The retro caravan rebuild part 3: The interior

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In this third section in our series on restoring your vintage caravan, we look at rebuilding the interior and getting it ready for use.

To help you more easily see the scope of your caravan restoration, we’ve put together a list of tasks ranging from rebuilding the formwork to covering the cushions. Depending on the condition of your retro caravan, you can refer to the steps that are relevant to you.

Putting it back together

Remember, it’s a good idea to use professionals for any jobs that you can’t do. Call in the plumber, the electrician and the gas-fitter to check the installations and ask a family member who likes sewing to make your retro curtains and cushion covers while you get on with other tasks.

  1. Replace wall panelling, beds and seating.
  2. Rebuild shelving, cupboards and doors as required and put back into position.
  3. Sand and paint the walls, ceiling and cupboards. At this point, you will have to choose whether or not to follow the original scheme of your retro caravan. Typically, the interior colours reflected the exterior, so if you want to be faithful to the retro style, do so. You might, however, prefer to swap the dark woodgrain effect for lighter, painted panelling.
  4. Replace flooring. Retro linoleum might be difficult to source and costly to buy, but vinyl floor tiles in a checkerboard pattern are reminiscent of old-style lino.
  5. Fix the laminate onto the benchtops and table and re-attach the surrounds. Replace the splash back for the sink and stove.
  6. Put new rubber moulding on the windows to make sure you don’t get leaks when it rains.
  7. Hang new curtains and re-cover the seats. The old upholstery might be musty or in bad shape, so treat yourself to a couple of new foam mattresses and cut them to fit the seats and beds. Cover them with retro fabric that matches the paintwork and is consistent with the age of the caravan.

Add some ‘mod cons’

Fridges, stoves, toilets and showers have come a long way since the ’60s, so if you need to replace any of these, try to incorporate modern technology into your renovation.

You can hide a brand new chemical toilet quite successfully under a vintage-style wooden toilet seat, while a recreational vehicle (RV) fridge is designed to be durable and run on 12-volt power.

Most conventional globes can be replaced with LED lights, and you should be able to keep the original housing and style while benefiting from cheaper, more efficient lighting.

Vintage caravans are often small and dark, and you could probably install a skylight without compromising its lines.

Now that you have restored the interior, in the last of our series on rebuilding your vintage caravan we look at adding accessories  and getting it ready for registration.

You have cleaned up and refurbished the interior of your caravan, including removing any mould, and here are some ideas for keeping it out.


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