BRIGITTE IS SHAPING UP – LATEST ON MY VINTAGE CARAVAN MAKEOVER!

Brigitte's shaping up! featured image

Following last weeks luuurve shack post, when I shared some fave images and ideas on creating a boudoir bedroom. I intended to focus on one of the REAL things still missing in my boudoir, there were some saucy ideas in there guys and I’m glad you got into the spirit of Valentines! and no Helen (little sister), it was not a Dog which was missing, huh? The missing items are in fact a chandelier (have been searching for quite a while for just the right one, I know what I want just haven’t seen it yet, 1920’s tiered, vintage, larger than you think I need, let me know if you see one!) and a headboard, though you would have struggled to see that was missing as the photo has been cleverly shot to miss that area off! Head boards do my head in if you pardon the pun! They can be generally such boring, yawn, but essential items and I struggle to get excited about most of them, hence the reason I haven’t yet got one, plus my bed is not a standard size, of course, why would it be? Big mistake actually for quite a few reasons, headboard fit – one, linen fit – two, space fit – three! However it’s like the most comfortable and spacious bed you will ever sleep in, well you won’t be sleeping in it so your going to just have to trust me on this, but anyway definitely think you need to go the extra mile with headboards. I will be putting together a Pinterest board on interesting ones for future reference if you want to check them out. Anyway, decided to put that post off for another day when I revisit the issue as my head (there I go with the corny puns again) is not in that space it’s in the caravan head space! and as in head boards I’m definitely having to go the extra mile creatively on this one…

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Nothing boring about this headboard or the dogs! (Paris Match)
So as we fast approach March  I’ve stepped up a gear on the Brigitte project which is due for completion mid April. Its the tough part of a project where you have to turn your ideas and concepts in to a reality. If you’re like me and rarely go for ‘normal’, or basic ‘run of the mill’ schemes (who wants to be average right?) you will know this does create more work in the sourcing, planning and executing, but hey, if it was easy everyone would be doing it and it’s that extra bit(well quite a bit actually) of hard work and effort that makes all the difference to the end result. However it’s hard enough pulling a project together when you are specifying standard or ready made products and finishes it can get quite fraught and frustrating looking for sources or specialist services to do something extra special. Most things are possible to coin a favourite builder’s phrase “well madame, anything is possible, but…” the but being the budget restraints obviously. Often this means you have to rethink an idea or which sometimes can be disappointing for me because it could be that specific thing that was the key element in my original concept. There’s always a solution and I often find when I have to think more creatively to get round a problem it can actually improve the original scheme, not to mention improve my knowledge and skills, which is basically how I come to be writing this blog in the first place 🙂 Sooo worth the effort but for any of you guys out there in the same place, I feeeel your pain..

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Brigitte concept board 1
Anyway Brigitte has definitely challenged me, this being my first (you notice I don’t say last) caravan refurbishment project. I’ve been lucky to have found the lovely Lynn and Rich Stark at the English Caravan Company who are a wealth of knowledge and are doing a first class job on fitting my beauty out. So far we have ripped out pretty much all the internal fittings apart from the original bench seating and overhead cupboards at one end which are going to be painted and reupholstered. A new shower and loo have been fitted, yay! Yes you will notice this has compromised the bed width a bit but, sorry I need my own loo and shower if this glamping has half a chance of working! we’ve always got the bench seats that come down into another double if it all gets too hot and bothered in the real bed. Which, I might add, is having a bespoke memory foam mattress fitted, because A. it’s an odd size and one end corner is cut off, this is a normal look for those not ‘au fait’ with caravans, it’s where the short one sleeps! and B. darling Ricky has put his foot down on this specific item as being HIS essential comfort and one which MUST NOT be compromised on, so no nicking a bit of the budget there then for the bespoke awning! We have a new bed, already mentioned, under which lives storage and the ‘engine room’ where the electric boxes etc.. are hidden. The original back window now filled, has been skilfully repositioned to the side of the caravan so that we don’t keep hitting our head on the window catch when we sit up in bed, think of this as another headboard reference, it was going to be the theme this week OK! We have a nice shelf above under which new LED lighting will be added and Richard is building a diddy wardrobe to hang at the end part of the bed, don’t worry I have a plan for my clothes, this is just for Ricky to put a couple of shirts in, he doesn’t need much room, honest.

So thats all good to go and we’ve got a dinky sink and new fitted shelving and cupboards which will go in adjacent to the shower room. So that leaves the kitchenette, once you have planned a caravan kitchen you will never complain that you haven’t got enough room in your REAL kitchen, trust! After spending several hours searching through caravan equipment websites, which I can report are anything but user-friendly, I finally chose my ideal little oven/hob and grill only to find out that, despite it being available online where I had bought and paid for it, it was discontinued grrrrr so back to the drawing board. Finally found another which was delivered yesterday, in pieces. Nooo! Lets hope we do better on the replacement next week! The fridge we have ordered is tiny but everything has to be, we are talking dolls house here and we are probably going to struggle with fridge space down on the Cote d’Azur, have you seen the temperatures in summer, like, how will we keep the rose chilled?? definitely need a back up plan here. Richard, (not my Richard) and I spent some time finalising the final details of the kitchen area and I think it will look real cute! I’ve got my flooring ordered from Harvey maria who do a fabulous wood effect vinyl flooring in church pine, which will be an ideal practical surface for the van but still looks really good.

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Brigitte samples 2

Main snags I’ve come up against this week are with the dining table, not so much with the dining table but with the finish and the other with wallpaper/fabric print I had originally chosen, which I posted in the meet Brigitte post. I originally wanted to have an aged brass table top fitted but firstly the weight is an issue (this is another factor you have to contend with in the design) and the cost is pretty prohibitive, in this budget anyway so that was out. After having chosen a marble effect formica for the Kitchenette (I love this retro word so I am going to keep using it) for same reasons as the brass table top I discovered that formica do a range of metallics, they are truly lovely, brilliant I thought, problem solved in weight and price, wrong, you can only order in large sheets which are going to cost as much as a brass table top and we will use less than a third of it! still working on this issue, watch this space…Biggest set back was the wallpaper and upholstery design I had chosen, they are not in themselves a problem but I want to do something else with the print which is proving unsolvable. I’m not going to tell you what, as I don’t want to spoil the reveal but it will be with a new wallpaper and fabric design, a bit cryptic I know but you will see what I mean soon. Anyway the print I will now hopefully be using will be the gorgeous Summer Tropical Bloom print from the lovely Sian Zeng collection. I had this and the House of Hackney print shortlisted originally and the main reason I went with the Palmeral was because they also do a fabric  in the same print whereas the Sian Zeng doesn’t. So I will need to have some fabric especially printed for this, see what I mean about the extra mile? Nearly there on this one so cross fingers. Now I’m on to the awning, jeez there are some awful ones out there and a full bespoke canvas one is likely to push the budget into orbit so I need to solve that one, have a couple of ideas that I need to research first.

So still a bit to get through but the sun is poking through here a bit today in London, poking being the operative word and it’s powering me on, I can just picture Ricky sitting outside under the perfect awning whilst I emerge from my kitchenette to serve him a glass of perfectly chilled Cotes de Provence to go with a perfectly prepared Mediterranean meal which we will share whilst watching the sun set on Pampelone beach..dream, believe, do, this WILL happen if only I could work out how I get the rose in the fridge!    Any ideas?

Jane x

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