Finder’s Fi

Back­yard car­a­van tips

Your Home and Garden - - Contents - Text by Fiona Ralph. Il­lus­tra­tion by Eve Kennedy.

Up­grade your out­door area by in­stalling a re­fur­bished car­a­van to use

as a re­treat, sleep-out, of­fice space or party-ready cock­tail bar

Got a spare sunny spot on your prop­erty? A car­a­van can be an af­ford­able and cre­ative so­lu­tion for use as an out­door of­fice, back­yard re­treat, art, mu­sic or writ­ing stu­dio, spare room, or even a cute bar like Darcy the Car­a­van Bar, pic­tured here.

If you are buy­ing a car­a­van solely for use in your back­yard, it won’t need to be war­ranted or road ready – this means you can po­ten­tially buy a cheap doer-up­per. Al­ter­na­tively, you may wish to in­vest more up front and buy one that is in great con­di­tion or has re­cently been re­fur­bished.

Trade Me has lots of car­a­vans for sale, and you can also check out busi­nesses ded­i­cated to sell­ing sec­ond­hand car­a­vans. Look for shapes, sizes and colours you like and that will suit the style of your house.

If you are want­ing to make your car­a­van a per­ma­nent struc­ture, you will likely need to put it on blocks or build a plat­form to sta­bilise it. Build­ing a deck off your car­a­van will also max­imise your liv­ing space, but you will need to check if you re­quire a build­ing per­mit for this.

Now for the makeover. If you need to re­paint the ex­te­rior of your car­a­van, this will re­quire a lot of strip­ping, sand­ing, and rust-proof­ing. When it comes to the ac­tual paint­ing, Re­sene of­fers a range of prod­ucts suited for this pur­pose. See one of their spe­cial­ists in store to find out ex­actly what you need for your par­tic­u­lar project. If bud­get al­lows, en­list­ing an au­to­mo­tive painter can be eas­ier than do­ing the job your­self.

In­side the car­a­van, use in­te­rior paints, and var­nish any wooden sur­faces. You could line the walls with ply­wood like Darcy here, or keep the orig­i­nal fit-out, restor­ing any Formica or linoleum. Dec­o­rat­ing is the fun part – hunt on­line for in­spi­ra­tion and scour vin­tage shops for ac­ces­sories.

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