A young couple has transformed a rain-damaged, ant-infested, dilapidated 1985 caravan into a beautiful modern home on wheels.
Kaylah Shannon Pontin, 26, and husband Dylan Patrick, 29, bought the Ever New Pop Top caravan from her father’s neighbor after sitting in the front yard for more than 20 years.
The derelict van needed a complete overhaul with nothing but the exterior walls and chassis salvageable after being hollowed out by wet weather and an ant infestation.
Inside, there were outdated cabinets and fittings that had to be removed and replaced to bring the mobile home, named Sandy, back to its former glory.
The crumbling van took 10 months to renovate and cost the Melbourne couple $10,000, final details yet to be done.
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Kaylah Shannon Pontin and husband Dylan Patrick Pontin bought the Ever New Pop Top caravan called ‘Sandy’ from her father’s neighbor after it stood in the front yard for over 20 years
Dylan, an electrician, and Kaylah, a stay-at-home mom who cares for their one-year-old daughter, worked on the van after hours and on weekends.
“We bought the van in December 2020 and because of the Victorian lockdowns it was difficult to get supplies and the fact that we were out of work made it difficult financially,” Kaylah said.
The pair 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BEFORE: The old van originally looked dilapidated and the interior was decorated with outdated cabinets
AFTER: The transformation brought the vehicle into the modern era with white cabinets, rattan details and gold handles
The couple explored how to get the job done to renovate the caravan themselves by watching YouTube tutorials.
“When we first bought this van, we knew we had to start from scratch,” Kaylah said.
“There was just no way we could reuse any parts other than the exterior walls and chassis.”
The couple laid new floors, walls, insulation and built wall cabinets and the entire kitchen themselves.
They also had to replace the ceiling, replace the electrical wiring and make the seat cushion by hand.
A new refrigerator and microwave were also purchased to use.
The couple began to demolish everything inside, tearing open the floors and walls to work from the “blank canvas” frame.
Then they started framing the bed and sofa and sanded the entire wooden surface, which took some time.
“We started to lose motivation because we didn’t expect it to be that much hard work and we felt like our project would not pay off, but then we finally got to the corking and painting,” Kaylah said.
“It was like a breath of fresh air to see white walls, having seen that we had never been more determined to be ready before the end of the lockdown.
“We designed our cabinets/tops and built this from scratch as well, then the worktop came along and everything started to look the way we imagined.”
The Melbourne couple started to demolish everything inside, tearing open the floor and walls to work from the ‘blank canvas’ frame
The handy couple has installed new floors, walls, insulation and built wall cabinets and the entire kitchen themselves
Small details, from the golden door knobs to the rattan cladding on the cabinets, brought the design to life and gave it a stylish touch.
The couple said they only faced a few challenges as there was “a lot of planning and communication” going on.
“So much hard work and time has gone into this – hopefully one day we’ll buy a bigger caravan for our next renovation,” Kaylah said.
“It’s been a fantastic experience for us to do something we’ve never done before and it’s possible for anyone who wants to do something similar.”
“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 booze, and make the seat cushion by hand
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 hopes to be able to take to the road with the caravan now that the Covid-19 lockdown in Melbourne has ended and plan to drive to Bright – 324km northeast of the CBD.
“Since the lockdowns, we’ve really thought about how much we take our freedom for granted and how much we want to travel and show our daughter what it’s really like to enjoy all that Australia has to offer except by car,” said Kaylah .
The adventurous couple are also considering renting the renovated caravan on AirBnB once the lockdown is over.
They documented the trip on Instagram under the name @_sandythecaravan.
WHERE DO THE COUPLE BUY THEIR MATERIAL?
Adairs – for decoration
Carac Caravan Essentials
Spotlight- for material to make the cushions from scratch
Amart – for the foam and mattress
Stick on luxury – for the self-adhesive, self-adhesive spatter tiles in the kitchen