Barny's Horse Drawn Caravan

Name: Barny

Area: Eden Valley, Cumbria

Occupation: Horse drawn holiday business owner

Describe your amazing space…

It's a horse-drawn caravan with a fold out stage for my musician wife Katus to perform on, so we can travel from Cumbria to France and beyond. Inside it's got a living space - a bed, cupboards, windows, and a mollycroft roof with even more windows. There's enough space to sleep up to five people.

The caravan is multipurpose to live in and we'll also use it for our holiday business to rent out along the way for weddings and events. At the end of the summer season we plan to head off in it and make a new start somewhere.

What inspired you to build it?

I build traditional gypsy caravans for a living, but the shape was inspired by wanting to create a stage for Katus to perform from on the road. So the caravan is flat sided so the stage can fold off it.

One of the inspirations for the design was from my grandfather who used to travel in a similar wagon, and I loosely copied the style.

How long did the whole project take?

I've been coming up with the design for years in my head, but it took four solid months of build time.

What was your budget – did you go over it?

Initially £2500, but we went over it by about a £1000.

Highs

  • Seeing it with the horse being pulled down the road when it was all done.
  • The mollycroft roof (a raised bit in the roof with strip windows along the side of it) was quite a complicated build. I did all the planning in my head and nothing was written down so there was lots of stopping and starting and standing and staring. So achieving that was a real high.
  • Lows
  • Redoing things when you've done something wrong.
  • It was totally exhausting. I had very little sleep and got stressed out trying to keep up with the deadline. I didn't let go of it at night. I was constantly going through it in my head because I don't work with written plans. Towards the end I was working 6am to midnight.
  • Would you have changed anything you did?If I were to do it again I might do things a little differently technically, but you learn from your mistakes. I also didn't leave enough room widthways for the bed, so I had to redesign the walls half way through and take it apart.Things you wished you had known before you started?It took a lot longer than I thought.Top tips for other people embarking on a similar journey?
  • Get someone to draw your plans to work from, it makes the process faster.
  • Try to avoid a strict deadline. I want over my budget largely because of the deadline. Normally I would have looked around a bit more for materials and recycle more.