Matt Sykes-Hooban - guest blog

17th June 2018


“Matt would you like to renovate an old caravan?”

“Sure why not, sounds like fun”

It was an odd request but I do like a challenge, I thought to myself how hard could it be? They do this sort of thing on TV programs all the time. It’s just case of ripping out the old, splash some paint around and fill with lovely new stuff, all pretty straight forward… Easy

After spending about an hour gutting the old 80s interior out of Perle, I was starting to get that slow sinking feeling that I may have bitten off more than can chew. As it transpired that a LOT can be wrong with an old caravan, the sticker in the window stating ‘sold as scrap’ was starting make a whole lot more sense now.

It is possible to have both wet and dry rot in the same place, it’s also quite possible to get wood worm in a caravan and what salt and rain can do to steel screws over time is pretty alarming. By the time all the decay and debris had been removed from Perle there was very little left but a rather sad looking empty shell full of holes. My learning curve for this project had just ramped up to near vertical.

But there is always light at the end of the tunnel, as Perle was stitched back together one tube of flexible sealant at a time, glimpses of what she would eventually become started to emerge. A major leap forward was once I had rebuilt the front end and repaired the windows and structural supports. She looked like a caravan again. This small victory was only slightly marred by putting my hand through the back window support not realising that the back was also as rotten as the front once was, just as I thought I was finished with the basic repairs.

Once the basic joinery was completed and the walls patched up painting could begin. The first coat of primer really transformed the interior into a bright and surprisingly roomy space. Once the final coats of paint had been applied and the flooring installed the renovation was really gathering pace. The tired 80s brown decor was finally consigned to history and replaced by a light, fresh calming scheme, of Echo (off white) and Turquoise.

Getting to grips with the design layout of the cabinet and wardrobe spaces was a taxing but enjoyable process, being able to create a small sideboard with 13 working draws in it was hugely rewarding as was finally seeing these draws and small cupboards begin to fill up with beautiful artefacts and memories.

The final step in the process was the exterior paint job. A lot of elbow grease, sanding scraping and filling got Perle ready for her new retro colour scheme. Once the paint started to go on we knew it was all going work out just fine. Adding the final touches of green trims and polishing the rubber seals, completed the renovation and Perle was looking mighty fine.

When you step inside Perle now you would never know how far we have come to get it looking as it does today but that all fine with me, what is important is the art and memories Perle contains, I am immensely proud of what the team has managed to put together, truly a lovely museum of memories.