Vintage Styling

Now you've learned how to look after your classic caravan, now you can seek some advice on how to create the perfect vintage look. Here are a few tips on styling - you can click on the images to enlarge them. I welcome any other tips from blog visitors along with your images, please comment at the bottom of this page.

Also be sure to check out the new Collector's Corner. Here is a small section where I will keep posting original images of vintage caravans to give you some inspiration. Scroll down this page and you'll find it.

BUNTING                                                                 COST: few £'s     DIFFICULTY: 1, Easy

Bunting originated in the UK shortly after the War and became synonymous with village fete’s and summer parties. The vintage caravanners of the UK took it on as something that is associated with holidays and summer; as a result you’ll see it in most UK classic caravans. Bunting is one of the most charismatically vintage items you can own. You can buy it from vintage craft shops but you can easily make it yourself to any size, shape, length and pattern.
Typical English Bunting is typically in an isosceles triangle shape, hung upside down from a piece of string. You can make the flags out of anything; material, card, paper, prints etc. Simply make a template from card and select your material. When making the template, remember to leave an area at the top to hang over the string. A template can be ay size or triangle variation. Draw around the template onto your material and cut out. You can then fasten your flags to a piece of string and space them out accordingly. Depending on the material used, you can attach the flags to the string by folding over the top part and either sewing, gluing or sticking it to the other part of the flag. See the drawing below for some ideas.


For something a it different, you can make double sided bunting and can even make your own pattern. You can either find some vintage wallpaper and stick it to thick paper or card or can create your own patterns if you're the arty sort! You can even sew each flag individually with a pattern, image or by sewing an additional part on such as buttons, badges etc. Whatever you decide, bunting is a must for creating the vintage look.


KITCHENWARE                                                             COST: few £'s     DIFFICULTY: 1, Easy
Cutlery is a vital part of any caravan, in a vintage caravan you can get creative with it and you'll be surprised at how cutlery can really finish off that vintage look. You can buy genuine vintage kitchenware from Vintage Shops, Charity Shops and eBay for very little money. There are literally thousands of styles, shapes and sizes to choose from, so you can choose some that suit the look of your caravan. As vintage is making a bit of a comeback, some designer shops such as John Lewis and Debenhams have vintage ranges but bear in mind these items may cost considerably more than their second hand counter parts.
There are many ways in which you can involve kitchenware as part of the vintage look, without shoving it all in a draw, reserving it only for mealtimes. Try purchasing a few mugs/cups. You can buy either a set or mis-matching ones on all different shapes and sizes work well. Either arrange them on a shelf or you can screw hooks underneath kitchen cupboards to hand them from (see image below). Both of these ideas are really simple yet very effective. Another good idea is Tea, Coffee and Sugar pots. These sets have been around for years and form an essential part of a household kitchen - so why not your caravan? Some really good 'shabby chic' ones can be found in most shops nowadays and sets can be found on eBay for as little as £5. These look great just sat on the side in the kitchen or on a shelf.
Another effective yet simple idea is the good old fashioned tea set. 'Elevenses' is a dying tradition and was an essential part of 1940's-1970's Britain! A stylish simple tea set can be found in many shops and second hand shops usually have a decent selection. Arrange them somewhere obvious but out of the way such as on a table or on a worktop. It is a good idea to have some sort of cutlery store on show. Open baskets work well and so do pots and jugs. One idea is to get a small wooden box, divide it into two, store cutlery in one half and multiple folded tea-towels in the other half (see drawing above). This looks great placed on the kitchen worktop and can be quite convenient too.
There are literally hundreds of ideas you can try, just be creative. Post some of your own ideas and I'll feature them on this page.

ORNAMENTS                                                                    COST: few £'s     DIFFICULTY: 1, Easy
Obviously, one of the best ways to get the vintage look is to adorn the caravan with vintage items. Be careful though, too many can make your small space look cluttered. As your caravan is only a small space, it is advisable to make vintage ornaments not only decorative, but useful too.
Lamps are an excellent addition to any caravan. They provide warm down lighting at night and look decorative too. You can easily buy a basic lamp for a few pounds, and you can customise it by changing the shade and decorating it yourself. As you can see in the image, I have used a small teapot for decoration, you can use something similar. Vintage teapots adorn vintage shops and vintage websites alike, the caravan teapot in the image is from The Teapottery, and they manufacture specialist caravan shaped teapots among others. You can use any vintage items to decorate your caravan, shop around to see what suits it best.
In caravans there are many small spaces such as shelves which can be filled with items. These places are useful but can look cluttered - keep it simple. The small display above highlights this. The shelf stretches the width of the caravan, but this little display takes up just the middle part. Attention is drawn to it if you do this. If you wish to fill an area, use similar items and keep it consistent. Remember that items look better and more balanced in odd amounts.

FURNISHINGS                                                         COST: few £'s     DIFFICULTY: 2, Moderate
A vital part to any vintage caravan is the furnishing. The likelihood is that your vintage caravan has its original interior. However it may be vintage, but maybe is looking a bit tired after years of use. The good news is that there are many companies that offer upholstery re-covering services for caravans. You can get all of the seats recovered professionally from around £400. Don't forget, if you're handy with a sewing machine, you can make your own covers to slip onto the original covers.
If the interior of your caravan doesn't need attention, then scatter cushions are a great idea. You can make your own covers, but vintage style cushions from shops are plentiful. Soft furnishings can really make the caravan 'yours'. Curtains are an easy addition to a classic caravan. You can easily cut the material yourself and add new curtain hooks to the window frames. Also try out a new carpet. It can be laid on top of the old carpet if you don't wish to replace it. You might struggle to find new carpet that looks vintage, so a plain colour is acceptable. Choose something that ties in with the rest of your vintage theme. Vinyl flooring is another good idea. Chequered tiles are quintessentially 1950's and look great in caravans. If you don't wish to change the furnishings, then you can always simply add touches such as curtain ties just to tidy them up a bit. Another excellent addition to a vintage caravan is a Crochet blanket. These often turn up new on eBay for less than £5. Even small changes like these will make your caravan feel totally different.





With such a wealth of back issues of magazines from the 1950's to the present day, I thought it would be nice to share some of the interesting memorabilia I've collected over the years. Here you will find many articles, images, publications, adverts and items from days gone. Hopefully it will be of some interest. Keep checking as I will update this page weekly! *You can click on the images to enlarge them* (All images are copyrighted to me unless stated)

"CHELTENHAM CARAVANS 1966" - Brochure, 1966
Cheltenham caravans were a well established firm by the mid-1960's, proving popular with many caravanners. Renowned for their unique design and excellent build quality, Cheltenham's were built to last and many have to this day. This model is the two berth 'Sable' complete with two entrance doors and the total weight of the caravan being 648kgs. Here it is parked in a typical country scene - complete with 1960's hairstyles!

"SPRITE TOP THE 100 mph MARK" - The Caravan, 1964
This vintage article shows that caravans aren't slow! It is reporting the new world record attempt made my Sprite to establish a world speed record for touring caravans. The attempt was successful and wasn't broken until 1985. This stunt not only proved that caravans are far from slow, but also proved the durability of Sprite touring caravans, increasing sales the following year.

"CAR CRUISER CAROUSEL" - Brochure, 1964
The Car Cruiser brand had been around since way before the War. Specialising in streamlined, lightweight tourers. Towards the 1960's, Car Cruiser developed a reputation for building top of the range luxury caravans which were hugely popular with caravan buyers. This is a Car Cruiser Carousel EK, complete with two entrance doors (one to the bathroom) and 'boated' roof.

"5 WAYS TO MAKE CARAVANNING MORE ENJOYABLE" - Caravan Magazine, 1964
This article praises the uses of Velcro in the modern touring caravan. Click on the image to read the article advertising Velcro - that by 1964 would have been a fairly new product. Although the article may be old, the uses for Velcro still apply today!

"SPRITE - SPACE PLANNED INTERIORS" - Sprite Caravans Brochure, 1965
This shot shows the interior of the 1965 Sprite 400. The 10ft four berth certainly packed a lot into such a tiny caravan. The colours featured are very typical of this era and hopefully this image may provide some inspiration for your 1960's tourer.

"THE REMARKABLE SPRITE 400" - Sprite Caravans Brochure, 1965
Here's a great image of the 1965 Sprite 400 with a Hillman Imp - the ideal towcar for this tiny tourer. Weighing in at 11 and 1/4 cwt (573 Kgs) the 400 was certainly lightweight. Sprites were made with a timber framed body, hardboard interior and aluminium exterior panelling and insulated with glass fibre. This couple are enjoying a spot of lunch in an open field as in 1965 "casual camping" was still permitted where you could pitch up anywhere you liked.

"STREAMLITE SPRITE MAJOR" - Alperson Products Brochure, 1953
By 1953, Sam Alper had been producing caravans for just four years and his new "Streamlite Sprite" range was proving increasingly popular. Affordable, durable and lightweight the Sprite Major bought caravaning to the realms of many who began to see caravanning as a fantastic cheap holiday. This painted scene is not too far from the reality of the camping world in 1953. Casual Camping was still legal in Great Britain, meaning that you could pull up pretty much wherever you wanted to stay the night.

17 comments:

  1. I love this posting!! I have made a few mini buntings which are a lot of fun too.

    Hugs!

    Annie
    www.lazyjoranch.com

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  2. What a *fabulous* site! I've just bought a shabby old Sprite 400 and can't wait to get renovating it :) Thanks so much for all the info!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Zelda, thank you for the feedback, I hope you find all you need here. If there's anything else you need to know, don't hesitate to ask! All the best for renovating your caravan :)

      Regards, Cameron.

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  3. What an excellent site - the servicing tips are particularly useful - Many thanks and keep up the good work - Steve

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  4. just found this site. I have just got a 1970's Thompson Glen T line 10ft caravan. I have so far replaced some of the wooden framework and re-sealed the roof join (hoping its water tight now). While it is covered I am trying to sort the soft furnishings but am so struggling on colour scheme, the foam needed replacing and there are no curtains, any ideas pleeeese
    I have made a bunting
    Carol

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    Replies
    1. Hello Carol,
      Apologies for only seeing your question now, I don't know how your question slipped though the net, but I will answer it now.
      In terms of a colour scheme; it's totally up to you. There's no do's and don'ts. However, all of us who have already sorted an interior scheme out will confess that we looked around for a lot of interest before deciding! So you are not alone. I suggest joining the website Pinterest. There's literally tons of inspiration there for interiors of both houses and caravans. Just find something that you like the look of and then search for similar material.
      An alternative route to take is to pick a theme. Something like 1950's Beach House, Hunting Cabin, White Room, 1970's Holiday etc... and work on that. Pick accessories, look at pictures, read books that all demonstrate a chosen theme and you will find that as soon as you set the ball rolling, the rest will fall into place.
      Hope this helps.
      Kind regards,
      Cameron.

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  5. i have a 1971 sprite alpine-16ft., body length 12.7 ft. it is in original condition. gas stove, sink,furnace, all in working condition. interior and exterior are EXCELLENT! GOOD TIRES,GREAT SPARE. AWNING INCLUDED. ANY IDEA WHAT THIS CARAVAN IS WORTH ON TODAYS MARKET?????

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    1. In excellent original condition, a 1971 Sprite Alpine would be worth somewhere between £400 and £700 depending on the market. You would get the highest price for your caravan on an auction website such as eBay

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    2. Cameron, thanks for the info. i live in wisconsin, u.s.a and noone here knows anything about the sprite series. this is such a wonderful {CAMPER] CARAVAN. i was lucky enough to pick it up used, but in great condition.. again thank you for your help. Dennis

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    3. Hi Dennis,
      I didn't realise that you have a rare U.S. manufactured Sprite, that changes everything! These are the most successful British exports ever established in America. That said, Sprite struggled to gain acceptance at the time as their caravans were vastly different and significantly more advanced than American built trailers at the time - which surprisingly put buyers off. That said, imports (which were actually assembled in America) lasted from 1969 - 1974 before Sprite pulled out of the American market.
      A 1971 Alpine fully restored is easily worth $1200 - $2300 of anyone's money! You're really lucky to find one in great condition too, which only adds to the value.
      Kind regards,
      Cameron.

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    4. CAMERON, YOU HAVE BEEN SO HELPFUL. WOULD IT BE POSSIBLE FOR ME TO SEND YOU SOME PICS OF THE SPRITE SO YOU AND MAYBE SOME OF YOUR MEMBERS CAN SEE IT? PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF THIS IS POSSIBLE AND HOW TO GO ABOUT IT. AGAIN THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME AND EXPERTISE. DENNIS

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    5. Hi Dennis,
      No worries, you can send the images to me at cameron.39@hotmail.co.uk
      Kind regards,
      Cameron.

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    6. CAMERON, THANKS AGAIN FOR YOUR KINDNESS. I WILL TAKE SOME PICS AND SEND THEM OVER!!!!! WOW CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT YOU ALL THINK. DENNIS

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  6. Hi there we brought a 4 berth abbey somerset for £200 which is in very good working condition and we have painted and shabby it. However on the front there are some cracks in the plastic. Could you suggest the best way to repair these. Thank yiu

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  7. Thank you for the wonderful blog. It is indeed informative and useful We are into the same business. For know more about us, please visit Caravan hire Western Australia today.

    ReplyDelete
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  9. Hello from Spain.
    We have a 1970 400 CI Sprite Export (France)(Restored)
    I'm looking for white window capping trim in 5.5 cm for the front and rear wall.
    Where I can find that rare measure?
    Greetings from Spain.
    Miguel Ribes

    ReplyDelete