The name was a bit of a joke to start with. It’s like those fantastic names from the 1960s – Streamlite, Sunlander, Beautility, to name a few. Two words mashed together to make something alluring and magical. Caravannex – caravan + annex – is exactly the concept, and the name stayed.
So, the caravan comes home from its summer of camping and rather than getting left, lonely and unused in the backyard, it berths up alongside the house to become an attractive and useable extra room; a valuable annex to your house.
It’s a room you want to be in, with warm timber, generous head room, attention to detail and useability. The interior is pretty elastic, with different elements folding in and out, parts having multiple uses, and the ability to change the room to suit many different functions: office, living, bedroom, yoga room and so on. There is a pop-out bathroom that lives in a cupboard until it’s required and there’s a bedroom that disappears into the roof to declutter the space. Over lockdown, it became a breakout space for us to play music and dance in without disturbing the kids when they went to bed.
Many visitors have commented on how at home they feel in the space, which makes us feel like we’ve done our job. There are factors that come together to make this a home space. Privacy, personal space, social space, and room to make your mark are all part of the equation. We’ve worked hard to make it very useful but still spacious and roomy.
There is a lovely rhythm about a daily routine, and so too there is a rhythm to how the space responds to that with its movements. You will only really discover the extent of all the design nooks and crannies and alignments if you are in here using it.
I’ve always been interested in the psychology of home in relation to the functional requirements of furniture and space. In 2017 Creative New Zealand acknowledged my work with a Craft/Object Fellowship, giving me the opportunity to explore and hone those ideas and realise them in a fully resolved package.
Paulus McKinnon and I built it from scratch – Paulus is a designer, artist and builder; we are both seasoned makers and have relished the chance to go the extra mile with idea resolution and craftsmanship. We love doing this kind of work.