goodness for Google and online tutorials! Given that it wasn’t a complete rebuild we managed to complete most of our project in six weeks.

‘It was almost a Christmas miracle given that I am a teacher and it was report season and my hubby is a teacher union official in full campaign mode for improvements to teachers’ pay and conditions.

‘We also have three kids who keep us on our toes.

‘As a former Design and Technology teacher, Bert is very handy and did all of the construction while I was on planning, painting and styling. We made a good team!’

The parents are thrilled with the end result of all their hard work.

‘It is such a beautiful space to be in,’ Bianca said. ‘It’s light, bright, airy and spacious. We can sleep five of us in comfort.

‘Having Daisy Duke means that we can get away whenever we want or need. It also gives me a space to work away from the madness of the house. I like taking my laptop in there and working in the space.’

To other considering a similar van renovation, Bianca offers some advice.

‘For safety, Google videos on weight distribution and how this affects your towing,’ she recommends. ‘Try to keep your weight at the front.

‘Don’t forget to factor into the budget a fire extinguisher, first aid kit and any tools you might need for the road. Check for asbestos before you start demolition.

‘For inspiration, follow other van reno accounts on social media. I’d like to say that all of our ideas are original but most of them are not. Daisy is an amalgamation of many ideas we have looked at and tried to recreate in our own way.

‘Don’t be afraid to reach out to other fellow van renovators with questions on how to tackle something. Learn from others and share with others.

‘To stay on budget, recycle whatever you can. It saves the planet and saves you money.

‘It also keeps some of the history alive and injects some personality into a vintage can. We like to shop locally where we can: online purchases often proved to be cheaper for items. I did get some of the decor off buy, swap and sell sites quite cheaply.

‘It is pretty satisfying stepping back and seeing something you’ve created yourself. There is no way we could afford a van that was fully renovated or brand new ourselves!’

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