A few weeks ago I was scouring Craigslist for ping pong tables, and somehow I stumbled onto a listing for a 1981 Westfalia van for sale in my neighborhood. I didn’t take the plunge, but since then I have had campers and caravans on my mind in a big way. As we get deeper into summer, it just sounds more and more appealing to pack up into a camper and live on the open road, especially if said camper was decked out in such adorable furnishings as this renovated Knaus Passat from 1976, which owners Catherine Hug and her husband have lovingly named “Hugo.”
In its previous life, Hugo certainly suffered from that 1970s camper look, with dark, heavy curtains, a carpeted floor and lots of beige. Catherine decided to bring crazy pattern to Hugo’s walls with a Ferm Living wallpaper, which was a genius decision: The pattern pays tribute to the maximalist, fun vibe of the camper’s original era, but its hues are subdued enough to give the interior a modern and sophisticated feel. I would gladly shell out $3K (what Catherine and her husband spent on the camper and its renovations) to have a nomadic home away from home as lovely as this. Awesome job, Catherine! — Kate
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Cost: We bought Hugo (that’s what we call him) for 1500 euros ($1870), and invested about the same in the interior.
Basic Steps: First we threw everything out we could, only keeping the original wooden furniture from 1976. The furniture and the outer shape were the two reasons to buy Hugo. Then we changed the flooring to a light bluish/grey rubber and wallpapered and colored the walls, which were faded birch veneer before.
On one side we changed the big round seating to a double bed, now measuring 190 x 190 cm to make it more comfortable. We built the bed construction on the existing wood that was for the seating. I built a lamp out of an old globe above the bed.
On the other side I changed the cushions for the seating (sewed new ones and used a mattress from Ikea for inside). This side is the sleeping nook for our 4-year-old daughter at night. So we hung a dark curtain to the side, which we close at night. You can see the curtain on the right side of the kitchen. And we changed the light above the table and spray painted the former dark brown table to white. We installed white blinds to get more space instead of the usual curtains. In the kitchen we changed the fridge and the wood covering the stove and the sink.
Our advice to anyone tackling something like this is that the caravan must be dry (no slacky wall or floor), and all the windows have to be in good condition. These are the two main factors that cost a lot of money or work you can’t evaluate. And if you’re planning to go on tour with the caravan, always keep the max. weight in mind. If these two are okay, the following is much fun! You can try out colors or wallpaper that you might not use in your apartment. — Catherine
Paint: James White and Dix Blue by Farrow & Ball
Wallpaper: Remix by Ferm Living
Blinds, Mattresses: Ikea
White wall lamp: Bolia