Stunning DIY moldy caravan makeover pulled off by couple in £7,000 project


DIY projects proliferated during lockdown, but one couple went as far as to makeover their moldy caravan.

Aussie couple Ashley and Justin Broad shared that a professional job would’ve cost three times their DIY.

The project gave their worse-for-wear caravan, which stunk of old cigarettes and alcohol, a new lease on life.

Sydney-based Ashley and Justin, aged 35 and 36, spent $13,000 AUD (£7,000) all in all.

The parents-of-two shared their stunning DIY with the money-saving Facebook group DIY On A Budget UK, the Mirror reported.

Ashley and Justin told money-saving Facebook group DIY On A Budget UK : “We always had a dream of renovating a vintage van.

Interior of dilapidated caravan
The caravan before

Interior of stylish caravan with white cabinets, wood flooring, bunk bed
The stylish DIY after

“We have two very active boys aged eight and 13, and we wanted to create a home on wheels that could take us on adventures for years to come.

“In 2019, before Covid hit, the opportunity arose and we picked up the old girl quite cheap.

“Our old girl clearly had had a rough past. She stunk of old cigarettes and booze… The van had obvious water damage and mold covered the walls.

“We decided to totally strip the inside out and start fresh but we really wanted to keep the vintage feel.”

Ashley and Justin started by water-proofing their caravan by removing all the J-Rails and scraping off all of the old silicon and tar paint from the seams. They then resealed it.

The pair also replaced the Perspex in all of the windows, and bought new window control boxes, locks and rubbers from Caravans Plus.

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Bunk beds in caravan
The caravan’s bunk beds are perfect for their two sons

They decided to keep all of the original hinges, doorknobs and light fittings to keep a vintage feel, and so that they could be reused.

“Thankfully the chassis was in really good condition so it didn’t require much work at all,” said Ashley and Justin.

“We used a mate who was an electrician who re-wired the whole van with 240V and 12V. We also used another plumber mate who re-did all of the plumbing.

“We then insulated the walls and ceiling with foil board and re-sheeted the walls with 3mm ply.

“We used ply as it’s lightweight and it doesn’t swell too easily if it comes into contact with water because we all know caravans leak from time to time.”

Bench with storage to the left of bunk beds
The couple added plenty of storage in their caravan makeover

For extra protection on the ceiling, Ashley and Justin used an embossed poly ply.

The original layout had two lots of double bunks at the back and a double bed at the front – but the couple decided to ditch one set of bunks and add a cassette toilet instead.

“A toilet was super important to us, it definitely comes in handy with the kids during the night. We also added an outdoor shower,” they said.

“We have a Joolca Ensuite Tent which got a lot of use when camping during Covid times as we were able to avoid shared amenities blocks.

“Before we started framing we carefully ripped up the old vinyl flooring. When doing this you need to keep in mind asbestos is often found in the glue.

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“We replaced the vinyl flooring with a sheet vinyl from Bunnings. All of the framing was done using lightweight ply and meranti timber.”

Stylish kitchen with white cabinets and wood countertops
Ashley and Justin added a chic new kitchen

Thankfully, Justin is a shop fitter by trade so he was able to use his tools of the trade to make everything.

Nothing was factory-made and everything was cut by hand in their garden.

Other jobs they completed included adding extra storage, painting, removing the kitchen over and worktop and installing new window furnishings and blinds.

They also had to purchase essentials like mattresses, cushions and materials for the upholstery.

“The whole project took us two years to complete. Covid lockdowns helped us along as it allowed us more time to work on it,” said Ashley and Justin.

Man doing DIY
Justin took on large parts of the project himself

“When you think a job is going to take five minutes it ends up taking two hours.

“It cost us approximately $13,000 (£7,174) it was a labor of love.”

“The approximate costs were $900 (£498) for the electrical rewiring, $600 (£332) for the plumbing plus materials, $150 (£83) for the flooring, $3,000 (£1,660) and for building materials such as the cabinetry and framing .

They spent a further $1,200 (£664) for the paint and painter, $500 (£276) for the windows, $450 (£249) for the waterproofing, $350 (£193) for the insulation, $750 (£415) for the toilet , $1,439 (£797) for the fridge, $900 (£498) for the bumper bar.

Other costs include $2,000 (£1,107) for the blinds, curtains and shutters, $800 (£442) for the mattresses and cushions, $450 (£249) for the hatches and $150 (£83) for the upholstery.

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Exterior of caravan with two chairs on rug in front
The finished caravan is a home on wheels

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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