After having an idea in my mind for a number of years, I found a vintage caravan with potential on Facebook Marketplace. I head over to have a look and decide to dive in and buy her. A 1964 Millard Caravan – an unfinished project of someone else. Exactly what my husband thought she would remain for me 😀 Purchase price = $2880
I had to tow her home with a tow truck because I refused to drive her unregistered although it was proven she was okay to be towed.
I knew she had a rusted chassis, but it was still strong and roadworthy just needed to be cleaned up and repainted. Above are the photos showing the state we got her in.
Many people thought I was crazy and that she would take months to come to life, but I am relatively determined and had a vision and got stuck straight in.
Everyone got stuck into the demo – my family, my nephew and friends. It was at this point that I realised the previous owner had tried to hide some leaks and damage. We had to replace some of the floor, the entire ceiling and the rear wall and part of one of the side walls. It wasnt pleasant finding them but I knew identifying leaks and ensuring that the van had no internal damage mattered more now and would save money in the long running correcting immediately.
Id decided to remove the wardrobe and after some deliberation removed the kitchen also as I believed Id get a more modern look and also a better finish with installing new kitchen cabinetry.
Demolition is something you can definitely do yourself if you are not handy. Be weary of electrical wiring and that you dont damage any of these lines.
I used Airtasker for alot of this work – alot of the messy time consuming work because I believed it was worth the money. Handyman/ Labourers are on the app and many of them are amazing.
We had one de-rust the chassis which took three days. My husband then treated it and then repainted it black. I recommend it may be better to take this somewhere, get it raised and sandblasted. Would have been quicker.
We had a carpenter redo the part of the floor we needed fixed aswell as the resheeting for the roof and walls.
It was at this point I was lucky enough to find a handyman who had a number of weeks available to commit to the project full time and this accelerated her into life a whole lot further. He was super handy, loved cars and automotive and was also a welder.
This meant that not only was the internal able to be completed, the same person could do majority of the rest of the work and link in with electricians and automechanics when needed.
We had window seals to replace, a whole lot of painting to get done (three coats), new floor to get down, new electrical wiring. We kept the original seating in check and just replaced the hinged parts with stronger wood.
Once we had the new kitchen in, the bed base built I was able to start concentrating on the layers. Now the week after I purchased her I had already gotten the foam cut and dropped off to a local upholsterer as I knew this would take time. I recommend getting your upholstery done by a professional – it looks amazing and will last a lot longer.
So this meant that I had quickly chosen the pattern and coloured upholstery. This then became the base for everything.
I was soo worried about painting the interior grey but I was convinced it would be worth it. So I did and I was in love. I had never done a full project like this in a small space but just felt like everything would come together.
We had the curtains made by someone local with fabric I had chosen from Spotlight.
The interiors were purchased from places like Spotlight, Target, KMart, Temple and Webster, Etsy, Oxfam, and Op Shops.
Lucy was going to be the Little Van of Big Ideas. She would be seen around Queensland and people would meet with mentors and ideas would come to life. She needed to be inspirational and fun and eyecatching.
I love black and white so we went with that in the design. I also love quotes and so I found an amazing sticker artist locally and we brought the concept in my head to life.
She turns heads wherever she goes and so many photos are taken of her and her words of wisdom.
The project took seven weeks to complete and I am absolutely in love with her.
This project would absolutely be cheaper if you are handy and did a lot of the work yourself. Here is a rough tally of the costs I can remember:
Chassis Repair $800
Foam Mattress and Seats $500
New brakes and tyres $2000
Electrical Work $250
Auto Electrican $900
Interiors – cushions, linen etc $2000