George Clarke with Polly and Mark and their camper van Matilda

Name: Polly and Mark

Area: Shropshire

Occupation: Ice-cream van owners

Describe your amazing space…

Matilda our 1967 UK VW Split Screen Camper Van is a space of tranquillity, adventure and freedom. She is seagull grey and mango green with a brown/cream and orange pop top, and a bespoke unique interior designed by ourselves.

What inspired you to build it?

We bought Matilda in 2009 because we really loved the idea of having a camper van, as we have always camped albeit in a tent. Once we had been out and about in her for a year we realised she would’t last.

We LOVED the feeling of freedom and simply being in her helped us to decide to change our lives! We quit our jobs and moved into a derelict chapel in the country. We knew if at all possible we wanted to be in a camper van earning a living, so we bought Florence (our ice-cream van) and restored her. It was a lifestyle choice as we would work six months on and six months off.

Meanwhile Matilda the camper van had been sitting waiting to be restored since the end of 2010, so we had a lot of time to decide how we wanted her to be and to save money and find parts.

How long did the whole project take?

She had been stripped back to bare metal and had been a shell since 2010 until we started her restoration in November 2013. We finished June 2014!

What was your budget – did you go over it?

Our budget was £25,000 not including the £8,000 cost of her and the £7,500 we’d already spent on parts. However we spent a further £7,500 over our £25,000! So the total cost was £48,000 (including cost of buying her and parts already bought)
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Highs...

Having the realisation we were finally going to have a beautiful camper van for our adventures in the future.

Lows...

A little stressful sorting out restorers and interiors along with the deadline.

Would you have changed anything you did?

Not a thing

Things you wished you had known before you started?

The tight schedule.

Top tips for other people embarking on a similar journey?

Go for it! We took the plunge and changed our whole lives, and now we really are living the dream. Next stop renovating our chapel.