Mobile homes go hip! Friends who snapped up tired three-bed static caravan in Margate for £24,000 give it a Palm Springs makeover complete with an Elvis-inspired boudoir – and can now command £200 a night on Airbnb
A trio of style-conscious millenials have revealed how they’ve managed to make a static holiday caravan – famous for their wobbly walls and dated interiors – look so trendy that tourists are willing to spend £200 a night staying in it.
Whinnie Williams, Anna Hart and Emma Jane Palin, all in their thirties and with successful careers in fashion, travel and interiors, wanted to invest in a bricks and mortar holiday rental they could rent out on Airbnb but didn’t have the funds to realise their dreams.
Instead, spurred on by the nostalgia of childhood holidays on caravan sites, they decided to club together – at the height of the pandemic – and buy a three-bedroom Willerby 2010 Bluebird static caravan, chipping in just £8,000 each.
Plotted over coffee: Pictured from right, Anna Hart, Emma Jane Palin and Whinnie Williams, all in their thirties and living on the same street in Margate on the Kent coast, decided to buy a holiday property that was within a modest budget – and found a ten-year-old static caravan was just the ticket
Staid and very beige: The mobile home, which is on the Birchington Vale site near Margate, as it looked when the ladies bought it for £24,000 in September 2020
Transformed: The caravan was renamed and revamped, with the beige carpet replaced by green and cream tiles and the soft furnishings covered with Seventies-style fabric. Wooden cladding on the ceiling and bamboo light fittings added the on-trend look
The biggest bedroom in the mobile home as it looked before the ‘Pontins meets Palm Springs’ overhaul
Inspired by US kitsch, the rooms each have a different theme, with this one incorporating faux cowhide and pink Wild West wallpaper
Tempted? You can snap up mobile homes in various conditions on ebay for anything from a few hundred pounds to in excess of £80,000…although there’s transport and renovation costs and site fees to consider too
Open plan: Hart says the space that mobile home caravans afford are underestimated and more Brits should consider them for a staycation
Caravan-a-gram: The static’s stylish interiors have seen Club Jupiter amass 10,000 followers on Instagram
Undeterred by the enduring image problem that mobile homes have, the trio spent another £4,000 each giving the property an almighty makeover.
Alongside a new roof, they also visually refreshed every part of the caravan, with the Palms Springs-inspired revamp including a bamboo bedroom inspired by a boudoir in Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion, a stylish charcoal green kitchen and a pink-hued bedroom that incorporates faux cowhide and Wild West wallpaper.
The caravan sits on the Birchington Vale site, just ten minutes’ drive from hipster magnet Margate, where the three women live. An Instagram profile, @clubjupiteruk, has crept up to 10,000 followers in less than a year.
Using their respective skills – Williams is an interior designer, former fashion editor Hart is a specialist in ethical travel and Palin a consultant in art and design – they set about transforming the staid interiors into something much cooler.
Sheets of bamboo line one of the bedrooms, while green and cream floor tiles helped to transform the open plan living area
The women took on a bedroom each, transforming the three bedroom caravan with bold colours and on point accessories
A bamboo bedroom in Club Jupiter, which was inspired by a boudoir in Elvis Presley’s Graceland mansion
The mobile home can now command £200 a night and has been almost fully booked in the first two months of being open
Hart told FEMAIL that the fellow caravan owners on the Birchington Vale site have been ‘friendly and supportive’, realising the women were serious about the project ‘when we arrived at 7am to work on it’
The soft furnishings in the living room area were replaced with authentic Seventies fabrics and the ceiling lined with wood. Bamboo features heavily in one of the bedrooms, which, says Hart, wasn’t easy to obtain during lockdown.
There’s trendy products in the bijou bathroom although Hart says they have had to warn people not to expect a power shower.
Since the first guests bedded down in the caravan, now called Club Jupiter, in July stays there have been in high demand, and the trio are now considering similar sites where they can work their magic.
Anna, from Belfast, says childhood camping holidays inspired the trio to try and make caravans cool.
‘Growing up my family holidays were in soggy 1980s tents on Lough Erne, but my cousins had a fancy caravan, and so my first real sense of ‘luxury travel’ was a caravan at Juniper Hill on the Antrim Coast.
‘Camping has become glamping, and we’ve seen mid-priced hotels being named ’boutique hotels’, we’re just doing the same for the caravan.’
Bye bye loneliness…the trio re-designed the bedroom lay-outs, scrapping single beds and introducing doubles in all three
Yee-ha! A neon-lit cowboy boot artwork and shimmering draped fabrics set the tone for the third bedroom
Explaining how they decided to take the plunge, Anna told FEMAIL they were dispirited by the fact Margate was becoming overrun with airbnb landlords trying to cash in on the town’s appeal as a weekend destination.
She says: ‘Essentially we’re three friends who really love each other’s tastes in design, and really believed in each other’s professional abilities.
‘When we began meeting for weekly coffee mornings early in the pandemic, to support and encourage each other through a tricky time, we didn’t intend to go into business together.
‘But when we hit on the idea of renovating a caravan, and crunched the numbers, I knew it was the perfect low-risk, high-pleasure business venture with my mates.’
Hart told FEMAIL that the fellow caravan owners on the Birchington Vale site have been ‘friendly and supportive’, realising the women were serious about the project ‘when we arrived at 7am to work on it’.
THE STATIC GETS SEXY! MORE MOBILE HOME RENOVATIONS LOOKING GOOD ON THE ‘GRAM
While pimping up a static caravan still isn’t that common, the Instagram accounts below prove that mobile homes – which traditionally stay on a site rather than being towed around – can absolutely make for roomy, stylish holiday pads with a little time and effort.
Pages including @monochrometinyhome and @mobile_move show dramatic transformations of caravans, which have been remodelled from pedestrian-looking accommodation into temples of style – often on a tight budget.
@monochrometinyhome channels ‘Japandi monochrome’ chic, and has successfully transformed a static ‘from floral and orange wood, to monochrome and neutral tones’.
Meanwhile, @mobile_move has gone one step further in stripping out the kitchen and changing the layout – with impressive effect.
Tempted? You can snap up mobile homes in various conditions on ebay for anything from a few hundred pounds to in excess of £80,000. It’s worth bearing in mind that you’ll need to consider transport costs – a specialist delivery company will help you move to the site of your choice for around £1,000.
Add in not only the renovation costs but fees that are payable to the site – covering basic amenities including gas, water and electricity. You can expect to pay from around £2,000 a year although sites will often let you offset that cost if you’re prepared to hire out your caravan to tourists.
Growing trend: @monochrometinyhome shares updates on how a dated-looking static caravan is now a vision of Japandi chic. Pictured: The caravan as @monochromemytinyhome bought it, and right, as the same space currently looks
The savvy renovator has brought the static kicking and screaming into the 21st century – while maintaining a tight budget…this sofa was snapped on Facebook for free
Stripped back: @mobile_move have documented how they’ve created a trendy home from a very ordinary mobile home
Chic: Moody colours on the wall and an on point sofa have reinvented this static caravan in Ireland
The revampers behind @mobile_move also transformed the bedroom, getting rid of the fitted cupboards to allow for more space
Ta da: How the bedroom looks now…complete with a dressing table area, bold colours on the walls and an up-to-date look for the bedding