Outdoor Living

How to create an extra bedroom and holiday home

Michael and Carlene show how easy it is to create an extra bedroom and a holiday home in just one simple renovation.

As house prices soar, Australians are getting more and more creative with use of space. Current trends include the Tiny House Movement; granny pods, brat caves and fonzie flats to house multi-generational families; and now the humble caravan is staging a big comeback, as a very cost-effective way to add an extra spare room for guests and a lifetime of holidays, with just one reno.

Michael and Carlene Duffy, self-confessed caravan geeks, The Block’s alumni and most recently hosts of ‘Ready, Set, Reno’, have teamed up with White Knight Paints to completely renovate a vintage Viscount ‘van. The finished product, ‘Vonnie the ‘Van’, sleeps two adults and two kids, making it perfect for overnight visits from in-laws, owners looking to up their Stayz revenue and, of course, the growing numbers getting into caravanning as a great way to explore our country and coastline.

Taking inspiration from the stunning coastal bushland around their family home in Queensland’s Tallebudgera, Carlene developed a simple mood-board so they had a design and colour vision to work towards, using a palette of varying shades of green, offset by brass and gold fixtures.

She wanted to create a soft, relaxed, natural vibe; so, of the 1000’s of colours to choose from, opted for a muted green called Sussex paired with Crisp White as the two hero colours. Vonnie has ended up a fresh, calm, Palm Springs-inspired version of her retro roots, with just a touch of glam.

According to Michael, “Vintage ‘vans can be picked up quite cheaply, but most are in dire need of renovation, refurbishment and modernisation, which is where White Knight comes to the rescue. Vonnie the ‘Van had good bones but needed a lot of work – the metal exterior was on the verge of rusting, the interior laminate cupboards and kitchen-tops were straight out of the 60’s, and the old girl badly needed some new furniture.”

Carlene adds, “We applied all our home renovation skills to Vonnie’s makeover, which White Knight helped make simple and cost effective; from upcyling old furniture with Squirts, modernising the benches and cupboards with Laminate Paint, and bringing her exterior and chassis back to life with Rust Guard.”

With the right products, some TLC and hard yakka, Vonnie is now ready to cruise the coastline for many more years to come. Michael and Carlene have created a series of ‘how to’ videos to show viewers each step of the renovation.

This story was first published in The Fence magazine.