Vintage corner: Cheery Cherry Roller


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Cambridge shop-owner Sheryl Mace was looking for a new interior design project. She decided a vintage caravan was just the thing. The results are stunning...

Vintage corner: Cheery Cherry Roller
Vitage corner: Cheery Cherry Roller

When Cambridge resident Sheryl Mace decided she'd like to do up a vintage caravan, she didn't have to look far for inspiration. Sheryl, together with her friend Helen Yarranton, is co-owner of MYstyle NZ in Cambridge.

The shop specialises in vivacious and colourful home-wares, including cotton fabric and oilcloth, which are perfect for adding the final touches to any RV, but look especially great in a vintage-styled 'van.

Having decided on this project, for which Sheryl (who refurbishes vintage and antique furniture for the shop) is uniquely qualified, the first thing was to source the vintage caravan.

Sheryl says, "I had been looking for a short time for the right caravan, much to my husband's dismay. One that was structurally sound at the right price, as I really only wanted to do the frilly fun stuff, transforming it into a vintage retro masterpiece. I bought it online from a caravan dealer.

"Coincidentally, it arrived while my husband was away overseas on business. As you can imagine, he could hardly contain his excitement when he arrived home to find it parked in the drive."

The 1971 Alpha was in good condition, the exterior had been recently painted and looked tidy. "But the inside was like walking into a time warp, brown and beige velvet floral squabs... Need I say more? Even so, the layout was good. It had a sense of space for its size."

One of the first things to be sorted was where to put a little fridge. Sheryl says, "I didn't want it just stuck somewhere. So it was obvious there was really only one place to put it and that was to cut the length of the seat down one side of the table that converted into a double bed, as there was already a pull-out bed along the back window.

"My husband is handy so, once I explained what I wanted, he set about making a cabinet beside an existing cupboard/wardrobe for the fridge; as well as a shelf for a toaster, jug, canisters etc. with a plate rack above it. With storage always an issue in little spaces, this was a good solution.

"I had to get an electrician to install two new points for the fridge, toaster and jug to plug into, and also to check everything was in good working order. Once this was done, it was ready to paint. I chose to paint the interior white as I wanted to use lots of colour for the soft furnishings."

Sheryl painted the cupboard doors Resene Spindle (blue), and added some new ceramic flower knobs. "I also bought a near-new chrome electric double hob, in place of the old gas one I wasn't sure still worked - the gas line had been taken out and there was no gas bottle."

The old lino was well past it so it had to be scraped off, ready to be replaced with self-adhesive lino tiles. "These were just an easy option for such a small area, rather than having the expense and hassle of having to get someone to lay lino."

Now Sheryl was finally ready for the really fun stuff. "As I have a shop with vintage and retro-style fabrics, oilcloths and home wares, the rest was easy. I just had to decide which ones I was going to use. I used our red dotty oilcloth for the squabs, which makes a real statement, has a great retro look and is practical," she says.

"I decided on a small floral (Fifi) for the curtains. It has a white background with red and blue, which would go well with the spotty squabs and the blue cupboards, pulling it all together. Then, once I had made and hung the curtains, I chose another couple of designs to make some cushions, which also included a nice bright green. When the soft furnishings were completed I added other bits and pieces to give it that retro, comfy feel."

Sheryl included some green enamel canisters, flowery mugs and some practical melamine red and white funky striped plates. The finishing touch was the perfectly-sized retro clock we had in the shop."

There was just one more thing to do and that was to name her. "I thought what better way to get a great name than to run a competition on our shop's Facebook page, so we did. Names came flooding in and they were good, but there could only be one and Cherry Roller was perfect. I had the name done by a sign writer. Once it was on, the masterpiece was finished and ready for someone else to enjoy."

Sheryl is now itching to complete another project. "Now when we are driving around, I notice every caravan. If there is one on the side of the road with a For Sale sign on it, I instantly think of the possibilities. On the other hand, my husband speeds up and is probably too scared to go on another business trip…"

For more information contact MYstyle NZ, 41 Duke Street, Cambridge, 07 827 3283, or visit mystylenz.co.nz.

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