A young couple has transformed a rain-damaged, ant-infested rundown 1985 caravan into a gorgeous modern home on wheels.
Kaylah Shannon Pontin, 26, and husband Dylan Patrick, 29, bought the Ever New Pop Top caravan from her dad’s neighbour after it had been left idle in the front yard for more than 20 years.
The dilapidated van needed a complete overhaul with nothing but the external walls and chassis salvageable after being eroded by wet weather and an ant infestation.
Inside there were outdated cabinets and fittings that needed to be stripped out and replaced to return the mobile home, named Sandy, to its former glory.
The crumbling van took 10 months to renovate and cost the Melbourne couple $10,000 with final details still to be done.
Kaylah Shannon Pontin and husband Dylan Patrick Pontin bought the Ever New Pop Top caravan named ‘Sandy’ from her dad’s neighbour after it had been sitting in the front yard for more than 20 years
Dylan, an electrician, and Kaylah, a stay-at-home mum caring for their one-year-old daughter, worked on the van out of hours and at weekends.
‘We purchased the van in December 2020 and due to the Victorian lockdowns, it has been hard to get supplies and not having work has made it tough for the financial side of things,’ Kaylah said.
The couple used supplies from Bunnings Warehouse to keep costs down, but also bought products from eBay, Carac Caravan Supplies, Spotlight, Amart and Adairs.
BEFORE: The old van originally looked rundown and the interior was decked with outdated cabinets
AFTER: The transformation brought the vehicle into the modern era with white cabinets, rattan details and gold handles
The couple researched how to complete the caravan DIY renovation job by watching YouTube tutorials.
‘When we first purchased this van, we knew we were going to have to start from scratch again,’ Kaylah said.
‘There was just no way that any parts except for the external walls and chassis we could re-use.’
The couple installed new flooring, walls, insulation and built overhead cupboards and the entire kitchen themselves.
They also had to replace the ceiling, electrical wiring and hand made the seating cushion.
A new fridge and microwave were bought to use too.
The couple started be demolishing everything inside, ripping up the flooring and walls to work from the ‘blank canvas’ frame.
Next, they started framing the bed and bench seat and sanded down the whole wooden surface, which took some time to complete.
‘We started losing motivation as we didn’t expect it to be this much hard work and felt like our project was getting nowhere but then we finally got up to corking and painting stage,’ Kaylah said.
‘It was like a breath of fresh air seeing white walls, after seeing that we had never been so determined to finish before lockdown ends.
‘We designed our cupboards/ overhead faces and built all this from scratch as well, next came the bench top and everything started to look like what we had envisioned.’
The Melbourne couple started be demolishing everything inside and ripped up the flooring and walls to work from the ‘blank canvas’ frame
The handy couple installed new flooring, walls, insulation and built overhead cupboards and the entire kitchen themselves
Minor touches from the gold doorknobs to the rattan overhead lining on the cupboards brought the design to life and added a stylish touch.
The couple said they faced only a few challenges as ‘a lot of planning and communication’ was executed throughout.
‘So much hard work and time has gone into this – hopefully one day down the track we will buy a bigger caravan for our next renovation,’ Kaylah said.
‘It has been a fantastic experience for us to do something we have never done before and for anyone that is wanting to do something similar, it is possible’.
‘The satisfaction of seeing all our planning and hard work come together, it was so worth our time and money.’
They also had to replace the ceiling, electrical wiring and drink and hand made the seating cushion
To keep costs down, the couple used supplies from Bunnings Warehouse but also bought products from eBay, Carac Caravan Supplies, Spotlight, Amart and Adairs
The young family hope to take the caravan on the road now that Melbourne’s Covid-19 lockdown has ended and are planning to drive to Bright – 324km northeast of the CBD.
‘Since the lockdowns we have really thought about how much we have taken our freedom for granted and how much we want to travel and show our daughter what it’s really like to enjoy everything Australia has to offer but by car,’ Kaylah said.
The adventurous pair are also considering renting the renovated caravan out on AirBnB once lockdown ends.
They have been documenting the journey on Instagram under the name @_sandythecaravan.
WHERE DID THE COUPLE BUY THEIR SUPPLIES?
Adairs – for décor
Carac Caravan Supplies
Spotlight- for material to make the cushions from scratch
Amart – for the foam and mattress
Stick on luxury – for the adhesive stick-on splash back tiles in the kitchen
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