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Alice and Caleb’s retro caravan is ready to hit the road!

It’s been four years since serial renovators Alice and Caleb Pearson bought their 1970s caravan, and they had big dreams of bringing it back to its former glory and heading off on memory-making summer adventures.

While babies, work and everything in between meant their retro caravan renovation took a little longer to get off the ground than they’d anticipated, their perseverance has paid off, and after months of hard work – and some steep learning curves – the creative couple are finally ready to reveal their Resene transformation.

“It feels like I have to pinch myself,” says Alice, opening the door to their restored vintage beauty. “It was a whole lot of work, but so worth it!”

The couple, who won The Block NZ in 2013, have renovated 11 homes in the past decade, but this was their first attempt at a caravan do-up. It might be their smallest project yet, but that certainly doesn’t mean it was their easiest. Hidden challenges, including extensive exterior rust and plenty of rot and mould inside, certainly kept the couple on their toes.

“It’s fair to say this was a massive learning curve, but we realised we could do it,” says Caleb. “With all that rust on the exterior, we removed it, treated it and painted it with a fresh Resene paint colour. It was about finding all the leaks, and sealing up all the joins to make sure this caravan would stay dry inside.”


On the exterior, Alice and Caleb went for Resene Super Gloss tinted to Resene Double Canterbury Clay for the centre section, and Resene Black White on the top and bottom panels. Resene Super Gloss is a tough solventborne resin which combines maximum durability with a mirror gloss finish, creating a final result that’s not only sleek but easy to clean – ideal for a caravan exterior.

“It’s hard to believe we’re in the same caravan,” says Caleb. “It feels brand new but it still has that vintage charm.”

“When you go inside and see the rest of the colours, it feels like summer,” adds Alice. We wanted the colours to create a retro vibe, and were definitely inspired by a retro colour palette, but as paint trends tend to come back around the colour scheme we chose is actually very popular these days. I love that it’s retro, but actually very current. It’s kind of the best of both worlds.”

For the caravan’s interior, they opted to paint the cabinets a soft grey with Resene Waterborne Lusta-Glo tinted to Resene Mischka, and Resene Quarter Black White for the interior walls. Resene Waterborne Lusta-Glo has the durability of a traditional solventborne semi-gloss but without all the solvents. This Eco Choice-approved product is based on a plant-based resin and doesn’t have a strong paint odour, making it much nicer to use in interior spaces. The low-odour formula means the painted interior can be lived in sooner as it dries faster than a traditional solventborne paint.

When it came to choosing the paint finish, Resene Lusta-Glo was an obvious choice. “We were very aware of getting the right finish because it’s such a high-capacity space,” says Alice. “It’s a kitchen, a sleeping area and a play space. It’s everything all-in-one, so we had to use a finish that was going to be really durable plus easy to clean and live in.” 

The couple used Resene Waterborne Lusta-Glo in Resene Mischka for the cabinets and Resene Quarter Black White for the interior walls.
Alice chose patterned vinyl flooring to replace the outdated carpet, and added plants and wall hangings to make the caravan feel like a home away from home.

Alice’s advice for caravan owners is that you holiday a lot harder than you live. “In terms of sand and dirt and everything that gets brought into the caravan, it needs to withstand a whole lot,” she says. “As well as being able to be moved everywhere, there’s all the little bumps and dings that happen from having a whole lot of stuff loaded inside.”

The benchtops were coated in a new vinyl wrap, and Alice blew the budget with gorgeous gold-toned handles. One of the most satisfying parts of the project for interiors-queen Alice was stripping the dated wallpaper and pulling out the old, rotting carpet. “Carpet on the floors! Who does that when you’re going to the beach,” laughs Alice.

She replaced it with a retro-inspired patterned vinyl. Another option for DIYers is to pain a wooden floor, using two coats of Resene Walk-on flooring and paving paint. To create a retro pattern, use a stencil and blot over a paint in a contrasting colour – you could try pairing Resene Merino with Resene Coast. Finish a painted floor with Resene Concrete Clear waterborne glaze to create a sleek, easy-to-clean surface.

While Alice opted for soft, grey curtains held back with a cute homemade tie, she again embraced the caravan’s 70s heritage with a bold patterned fabric for the upholstery. 

But it’s the caravan’s updated colour scheme that the couple is most proud of. 

Now, they just can’t wait to pack up and head off on their first ever caravan holiday with their four children – Alek, eight, Mika, six, Blake, two, and one-year-old Brooke.

“It’s hard to imagine we’re in the same caravan because so much has changed,” says Alice. “But when we’re on holiday we can look back on this caravan and know it’s something we did. It’s so exciting.”

Isn’t she beautiful! Alice and Caleb pose in front of their renovated retro caravan painted with Resene Super Gloss tinted to Resene Double Canterbury Clay and Resene Black White.

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