Stylist, author and owner of online boutique Caravan, Emily Chalmers is well known in the interiors industry for her distinct British vintage style. The Chromologist was delighted to find out that, as well as her shop, she owns an actual Caravan and was happy to give us a sneak peek inside it. Here, she tells us the story behind her decoration ideas for the Caravan’s bijou interior.
“This is my Citroen H-van – an old French commercial vehicle enjoying a new life as a campervan. Now 46 years old, she started life as a mortician’s vehicle in France. My husband and I bought her after our wedding a few years ago. She was my first eBay purchase. These vans used to be rare, but the design is popular now – they are very robust and full of character. We always get a wave as we drive by.”
“I started off decorating her by choosing some interesting wallpaper. I’d love to hang pictures in there, but in a small space that’s often on the move it could be taking things a step too far. So instead we used Picture Wall hand-printed wallpaper by my friend, Deborah Bowness. The flooring is cut from a large woven plastic mat – a decorative touch, but also very practical.”
“The van interior had originally been painted entirely in a very sunny shade of yellow – not necessarily my choice of colour, but it worked so well with the blue background on the wallpaper that I was happy to leave it like that. The seat cushions are basic strips of deep foam, covered with odd lengths of vintage fabric found at a flea market in Paris. I’ve added odd cuts of vintage trimming and lace to edge door and window areas and an assortment of vintage melamine teacups and plates fill the little shelves in the kitchen area. I’m not too worried if anything gets broken as it’s always fun to visit local markets when we travel and pick up a thing or two as a reminder of each trip.”
“Final touches – the hooks and wall shelf, plus plenty of scatter cushions from my shop, Caravan. It’s very much a mix-and-match colour and pattern palette, but sticking to my favourite theme (floral!) seems to link it together. I love to surround myself with things I enjoy. This way I can even take them with me on holiday. It really is a little home from home.”
All photography by Debi Treloar.