As I’d mentioned in my previous/very first post, we’d always planned to live on site during our build for a number of reasons but mainly money! We have saved around £14,000 in rent and utilities by living in our little caravan!
Whilst we were really excited to channel our inner Grand Designs (but without the addition of Kevin; as if the prospect of what we were going to do wasn’t stressful enough, we didn’t need Kevin thrown into the mix!) I was less excited about living in a caravan in all their beige glory.
Whilst I don’t like their interior, I have every bit of respect for caravans and their compact ways. We knew what layout we wanted; a set of bunk beds on the left behind a pull out door rather than in the middle of the caravan, so we could have our little ones at one end in their own little section and try to at least pretend that all four of us weren’t going to be sharing a room. We were kidding ourselves, we are very much sharing a room, in fact, we all cook, sleep and shower in that one tiny room.
Our little ones were five and two when they moved into the caravan and being the summer born family we are, they both had their birthdays within weeks of the move, so age wise it’s probably the best time to do this, they still want to be near us, all the time! And definitely do not understand personal space which is a winner in their book that we all live in a postage stamp.
Being the proud owners of a gorgeous salmon/beige number, we set about turning her into the vision we had. Lesson number one; caravan walls are a nightmare to paint!
Thankfully I’d done my research and found out that the key to success is a primer based paint so that the paint will stick to the otherwise wipe clean walls. As soon as we started I regretted it. We were painting a caravan and juggling two little ones in the middle of February and it was so cold out there!
But it was oh so worth it. We went for white walls everywhere and bought some new matt black bar handles off eBay. We also decided the salmon, beige, brown checked covers had to go so I reupholstered all the sofa/bed cushions in a dark grey to hide all manor of living over the coming months.
I also added little extras to the childrens’ end to make them feel a little more at home. Lesson number two; caravan walls aren’t built to be screwed into! We learnt that the hard way when hanging the wire shelf and the screws popped out on the outside! Everything was fine and we just used a shorter screw but it was a good lesson learnt!
Our caravan in all its refreshed glory was wheeled around the back of Scrumbles into the garden where we’ve set up camp. Adjacent to our beloved caravan we also have an awning which we turned into our makeshift kitchen. We used the little fridge, an old carpet and shelving all taken out of the house and two sideboards we had for years to make the little space our home.
We also have a bell tent that we use as our sitting room/playroom which we kitted out with our old sofa and armchair that were also eBay finds years ago. Quite early on we bought an Outbaker woodburning stove which has been incredible at heating the tent and warming our little cockles!
Washing up at Scrumbles leads something to be desired, but it works. We wash up dishes outside under a parasol (so the birds don’t ruin our clean dishes!) and we have a chest freezer and washing machine set up in the garage. The washing machine water comes through a hose attached to the outside tap, that also fills the hose that runs down to the caravan, and the machine’s run off is into a trug that has to be emptied after every use.
We took both the washing machine and chest freezer out of the old house too which was fab as it was very important we spent the least possible on our little set up. The grand total came to £60 including paint and all the fabric as everything else we’re using was either ours originally or we took it out of the house before the building work began.
We’ve lived like this since May and will be here until hopefully December. It is a lot of fun and there’s a real beauty to living so closely with our children but equally it hasn’t been entirely plain sailing. We had a very wet summer when we thought it would be hot and sunny and we are now suffering with a big mould problem in the caravan and bell tent.
We have no personal space, including from the builders who love to think the best time for a two hour catch up chat is 7.30am when we’re trying to eat porridge and get the children ready for school and preschool and us ready for a days work. It is also wonderful and there’s a real magic to being cosied up in our tent, with the fire roaring, watching Strictly on our little laptop screen. Oh yeah, and we have no TV!