Our beautiful friend Amy Ardlie, is a genius at all things renovating when it comes to caravans. Already onto her second mobile home, Amy lets us in on her top interior hacks on how to transform any tiny space into a both practical and comfortable home!
1. As a friend of Kip&Co, we’ve seen you dive into so many different creative endeavours over the last couple of decades. Can you give a little snap shot of your creative journey to date?
That is correct! I think I am one of those people that has tried a million different things in my life, in terms of jobs. My background is fashion and I did work in that space for quite a while, but soon moved onto creating my own very little stationary business. This then led onto me working for a big catering businesses helping put together creative concepts and all the fun party graphics that go with it, such as invitations, menus, names cards and signage. I left there to start up a jewellery business and more recently I guess I'm into interior design. I have been working with my husband (he is a builder) on renovating houses, we are up to our 3rd one and I just love it. I guess renovating caravans is kind of similar, but just on a much smaller scale.
2. What appeals to you about caravan life? When was the first time you ever went in a caravan?
To be honest we are not really caravaners, but I was excited by the idea of taking my mini house out on an adventure. We actually bought our first caravan before I had ever spent a night even sleeping in one. This sounds so ridiculous in hindsight, but we have always loved to travel and do road trips, so I felt caravanning would be an extension of this.
3. Can you tell us a bit about your first ever caravan? What are your top interior hacks that worked well?
This one is actually our second caravan / caravan renovation, so we have learnt a lot a long the way. One of the main things is caravans have to be light in weight. You are towing them from A to B so the lighter they are, the easier it is. Unfortunately you can’t go removing everything and replacing it with everyday cabinetry, tiles or floorboards as they would be too heavy, so it's a constant consideration when picking items for the interiors. Also, everything needs to be secure so it does not fall and break in-between travelling, we have learnt that rule the hard way. Luckily, I have found the cabinetry in old vans has always been done really well, it's made from lightweight materials and always has lots of room, so where possible I would advise to keep it. I have found with a new lick of paint and new handles, it always comes up looking pretty good. Ikea is amazing for storage solutions in tiny spaces, which works well for caravans too. I also think if you keep the walls, floor and ceiling pretty neutral you can then have fun, with the sheets, cushions, artwork etc.
4. This is caravan 2! It’s such an incredible one. What did you do differently this time around?
I am a bit hooked, I think I really love the renovation part and also the challenge of making a really tiny space both practical, comfortable and fun to be in. We have 3 kids, so sadly, we grew out of our last caravan. This time around we were looking for something a bit bigger to fit us all. I love that this one has sleeping areas at both ends. It did have heavy vinyl curtains to pull across and divide the room, but I feel our wooden dowel pole screen is a much better update. Our previous van was a massive reno, we pretty much gutted it completely and started all over again, where as this one was renovated not that long ago. So although we did have to replace some of the walls that had water damage, it was not nearly as big of a job to complete. My advice would to be to just take on what you think you are capable of.
5. As well as being used for your own adventures, you're planning to make the caravan available to the public to rent. Tell us how we can take a trip!
This is something we are planning on doing! We are considering having it set up permanently at one of our amazing local caravan parks on the beach on the Mornington Peninsula.