Step inside Dixie Daydream, a caravan with an interior that’s a riot of colour and pattern, a stone’s throw from the beach
Something about the British seaside encourages us to let our hair down, throw caution to the wind and embrace the fun side of life. Here at this holiday park in Rye, the fun definitely has a capital ‘F’ – the style dial has been turned to max kitsch and the hair is teased up into a groovy beehive. The glamorous caravan we are visiting here at Camber Sands may be static, but from what we can see, this one is going places.
I talk to the owners – two members of a team of three London-based interior stylists, prop buyers and creative directors – Cass and Di from The Style Producers. During a long drive they hatched the idea for what is now Dixie Daydream, their ultimate glam getaway. “With many shoots all over the country, which consist of hours driving to and from locations – one long five hour car journey back from Newcastle and our passion for interiors sparked the conversation and inspiration that led to the delight that is our glamour-puss caravan at Camber Sands.”
Di explains that they had originally wanted to buy a more retro-looking caravan that was ‘curvier’ with original features and teak panelling, but as they would be renting it out as a holiday home and shoot location, it needed to be practical. “We wanted to make sure we had the best insulation, heating and all mod cons, so it made more sense practically to go for the newer model. Also, what really sold Dixie to us was the position of the caravan pitch, which is right at the edge of the park with uninterrupted views of the countryside, but yet with all the facilities of a traditional British holiday park. It was a no-brainer to go for the newer model.”
The modern exterior of the caravan – a 2019 Willerby Linwoood static caravan (with only one previous owner) – was in pristine condition, so they could set to work straight away on styling the interior.
Cass and Di have been in their element here by the looks of things – they are experienced stylists and used to working on creative concepts for interiors on a daily basis. Deciding on a room scheme often starts with a single element – like a rug, wallpaper, or cushion cover. Here it was a carpet that inspired the main living area at the caravan. “The starting point for the décor was the gorgeous navy leopard print carpet which we both had used previously on a shoot for Carpetright and it led to us creating our maximalist look,” Di explains. “We both love bold colour and pattern with an unexpected twist, so had great fun putting the room schemes together.
“People often believe smaller spaces call for more pared-back designs and pale colours, but we disagree – adding colour and punchy pattern to even the smallest of spaces creates personality and character – and is a great way of adding a maximalist aesthetic. Each room was planned with a starting point. For Dixie the wallpapers were actually the key to each bedroom scheme, as we wanted a bold focal point for each area.”
With the navy leopard print carpet as a starting point, it didn’t take Cass and Di long to put together the rest of the colour scheme. “We went for a gorgeous shade of lilac, Little Greene Hortense, for the walls. We used the same paint on the ceiling which we clad with reclaimed waste MDF from a job and cut into strips and painted before fixing. We recovered the existing sofa with a few amends on the way, refashioning the left hand arm to make it much more substantial and to provide a ledge for a tray, and also added a few flourishes like piping, buttoning and our long luxurious tassel trim. We found the mustard velvet upholstery fabric online for a really good price.”
Cass and Di have been really creative with their planning and space saving solutions throughout Dixie. “In the living space we have built hidden storage into the back of the fireplace – which was completely refashioned – we took out the old gas fire and installed a new tiled hearth and new gas fire. We also incorporated furniture with storage – repurposing a bedside cabinet from Barker & Stonehouse as a mini bar cabinet.”
The pair have been super imaginative with the kitchen area too, using the original carcasses, but taking out the wall units and replacing the work surface with a bespoke brass worktop. Painting the door and drawer fronts, replacing the handles and lining the cupboards with leopard print self-adhesive vinyl has totally transformed the remaining units and a splash-back tiled with smart hexagonal tiles from Porcelain Superstore add the perfect finishing touch. And now, hey presto, a standard caravan kitchenette has been glam-styled – and made completely unique.
The living space was just the start for the Dixie dream team – as we head for the bedrooms, the animal print theme expands to the walls – there’s an incredible tiger skin wallpaper in the biggest bedroom, a zebra scheme in the next and an exotic floral escapade in the smallest bedroom. “We found the amazing paper at Hovia and this started the inspiration for the Tibetan tiger theme throughout the room,” says Di. “We were lucky enough to do a launch collaboration with Wayfair, who gifted us product in exchange for press stays and competition prizes – and this enabled us to include some of their products in Dixie. We chose the rattan headboard and bedsides, which we teamed with a smart divan base that incorporates hidden storage drawers. We made all the curtains and pelmets throughout Dixie and used shop-bought blinds, which we customised with different trimmings to add a special flourish to each window. We finished it with a range of mix and match linens and cushions, also from Wayfair and TK Maxx.”
The second bedroom has distinctly romantic overtones, which work surprisingly well with the bold zebra print. Somehow, in this space, red begins to be a perfectly natural colour for a zebra, albeit a rather exuberant one. As Di says, “This room is not for the faint-hearted.”
The zebra Hide and Seek wallpaper is from Lust Home in a shade of red matched to the bold Atomic Red paint from Little Greene, which covers the ceiling. “We made the oversized heart headboard from a sheet of MDF, cut out with a jigsaw, then upholstered the heart in wadding, red velvet fabric and a staple gun which was then fixed to the wall on a split batten,” – simple but so effective. “We also re-covered the zebra lampshades with offcuts of the matching fabric.”
Not to be outdone, the mini bedroom makes up for its small stature with its wild decor – it’s a room to launch yourself into… literally. “This is our smallest jump-into-bed room,” says Di. “It’s so small that you simply open the door and just have to leap into the amazing space full of colour and pattern. What we lack in size we have made up for in style – minimal space, style to the max. We wanted this room to be a real glam showpiece. We clad the ceiling with copper mirror laminate and papered all the walls with the bold floral patterned paper by Paloma Faith from Wayfair. We replaced two single beds with our double divan which has handy lift-up storage underneath – no wardrobe required – this provides the perfect alternative storage solution.”
To add to the maximalist vibe an oversize leopard print pendant lamp complete with tassel trim has been fitted and the walls have been covered with loads of quirky artwork and handy hooks for storing bits and bobs. The bed is dressed with leopard print linen and heaps of gorgeous cushions in eclectic bold floral patterns.
The bathroom has not escaped the Dixie Daydream treatment and is testament to the idea that you can still go large in a tiny space – in fact The Style Producers positively recommend it. On the shelves above the loo – and a wonderfully kitsch dolly toilet roll holder – a bevy of Barbie dolls are on display – posing happily in their ideal Barbie world. “Well, come on, seriously – who doesn’t love a Barbie!” says Di. “We love them, (as do all our guests) and are still adding to our collection on a regular basis.”
Searching out quirky accessories, vintage finds and artworks – often original pieces, as The Style Producers are keen to support new artists and go to as many exhibitions as they can – many of their latest finds are used throughout the caravan. “We have a mix of artwork in every room – from original artworks, neons, prints, postcards and also vintage collectables – and have tried to put our spin on mixing things up to give Dixie her own unique personality. We also love searching out vintage accessories to add to the mix and we are always on the look out for unique treasures to add a bit of Dixie magic to the rooms.
“As curators we obviously love everything that we have done to Dixie and it’s not the end of the process, as we are constantly evolving her style and adding new pieces.”
Sand, sea and simple pleasures are often all we need for a stay at the beach, but if you’re planning a fun mini getaway at the seaside, then Dixie’s could be more than just a daydream. “If Dolly Parton had a caravan it would most certainly be Dixie style,” says Di, “so if that’s your vibe, then pay us a visit.” A glamour pad awaits at Camber Sands. Come on Barbie, let’s go party!
To book a stay at
Dixie Daydream visit
Find out about
The Style Producers
Barker & Stonehouse barkerandstonehouse.co.uk
Lust Home lusthome.com
Porcelain Superstore porcelainsuperstore.co.uk
- words: Jo Arnell
- pictures: David Merewether
- location: Camber Sands
- styling: Holly Levett
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