Woman transforms old van into glam motorhome to travel Europe

·6-min read
A women has shared how she transformed a run-down van into a glam motorhome. (@thecampercreative)
A women has shared how she transformed a run-down van into a glam motorhome. (@thecampercreative)

A woman who transformed a run-down van into a gorgeous motorhome for £5000 has revealed her top tips on how you can recreate a similar luxe look for less. 

Having quit her job, Instagram blogger, Hatti Webster @thecampercreative, is now is a full-time traveller committed to life on the road in her newly-renovated van. 

The influencer used to work in marketing, but in the pandemic decided to make a major life change.

She bought an old, run-down Sprinter van for £5,000, then got to work giving it an incredible makeover, which cost a further £5,000.

After living in Bristol for five years, in April this year, she took off in her impressive new motorhome to travel around France, and pursue the off-grid lifestyle she had always dreamed of.

Read more: Our favourite camper vans of 2020

The van needed some work to transform it into a motorhome. (@thecampercreative)
The van needed some work to transform it into a motorhome. (@thecampercreative)

Webster now has over 50,000 Instagram followers keeping up-to-date on her travels on the @campercreative account, and no plans ever to return to her old life in the UK.

“After university, I bought my first van, renovated it and travelled Europe for a summer back in 2016," she tells Vehicle Contracts.

"That was when I got the bug! I knew after that, that one day I would convert another van and continue the adventures - however, at the time I was broke and had no idea what job I wanted to do!” 

Having started working in marketing, she fell in love with her career and spent the next few years working and saving. 

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Webster did a lot of the work herself. (@thecampercreative)
Webster did a lot of the work herself. (@thecampercreative)

“I had actually originally planned to move to Canada and buy a van over there, but when COVID hit, that plan soon evaporated," she continues. 

"So, I decided to buy a van in the UK, renovate it (at my parent’s house!) and begin exploring Europe.” 

Webster bought her current van back in September 2020 and began renovating it right away.

“I didn’t have the biggest budget for the conversion, so I had to settle for a van that was slightly older and had higher mileage,” she explains. 

"Travelling in my previous van helped hugely when it came to designing this one, I knew there were certain elements that I absolutely couldn't live without and so I created the layout based on those features." 

The main features of the van include a width-ways double bed, a permanent seating area with slide-out table, a sink and a kitchen unit with a fridge and three-ring hob. 

"I also built a composting loo that slides underneath the bed," she adds. 

Webster has created a beautiful space. (@thecampercreative)
Webster has created a beautiful space. (@thecampercreative)

Webster says she tried to use lightweight materials when building the van, to minimise weight.

"The majority of the units are built from plywood, the walls from pine cladding and the ceiling (my favourite part) is made from red cedar," she explains. 

"I opted for a mixture of recycled bottle wool and Celotex insulation, which was then covered by a layer of bubble foil to act as a vapour barrier."

The van itself cost £5,000, with Webster spending a further £5,000 on the build, but the blogger says she has actually made a profit by renovating her motor. 

“Vans of a similar age and build go for approximately £14,000 - £18,000 in the UK at the moment,” she explains. 

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Copper accents complete the glam look. (@thecampercreative)
Copper accents complete the glam look. (@thecampercreative)
The van is fully kitted out with all the mod cons. (@thecampercreative)
The van is fully kitted out with all the mod cons. (@thecampercreative)

Despite potentially making a profit from the refurb, Webster has no immediate plans to sell as she's loving her new life on the road. 

“I am currently in France, and being a keen skier, snowboarder and hiker, I've spent a lot of time exploring the French Alps, but am planning on heading south to Spain and Portugal over the summer. 

"There is so much to explore in Europe and I am in no rush, so I plan to travel slowly and spend my winters in the mountains and my summers catching waves on the beaches.”

Watch: New £1.3 million ultra-motorhome will win you the staycation battle. 

Commenting on Webster's impressive overhaul Robert Harris, sales director at Vehicle Contracts said: “Being able to transform what was seen as an old van into something extraordinary is truly remarkable and very inspiring.

“In the current travel climate, we will see many UK motorists taking to road trips for their staycations this year. 

"What better way to tour the beautiful sights we have here in Britain than in your own styled campervan? It also means not having to succumb to the inflated hotel prices.” 

Webster managed to squeeze in a double bed. (@thecampercreative)
Webster managed to squeeze in a double bed. (@thecampercreative)

If you've been inspired to create your own glam van, Webster has shared advice on how you can achieve a similar look - including embracing nature with rustic textures, furnishing with warm sunset hues, adding your own personal touch with artwork and glamourising the space with copper accents.

Embrace nature with rustic textures

Webster perfectly blended earthly tones into her interior design to create a peaceful, calm space. 

“I tried to go for a cosy, rustic look with the van,” she says. Adding rustic textures into the van is a great way to make an impact on the space by tying the look together whilst also being bang on-trend right now.

Furnish with sunset hues

“I love a sunset colour palette, so mainly used yellows, oranges and rusty reds for the soft furnishings,” Webster says. 

Including warm sunset hues into the design is a great way to maintain that bright and light space whilst also adding character and life to your new motorhome. Webster says it is important to make the vehicle feel like home and not just a place to sleep when you are out on the road.

Go glam with copper

Adding splashes of copper is a simple way to add glamorous accents to a room. You can instantly upgrade the interior by adding modern finishings in metallic hues, such as copper. 

“I used brushed copper details - the handles, spice rack, cupboard knobs etc,” Webster adds. 

Hatti Webster in the finished van. (@thecampercreative)
Hatti Webster in the finished van. (@thecampercreative)

Widen the space with white paint

It is possible to make a space look and feel bigger by painting the walls white or a very light colour. 

Brightening up a dark space will allow light to reflect around the room and in turn, make it feel much wider. “I white-washed the walls to retain some of the natural wood texture underneath’

Personalise with artwork

Great prints can turn the space into a home by adding personal style. 

“I put up a couple of my favourite surf illustrations from a Cornish artist to make the space a bit more interesting," Webster says. 

Watch: This campervan comes complete with a beer tap. 

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