It is nice, if space permits, to have a little bit of granny chic outside. Old caravans can still be found for sale at relatively low prices if you are not fussy about the insides. Of course, there are one or two gems with their inners gleaming like the glorious old days to be found, but more often than not their insides have been neglected or worse still removed. Hence a bobby bargain price on their heads.
Find your rose-coloured specs and do not pass up the potential of these sweeties! If their outsides are still in good enough nick, keeping bad weather at bay, there is nothing a granny chic soul cannot put right on the inside. If the caravan has some built-ins, consider whether they are worth saving. It is quite possible that just a lick of paint will make them spickity span once again. If not, then by all means rip them out and start again… trust your crafty soul on this one and the vision you have for your peachy caravan to know what is the best thing to do.
If you are thinking your granny chic caravan will be on the road again, then perhaps you will have to think a little more deeply about making sure everything is fitted, so as not to have it falling all over the place whilst travelling out and about. But if, on the other hand, you see your lovely caravan as a permanent fixture in the back garden, there to be admired in all weathers from the kitchen sink while doing the washing up, well then you do not have to fret in the least about what goes in her, dearest readers, unless it is a passing critter who may be rather partial to a rest on those inviting comfy cushions!
On the ground
If the floor is a little dodgy, rip it up and go on the hunt for retro inspired flooring. Usually, caravan floors are smallish and odd sized, so look in the discount bargain bin of a flooring store. If one piece isn’t large enough, consider two different types of floors and patch them together. Keep your eye open for old hook rugs at the thrift store and charity shops; a nice little scattering underfoot of eclectic floral rugs keeps the old feet warm on a cold morning. Or indeed nice warm sheepskin rugs to bury your toes in as you sip your morning tea.
You could go on the hunt for old caravan curtains or make your own from your vintage stash; doesn’t matter if they are mix and match, think florals, think lace and think granny. Once your floor and windows are sorted, think about what you wish to have your little caravan to be. Do you wish others to be able to spend the night in her? Do you wish the children to be able to hole up in her on a rainy summer’s afternoon enjoying a board game? Or do you wish to keep her all to yourself and make her into a crafting haven… worthy of a ponder? For if a bed is needed then you must make space for this. Look around your home, see what pieces of furniture would lend themselves nicely to a bit of glamping in the back yard, ‘granny chic’ style. We are quite sure you will be able to rustle up a few willing victims from the collections of furniture and knick-knacks around your nest.
Then there is indeed the humble shed to consider if room or desire for a caravan is lacking. It can be a perfect space to paint a peachy colour and stuff full to the brim with all your granny delights, especially if the rest of your household isn’t keen on your new found granny ways.
For a more temporary solution to a summer hideout there is always the humble canvas tent, often found on the aisles of eBay, local advertisement pages and other such places for buying and selling. If you really want to push the boat out there are some rather fancy brand new bell tents or teepees. Again, these can make your granny heart sing with a whole host of blankets, rugs, lacy bits and bobs, the odd stool or two and don’t forget some perfectly peachy strings happily dingle dangling in the wind. We highly recommend having an outside granny space to potter in when the sun is high, for it indeed lifts the spirits and makes your heart sing.
When you are all done, take the weight off your feet in your caravan with a cuppa, and, whilst admiring the view (inside and out), think of a suitable granny name for your lovely new friend, so she may know just how much you truly love her.
Words Tif Fussell & Rachelle Blondel Photography Catherine Gratwicke
Me Old China
Sitting down for five minutes with a warmed teapot wearing its fancy jacket, and tea in a cup and saucer is the highlight of our day. A pretty pattern, graceful handle or a heady reminder of summers past at the village fête, where fun, laughter and bunting were accompanied by a brown stewed liquid in a practical but pretty green cup can lift the spirits no end. To us, they are one of the stalwarts of a granny chic home. Not just for sipping your morning cuppa from, oh no my dear reader! There are all manner of interesting suggestions for these prized possessions, including the chipped and stained ones, for they too can have a purpose in your abode. So whether you are stacking cups, plates and teapots for a display of the upmost kind, hanging a few plates on the wall to remind you to be thankful each day, or simply sipping that cup of golden goodness, keep your eyes peeled – there is another perfect cup out there waiting for you to give it a forever home…
- With a few simple supplies even china in the worst state can be rescued. Glue a cup to a saucer, add some gravel and compost and a few suitable plants, and teacup planters are born.
- Add some wax, a wick and a florally type scent and, Bob’s your uncle, a most perfect centerpiece and the talk of the town, ideal to give to your own granny as a present.
- With a nifty ceramic marker, you can scribble a word or two on a plate and hang an inspirational message up high for all to read.
- Fill a cup with bird seed and glue to a pole, pop it in the garden and wait patiently for the friendly chirps of the blue tits, they will be very happy feathered friends! Be warned though – if you are owners of free-ranging chickens, there may be general barging of these poles and some birdseed theft.
- A perfect way to serve that all-important granny trifle for tea. Make layers of jelly, custard and cream in individual cups, add a few pretty sprinkles, pop on their saucers and serve. If you insist on tradition, add stale sponge cake to the jelly, but we prefer to miss out that step.
Tif Fussell teaches workshops in the US and UK and spends her days wisely with her trusty sewing machine, Miss Ethel. See dottieangel.blogspot.com.
Rachelle Blondel lives in a ramshackle farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales with her family.
WHAT TO READ Granny Chic by Tif Fussell and Rachelle Blondel (Kyle Books, priced £16.99.)
Hunting for thrifty finds
Whilst out and about wandering the aisles of thrifty fine establishments, do not dismiss an item that upon discovery has very little age to it. There is no fine print in the written world of granny chic stating that you are not allowed to have modern items within your abode. As long as it makes you happy, then trust your granny gut instinct. It might be worth scribbling down in your handy dandy notebook, these three golden granny chic rules.
Rule One If your heart pitter patters upon sight, then chances are it is right.
Rule Two If you hear a chorus of angels sing, you can be sure it is just the thing.
Rule Three If you feel a tear or two of joy, you’ve found a treasure for sure, oh boy!