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Thinking vintage? Polly Dolly shows you how to revamp a caravan

Hi, my name is Clare – aka Polly Dolly Vintage - and my favorite pastimes are spending time in my own vintage caravan, and working on revamping other retro caravans to sell. 
 
Owning a vintage caravan is a fantastic experience. Apart from attracting attention wherever you are parked up, it’s a great excuse to get away from all the mod cons and comfort of today’s modern caravanning. 
 
First steps to shabby chic heaven: Buying the caravan 
I would like to introduce you to my own personalised piece of shabby chic heaven, my very own vintage caravan.
 
restoring vintage caravans
 
I fell in love with the idea of owning a vintage caravan many years before eventually buying my own. I occasionally browsed through pages and pages on the Internet searching for vintage caravans but nothing wowed me until I saw “Polly Dolly”. I had always envisaged my own caravan being a sort of baby blue colour when in its restored condition, so when I saw Polly Dolly for sale in her original exterior colour of baby blue I knew I had to have her. 
 
She is a 1958 Alperson Sprite designed for use on the Continent. She is very rare with an unusual design compared to most Sprites. She has a door on each side and a double bed in the middle instead of the end. To be honest it is not the best design, which is probably why so few were built. But hey, she’s unique. I was already in love with her. 
 
The interior photos looked great, all original, and very retro and all it needed was a hint of my love for all things shabby chic. Although I really wanted her I needed to speak to the owner and ask a few questions. Was she roadworthy? Was she dry? Were there any damp patches inside? 
 
Be positive and be realistic 
You have to be open-minded and realistic when buying an old caravan. They are not perfect and you must be able to come to terms with this. Most problems can be easily resolved, but you have to be aware of your own capabilities. My advice is to be positive but realistic. 
 
My husband picked her up from the seller and brought her home but when I saw her for the first time in the flesh my heart sank. She did not look as good as she did in her photos. I actually felt slightly embarrassed for spending so much money on her. I really questioned what I had done and how I could turn her into something special. I was disappointed and slightly overwhelmed by the job in hand.  
 
Vintage caravan restoration
Due to her age she had no electrics and no water pipes (unless you slowly pumped the sink taps until running water flowed through). However she was in tact, with her original gas hob and grill. This model can sleep four, but I struggled to see how a family of four could sleep in a 12ft caravan - to this day I have never tried! 
 
The following day I decided to take her to a local campsite and spend the night in her. I wanted to bond with her and see what potential she had. I wanted to see if the ideas I had in my head, regarding colours, materials and design, would work and if they would justify her quirky beauty. That night I felt like we bonded and I fell in love with her again. I lay in bed in the dark, listening to the rain outside feeling safe and cosy. The following morning I could not wait to return home to start work on her. 
 
Watch out for Clare’s next blog post that will give more details on how to create a stunning vintage caravan. For more information visit http://pollydollyvintage.blogspot.co.uk/