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DIY Couple Transform Dull Caravan Into Stunning Space For Just £1,500

  • Candice Elrod, 35, and her fiance Darren Francis bought a caravan for £800 and transformed it for £1,500
  • The couple did everything from painting and decorating to plumbing and upholstery
  • They used budget materials from Aldi, IKEA, ebay, B&M, Dunelm, Primark, B&Q and Home Bargains
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Many of us spent lockdown making banana bread, doing YouTube workouts or trying to get through home-schooling.

But one DIY couple spent the enforced time at home by completing a jaw-dropping caravan renovation.

Candice Elrod, 35, a security officer from Newcastle upon Tyne, and her fiance Darren Francis, bought a caravan for £800 and soon set about transforming it into a stylish, modern space.

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The couple did everything from painting and decorating to plumbing and upholstery, using budget materials from Aldi, IKEA, ebay, B&M, Dunelm, Primark, B&Q and Home Bargains.

Candice told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk: "We've always loved to travel and with lockdown it became impossible.

"I had seen a few caravan renovations on social media and we decided to look at getting a caravan ourselves.

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"It seemed like an impossible task though: as soon as we'd arrange to view it would then be sold.

"This went on for weeks as I think everyone had the same idea!

"We bought the caravan in August 2020 and paid £800. We started work right away.

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"My fiance thought we were just going to give it a lick of paint and be away on our travels but I wanted to totally renovate it.

"We decided to try do the renovation ourselves to keep costs down, and since it was during the height of lockdown, professionals were booked months in advance, and I'm someone who wants things done yesterday! It was all exciting.

“My fiance was on furlough during lockdown so had time to work on the caravan. I worked throughout lockdown so I helped on days off.

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"We ripped out the bathroom unit as it was an awful yellow colour, chucked out the curtains and completely scrubbed it clean from top to bottom as the previous owners had kept it in storage and not been in use in over two years.

"Then we sanded all the surfaces in prep for painting.

"I used Frenchic's Alfresco range in Dazzle Me, Dusky Blush and Blackjack.

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"I'd previously used this paint on a few projects at home and loved the colours and finish of it.

"The cupboards and woodwork did take about four coats which seemed like an never ending task but we finally got there.

"I decided to use stick-on wallpaper in a dotty effect to fill on the insert of cupboards for a funky effect. I've always loved a print.

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"We decided to recover the seats ourself in a faux leather material, as I thought it would be easier to clean with having two dogs and would also give it a modern twist.

"I also managed to get matching curtains to the dotty wallpaper I'd used for the inserts of the cupboard doors so my friend who is a seamstress altered them to fit the caravan windows.

"I wanted the caravan to have a nice homely feel so I decided to hang voile drapes at the window in the dusky blush colour.

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"We'd completely changed the bathroom and used marble PVC cladding on the walls and fitted a new stainless steel sink in.

"The toilet looked very out of place with it being old and discoloured so I decided to paint it black.

"I also used to stick-on wallpaper to cover the dining area table so it matched in with the deco.

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"We did have a few issues with the water tank leaking but my fiance managed to reseal all the pipes himself.

“For the bathroom, I bought the cladding for £115, the sink for £40 and the mixer tap for £35, all from ebay.

“In the kitchen, I used heat resistant stove paint to the spray cooker and sink. I used four tins which cost £20 from ebay, and the stick-on tiles cost £15 from Home Bargains.

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“The lighting was £45 from ebay, the crystal door handles were £20 from ebay, and the faux leather seating was from ebay for £145.

“I bought the stick on wallpaper, curtains and bedding from Dunelm for £250, the laminate flooring from B&Q for £110 and the paint from Frenchic for £100.

“I bought £130 of cushions from Primark, George and B&M, floor rugs from B&M for £15 each, faux sheepskin rugs from Dunelm for £13 each, a gold lamp from IKEA for £15, and the black kettle, toaster and microwave from George for £100.

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"My fiance made the heater cover and the glass grid mirror on the door was from IKEA for approximately £20.

"Aldi Special Buys is a good place to look for stuff - I got shatterproof glasses for £5 and inflatable sofas for £25 for the awning.

“In total, we spent about £1,500 on renovating. I did try and keep costs low but I sometimes got carried away with purchases!”

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Candice, who shares her adventures on Instagram at the_days_of_dottie, is over the moon with the look of her completed renovation, and is loving her trips away in her caravan.

“Anyone is able to give renovations a go and to just go for it,” she adds.

“It's hard work but so rewarding knowing that you've done it all yourself.

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"Since we've completed the caravan and had a few trips away, we now know what we're doing.

"I've joined a few caravan help sites on social media and people are so helpful and recommend good sites they've visited.

"For our first trip away we booked in overnight somewhere local so we could get used to setting up and towing. As total newbies we forgot our water barrel so had to use bottled water. It's all part of the learning process!

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"It's brilliant, other campers and caravanners are so friendly and it's lovely being able to get away and see new places. To be honest, I'm sad when it's time to come home!"

Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, comments: “Lockdown was a very terrifying time, and many of us got to grips with DIY projects as a great distraction.

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“Candice and Darren’s project is a wonderful example of what you can do when you work together and use hard work and creativity to pull off a mammoth project.

“If the couple had got contractors in, it would surely have cost much more than the £1,500 they paid.

“Their caravan looks marvellous, and it just shows that if you’re careful with the materials you select, buying budget-friendly products such as stick-on wallpaper, laminate flooring and affordable accessories, you can pull off an amazing transformation without spending a fortune."

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