It’s time to share the finished caravan! It’s been on Airbnb for a few weeks now and judging by the amazing words in the guest book it’s a huge hit. It’s located near Ashbourne with stunning views into the Peak District.
We stayed in it ourselves for a few nights to test it out too, with and without the kids. With its stunning views of Dovedale and pond side setting surrounded by nature and trees, it works beautifully as a romantic retreat or a family escape.
We went for a natural, wooden, Scandi theme in the end. So many themes were explored, from circus to vintage, but ultimately we decided it needed to reflect its beautiful setting.
The floor is where it all began, my friend whose mum is an amazing interior designer was saying her trick is always great floors and walls and then you have a blank canvas for anything.
The caravan floor is from Harvey Maria, we knew we wanted their luxury vinyl wood effect tiles again. They are plank shaped and beautifully capture premium wood effects, I used them in our last house in my home office and loved the look, the feel and the easy to cleanness of them. For this project we chose Sussex Oak, it’s a new addition to the collection, and brought a lovely warmth that we were looking for to the space, while complimenting the other natural woods in the space.
We used a mix of Sussex Oak planks to create a warm, but easy to clean space, and coloured and patterned tiles to create kitchen and bathroom zones within the space. We decided to go more open plan than an average caravan, we didn’t want to spoil the incredible views of the Peak District with lots of doors and we wanted life to feel fluid and easy for our guests.
The planks are incredibly robust, more so than wood, and are so easy to clean. They are tough and hard to dent so perfect for an Airbnb property with lots of guests and changeovers.
The kitchen uses Dee Hardwicke squares, Harvey Maria have a lovely range of colours for each design, so we went for Pear Tree Green to match the setting outdoors.
The tile colour also helped to dictate the caravan exterior colours too, which was super helpful as this was the part we found most challenging design wise.
The bathroom uses Little Bricks in Apple Green within the Sussex Oak frame used throughout the rest of the caravan. We wanted the bathroom to be comfortable and bigger than your average static caravan bathroom. Ripping the entire interior out to reclad and board the walls, which were dry and rot free, but poorly insulated, meant we were also free to redesign the room proportions and create a larger and warmer bathroom space. The bathroom tiles help to add to this feeling of space.
We didn’t want guests to have to keep moving tables and beds around so the double bed is fixed, then there are two sofa benches that become beds for children. Guests simply throw the bedding on the couches, no need to unfold a bed or move mattresses.
We wanted to try and squeeze three kids’ beds in but it created so many headaches. Caravan layouts are very much defined by the type of user, we had to accept trying to cater for one group of travellers could make the caravan less practical for other types of traveller and keep things simple. Over time we hope to extend the barn to cater for larger families.
We debated making the main bed fold out in the window space, so parents could sit have the view at night, before making their bed up, but then by the time kids are asleep it’s often dark anyway and couples are also frequent guests, wouldn’t they rather have the view from bed and then get up and sit down for breakfast?
There were so many things to weigh up. But it’s been great to see it work in practice too. Kids can wake up and watch the wildlife out the window, play cards at the drop leaf table or eat their breakfast at the table while still technically in bed.
Building upwards from the floor we installed kitchen units and found old drawers and cabinets at our local furniture recycling charity shop to install along the wall. There is plenty of storage and space to prep food. There are storage cupboards under the beds too, for travel cots, spare bedding or guests’ suitcases.
The caravan has central heating, is cosy all year round and is bookable via Airbnb.
Luxury Vinyl flooring supplied by Harvey Maria.