Before & After: A 1977 Camper Gets a Fresh Redo for About $8,500 (the Kitchen Is the Best Part)

published May 21, 2022
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Before: Interior of RV with brown walls, cabinets, and booth

Family heirloom redos are often well worth the sweat equity because they hold extra meaning. This lampshade rescue, this kitchen facelift, and this entire home renovation all prove the power of preserving something that runs in your family so that you, your family, or your friends can continue to enjoy it for years to come.

DIYer Lauren Garcia renovated her family’s 1977 Caravan (@marlowthemajestic) for the same reason. “I have fond memories as a child sleeping in the caravan with cousins and siblings,” Lauren says. “It has been in our family for over 30 years… For sentimental reasons, I felt I had to bring it back to life.”

Lauren became the owner of the Caravan in January 2020 started and revamping it around then. “It was a slow start,” she recalls. “We had never renovated anything before, so there was a lot of research involved before we began ripping it apart.”

She and her husband, Chad, demoed the “very 1970s-era-specific interior,” but kept the basic footprint with the long dining bench and the sleeping nook. It “needed a huge amount of work but had potential,” Lauren says.

They renovated the camper’s interior and exterior with help from other friends and family along the way. “My amazing cousin Simon painted the exterior for us, a friend of ours hooked up the gas, and our stepdad Tim gave us a hand almost every Saturday,” Lauren says. “It almost looks as though it’s a completely new caravan.”

They spent $12,000 AUD on the redo, or about $8,500 USD.

The “After” includes new cabinetry, a new wall divider for the larger bed, new suede cushions for the bench, and bunk beds to the left when you walk in.

The aqua paint color used throughout is Hayme’s Pitch Pine. “It’s such a soothing but fun color,” Lauren wrote on Instagram.

Lauren’s advice to anyone working on a DIY project: “Pick the colors that make you happy.” She says in her caravan redo, she loves how all the different colors and materials work together to create a gorgeous finished look.

One of the parts of the redo that was surprisingly easy was the adding the sheer curtains to the windows in the sleeping areas, Lauren says, because they were already cut to size. The curtains, plus the white Dulux paint in the small space, help to keep things light and airy (even with limited square footage).

Other small-space tricks to steal from the caravan? Lauren uses S-hooks to hang baskets and towels from from the wooden slat divider, the bench in the dining area doubles as built-in storage, and the woven pendant light allows even more airy light to shine through.

Overall, she’s pleased with the way everything came together.

“For the first few days after we had finished the build I couldn’t look at it without having tears in my eyes,” Lauren says. “I couldn’t believe what we were able to achieve on our own with very little help and with two small children in tow… It’s something we completed as a family and hopefully something my children will also cherish.”

This post originally appeared on Apartment Therapy. See it there: Before and After: A 1977 Camper Gets a Fresh Redo Inside and Out for About $8,500