WITH Covid putting holidays abroad out of reach, staycations have never been so popular – and some are enjoying them in real style.
Stacey Solomon’s boyfriend Joe Swash spent a rumoured £45,000 on a VW campervan as a surprise for her.
It was kitted out with a shiny new combi oven, fridge, gas hob and sink.
The Loose Women star, 31, gave it a makeover, adding her own touches with some house plants.
A pop-up roof conversion and double bed at the back means there’s plenty of room for former EastEnders actor Joe, 38, Stacey, their one-year-old son Rex and three sons from previous partners.
Designing Daisy costs
- Materials/car trailer base/wood – £1,200
- David’s labour – £800
- Furnishings inside: Curtain and scatter cushion material – £20 off-cuts from Dunelm
- Sponge for seat cushions – £50, Amazon
- Lino flooring for winter – £30, eBay
- Artificial grass for summer – free from friend
- Battery-powered lights – £10, B&M
- Crochet wheel warmers – £40 for four, summer fair
- Fairy lights – £10, Poundland
- Under-seat remote-control strip lights – £5.99, Amazon
- Surfboard for decoration – £6.99, eBay
- Electric heater – £9.99, Tesco
- Toilet – £6, car boot sale
- Toilet tent – £12, eBay
‘I LOVE THE QUIRKINESS AND WOULDN’T SWAP IT’
While money might be no object for the celebrity couple, Sun reader Tracey Hetherington, 53, says a getaway home needn’t cost the earth.
She paid just over £2,000 to have her bespoke caravan — which measures 6ft long and 5ft wide — built from scratch by brother-in-law David Deluce, 47.
And savvy Tracey spent just £200 putting her stamp on the interior, picking up bargain buys from B&M, Poundland, eBay and at local car boot sales.
The army physical training officer has been on 30 holidays across the UK and Ireland on her own as well as with sister Heather, 43, and nephew Dylan, 11.
Tracey, who lives in Shotton Colliery, Co Durham, with her partner Louise Butcher, 50, a police officer, says: “You don’t need loads of money to make something amazing.
“Although it’s nice to have luxuries on your travels, I love the quirkiness of my caravan and wouldn’t swap it.
“It’s a very small shed on wheels. I named it Daisy and I can go anywhere at the drop of a hat. Louise likes her home comforts so I am yet to convince her to give it a try.”
The idea for the dinky creation came about when Tracey was looking to replace a static caravan she used to own.
She says: “I love being outdoors and I wanted to travel around more. I started looking around but even microlite caravans were too heavy to tow on the back of my mini.
“My sister Heather and her husband David love caravanning. When David offered to build me something from scratch I laughed.
“He’d built his own sauna in the garden and created fire pits from old gas bottles, so I knew he was great at the stuff, but I didn’t think he was serious.
“It quickly escalated from there. I told him I wanted something quirky and different to all the other caravans on the market.”
With a £2,000 budget set by Tracey, David, who works in quality and assurance at Nissan, used a car trailer as the base and began building the shell of the caravan out of pine.
Tracey says: “Space was limited, so I wanted storage under the seats and a cupboard for sleeping bags and pillows.
“It took David seven months to build because he did everything by hand using nothing but the tools he already had in his garage.”
As the project came together, Tracey started shopping for furnishings and used cash-saving shortcuts.
She says: “I went to Dunelm for off-cuts of fabric to make the curtains, the covers for the cushions, seating and bunting.
- SET a budget and stick to it. Spending only what you can afford means you will finish the project sooner.
- Choose quirkiness over luxury. Inexpensive touches add uniqueness and let you put your own stamp on it.
- Shop around rather than buying on impulse. You are bound to find another shop selling the same item cheaper if you do your research.
- Get creative and have a go at making curtains and cushion covers yourself. Alternatively, find a friend or family member who is a whizz with a sewing machine.
- Expect to make sacrifices. When money is limited, you will need to make some compromises to get your end result.
- Remember why you started the project. For example, you don’t need the flashest caravan on the campsite to make the best memories.
‘PEOPLE STOPPED TO LOOK’
“The lights came from B&M and I used eBay and Amazon for the small touches like a print on the wall and a decorative surfboard.
“The crochet wheel covers came from a local summer fair and cost £10 each. I used an iron-on webbing from Poundland to hem the curtains, and a friend made the seating covers. My sister did the cushion covers.
“For the floor, I bought a roll of silver tile-effect lino from eBay which I put down during winter because it wipes clean.
“In summer, I swap it for artificial grass which was leftovers from another friend’s garden project.
“Although I went slightly over the £2,000 budget for the whole project, the inside only cost me about £200.”
Tracey says towing the caravan for the first time gave her a real buzz.
She adds: “We drove through the local high street to a nearby campsite for the weekend. People stopped to look as we passed.”
The seating area converts to a queen-size bed, which means it’s even big enough for Tracey to share with both Heather and Dylan. The three of us have been away at least ten times over the past few years,” she says.
“There isn’t much room to move around but we swap it back to the seats the next morning.
“I cook outside on a small gas camping stove and there’s a drop-down table with a built-in sink. I have a whistling kettle which adds to the quirkiness.
“When I’m away I make sure I visit campsites with a shower block, but I do have a portable loo — which is basically a bucket with a lid on — inside a camouflage pop-up tent for night-time emergencies.
“I am so proud of how it turned out and love that I haven’t seen anything else like it. Better still, it didn’t break the bank and it’s saved me a fortune on hotels.”
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