Our Focus Section editor, Julie Kenney, was one of the ten selected to design and outfit the interiors of the brand new Old Mac Daddy Luxury Trailer Park in Elgin. She’s written us a story about the process of decorating her trailer.

On my very first day at ELLE Decoration, I recall opening the latest issue and being blown away by a story about the Airstream Penthouse trailer park on the roof of the  Grand Daddy Hotel in Long Street. Each trailer had been decorated to theme by an artist, and it seemed like a dream project to me. So, when hoteliers Jody Aufrichtig and Nick Ferguson from the Daddy Group sent out a call for submissions to decorate a whole new set of Airstreams last year, I was ecstatic!

I wanted to recreate the feel of a dusty Karoo farmhouse, so I based my concept around the home of an imaginary couple, called Piet and Sannie Potgieter. I put together moodboards filled with nods to South African history:  Springbok-emblazoned memorabilia, old tins, an Ouma Rusk bedspread, an old stove with ‘freshly baked bread’, hot water bottles and trophies complete the setting. I called it ‘For Better or for Boerewors’.

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The public was asked to vote on all the moodboard submissions, and mine was selected as one of the top ten. My dream of decorating a caravan along nine other artists was going to come true!

The original 1950’s Airstream trailers were shipped in from the US,  still fully kitted out with dusty old fittings.  These  before and after shots of my caravan transformation show how I had to rip out all the original 1950’s fittings (sinful!) to create more space inside. The bathroom of my caravan was wallpapered in a floral yellow print with matching blinds typical of the 50’s era.

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The first step was to try and visualise where everything would go. As I would be using mostly second hand furniture, I had to make sure I had accurate measurements of the entire space. Most pieces had to be altered to fit the curve of the caravan. Not even a painting could be hung without taking this into consideration.

I sourced my furniture and decor from second-hand shops and markets from Milnerton to Gansbaai and found some amazing deals along the way. The best shop ever for bargain hunting is Romantiques in Hermanus – a seven-roomed shop treasure trove of delights at affordable prices.

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Once all ten artists had finished their work, the revamped caravans were secured for the long, treacherous drive on country roads to the permanent site in Elgin. Once there, each caravan was winched up a steep hill with the help of a 4×4 vehicle and some very strong, brave men. Once fitted with electricity, the artists put in the final touches on site. And the rest, as they say, is history.

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See our exclusive story on the revamped interiors of all the Old Mac Daddy Luxury Trailers over 10 pages in the brand new issue of ELLE Decoration, on shelf this Thursday.