Home & Garden Woman, 49, converts an old caravan into a stunning home on wheels
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A woman has transformed an old caravan into a spectacular home on wheels - complete with a king-size bed, a dining booth and a modern kitchenette with an oven.
Hayley Bragg, from Queensland, purchased the 2004 Coachmen Mirada after she had plans to embark on an adventurous road trip with her husband around Australia.
But when the coronavirus pandemic hit, the 49-year-old self-employed brand developer decided to take on the DIY task of renovating the interior of the humble motorhome every weekend for the next six months.
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Following an extensive makeover, she converted the coachmen into the ultimate cosy escape after spending just $4,000 on upholstery, flooring, paint, repairs and furnishings.
Instead of gutting the caravan, the pair gave the motorhome dubbed 'Tookawyle' a new lease of life with a lick of paint, DIY tiles and splashbacks, new curtains and budget décor items.
'After months and months of hard work, we are finally finished the interior renovation of our motorhome. I'm so happy with the result. I just love it. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I also feel very satisfied,' she told Daily Mail Australia.
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'Hopefully soon all boarders will be open and we can start off on our road to anywhere.'
The couple had planned on travelling around the country with their two adorable mini groodles Bonnie and Henry before updating the caravan with modern touches.
'It was originally an A Class American motorhome that was imported and fully converted to Australian standards by the previous owners. We purchased it from them so we could travel first and then renovate it after,' she said.
'We were planning on leaving in April but then along came covid so we couldn't do our big lap of Australia so decided to use the time to renovate instead. I worked on it every weekend for about six months.'
During the renovations, the couple were able to save a fortune after taking on the DIY project themselves.
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The couple kept most of the vehicle's original layout but gave the old cupboards, bathroom, dashboard, bench and dinette table a lick of paint.
They replaced the bedside tables with a king size bed, installed a television screen in the bedroom, and removed the spare chair and added a desk and shelves.
'The double bed that was there was too small for us and the two dogs so we took out the shelves beside the bed and made a bigger bed space,' Hayley said.
'Instead of having a custom made mattress which was very expensive, we purchased two single mattresses and strapped them together with a bed joiner.'
In the bathroom, the pair replaced the vanity, tiled the toilet, and added a new splashback.
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They also added a new splashback in the kitchen, replaced all cupboard handles with DIY leather straps, recovered the couches, dinette and pelmets and installed a roller blind for the windscreen and new curtains for the side windows.
'The curtains I purchased were ready made and I cut the length to suit. Then I just re-hem them. I used the remnants from that to make the curtains for the pelmets. So I got all the curtains from just one pack of curtains,' she said.
'Instead of getting custom roller blinds, we bought standard ones and cut them down to fit. I bought leather straps from a saddler and cut the handles out. I used Chicago screws to attach to the doors and cupboards.'
Other renovations included installing new flooring, stereo and fans.
'We knew the dogs would be travelling with us so having carpet and cloth seats would have been a nightmare. We've made it liveable for us and our lifestyle while still having it look how we want,' she said.
Hayley said the biggest challenge they faced was renovating in tiny confined place.
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Once renovated, she styled the space using budget items, including a rug from Target, cushions from Kmart and towels from Spotlight.
'The absolute best purchase was the $25 non spill dog water bowl - it allows the dogs to drink whenever they want without spilling water everywhere,' she explained.
'Lots of the décor was from Kmart and Target. The desk was from eBay and I just replaced the handles to make it match.'
For those looking to revamp an old caravan, Hayley said the best way to keep costs down when designing the space is taking on the renovations yourself.
'Think outside the box and always have a go yourself,' she said.
'The quotes to paint the dash were very expensive so I just did my homework and then did it ourselves. Avoid custom made. Think of a way to do the same thing using standard items adapted to suit.
'Ask lots of questions from people who know. Most are happy to give advice and then you can have a go yourself. You'd be surprised what you can do if you just have a go. And remember - measure twice, cut once.
'Make sure you design the space to be practical and suit the audience. Also it's important to think about the functionality - a king bed was more important than a shelf beside the bed. And tell yourself it is possible. Just have a vision and be committed.'
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