The owners, Mark and Charlotte Mabon, took on the renovation challenge themselves, doing much of the work with some friends and the seller, who let the couple park the vintage caravan on his property while it was being renovated. Before being drivable, the vehicle required a new axle, repaired chassis and a new tow-hitch and brakes.
Although they did have some professional help on the renovation, Mark helped as much as he could with the body work. Once the caravan was ready to roll, the couple installed new plywood flooring and worked to properly insulate the vehicle by removing the old aluminum skin and insulation and replacing it with an aluminum-coated bubble wrap material. An ex-NASA product, the material is lightweight and comes with good thermal properties.
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As for the interior, the couple decided to reuse all of the original material possible, and replace what they needed with second-hand Airstream-specific materials found at auctions. Charlotte used her handy sewing skills to turn old textiles into cupboard curtains and vintage grain sacks into roll-up blinds for all the windows.
After completing the work on their new fancy digs, it’s unlikely that the couple will go back to traditional living anytime soon. Mark told George Clark that the bold choice was invigorating, “We were really fed up with the rentals market, but it’s also true to say that we wanted to do something a bit bold. Renting felt so mediocre and not our life; we wanted to be closer to nature and connected to the land. This was a project we could put our creative energy into and would propel us into the lifestyle we wanted.”
Photography by Ben Anders