Perhaps I had too much time on my hands during the summer break. I was looking online at some interior images of an all-white caravan with pops of elegant colour. Ahh, the luxury of it.
I began fantasising about my ultimate setup and how I'd kit it out with accessories that really break the bank. Following are some ideas for dreamers like me — and for those who really can afford it. But, just in case you’d like to live like the idle rich, but don’t have the dough to go, I’ve also included some tips for price-conscious buyers.
Pack up your troubles in your old kit bag
Everyone loves a good duffle bag and — outside of Italy — they don’t come much better than the R.M. Williams Leather Duffle Bag. I love the elegance of its vintage brown hue. It’s unisex and hard-wearing. Any scuffs and bumps are just going to add to the character of this timeless classic. And for my fantasy money, I think this is the perfect bag to take on the road for a weekend away. A snip at under $600. I threw in a washbag for an extra $160, and you can as well.
Of course, while I’m fantasy shopping at R.M.’s I’ll drift through the clothing department to look for some light and lovely merino to pull over my shoulders when the nights get cool. I chose an iconic Mare poncho which is just $200 for this quality garment. To be fair, I bought him a Howe merino sweater — also in black for $169.
Oh, and did I mention that I got off on a good footing by ordering a pair of bespoke Adelaide boots — handcrafter in Adelaide — by R.M. Williams from one piece of leather to perfectly match my foot? Just $800.
Let’s get some fresh air in here
There’s nothing like fresh air, but if your vehicle has been laid up for a while you might like to light a scented candle to snuff out those scents of mustiness that linger when your ride is in lockdown. I chose a table candle in a gorgeous lidded ceramic container — Versace Home’s Le Jardin de Versace ($378) — from luxury online home store Amara. I shopped with my eyes until I nearly expired for some ways to lift a tired interior. Of course, this is a fantasy piece and I didn’t consider the price, but if you are looking at ways to add instant freshness to your interior, you can’t go past accessories.
A Soft touch
I could have kept the Versace thing going when it came to freshening up the decor for the new season with some new Versace cushions from Amara ($469) but a little bit of bling is one thing and screaming ‘made of money’ is quite another.
As a dear friend is fond of saying, “money doesn’t buy good taste”.
There were so many cushions to choose from including Kylie Minogue at Home, Ralph Lauren, Roberto Cavalli and Tommy Hilfiger, among many big names from the design world. Many had prices to make your eyes water, but I liked the idea of mixing up some Amara home brand with some silk, stitched or velvet designs in pattern or plain. The variety is mind-blowing and you are sure to find something to suit your personal taste and pocket from $59 through to the Missoni Home priced at over $800.
I loved the Formasetti Grande Pesce ($831 for two) in soft blues, which went nicely with my scented candle.
Of course, I have a soft spot for Orla Kiely’s graphic prints which have a mid-century modern feel. These were modestly priced at around $79. If you’re on a budget, consider cushions as a way to make your RV look like money was no object. K-Mart is always a winner for a luxe-look on a tight budget. Throw in some elegant throws to get the cosy on and you’ll have a sumptuous showpiece without breaking the bank.
And so to bed
Just for a laugh, I thought I would look up luxury bed linen to see what the rich are prepared to spend on a good night’s sleep. After looking at price tags upwards of $14,000, I might have had a sleepless night. Instead, I decided to look at what comprises luxury bed linen. How do you find the best you can afford?
Egyptian cotton is often touted as the best of the best. If you want to walk like a Pharaoh, make sure the label says 100 per cent Egyptian cotton or displays the ‘Authentic Seal of the Egyptian Government’ on the label. But bear in mind that unethically-sourced products may have used child labour and an unconscionable amount of pesticides in the process of creating the quality cotton bed linen you desire.
Organic cotton or linen would be a good choice if you can afford it. Look for long-thread, two-ply (or greater) and a high thread count per square inch or per 10sq cm. The terms percale, plain weave and sateen simply refer to the differing number of horizontal threads across and down the weave. Sateen is silkier than percale with around four threads woven over one. Percale (my preference) has a roughly equal number of horizontal and vertical threads with at least 225 threads per 10cm of plain-weave fabric.
There are no hard and fast rules for the ‘best’ pillows. By the time you are old enough to buy your own pillow you have usually worked out the best type for you. And, if you are like me, you’ve also been the victim of a smooth-talking salesperson at a show who sold you (at a high cost) the ‘best pillow you’ll ever buy’ which turned out to be an unforgettable ‘memory’ foam dud.
If you’re ready to upgrade, I suggest you look for down, feather or a genuine chiropractic memory foam. Or you could make over your existing pillows and mattresses with a Duvulay outer which will elevate your humble bedding to five-star hotel luxury. This is why some high-end motorhome brands insist on Duvulay mattresses.
Kitchen, bathroom, barbecue
Good towels can create a luxury spa experience at home. Once again you could buy Egyptian cotton… or you could upgrade to the next level: Supima. This is touted by experts as the best in the world. Buy the best you can afford by understanding the standard of measurement is by gsm — or — grams per square inch. A good measure would be 400-700gsm.
And, of course, accessories can also be used to elevate the look of your RV's bathroom, no matter how humble it is.
In the kitchen, go for a refined, fuss-free look which will spell luxury. Buy the best pots and crockery you can afford, steering clear of cheap and nasty non-stick products which don’t last and will be bad for you and the environment. Ironically perhaps, in a story about luxurious goods, I use cheap as chips cast iron cookware which is naturally non-stick when correctly seasoned. I buy this from the camping section and have had some pieces for around 20 years. These will most likely outlast me.
But when it comes to outdoor cooking, I would pay the price for what I consider to be the best of the best barbecues and smokers. It’s personal. You could go for a marine-grade steel like the Magma brand which also makes stainless steel pots, or stick with the tried and true and buy a Weber which all of my friends swear by — over to you.
The joys of toys
Since books are my favourite companions (along with the occasional night in with Nigel Netflix to break the boredom), I struggled to think of what toys might add value to what is already an enviable lifestyle on the road. But after a bit of research, I came up with a few things — such as e-bikes and scooters and small boats and such like that just might enhance the overall experience.
It seems that the rich and famous — and all those aspiring to it — find it hard to go past a good jet-ski. If, like them, you love jet-skis, please tell me where you are going next so I can avoid it. If you simply must buy the latest and greatest, then you could do worse than look at Sea Doo GTX300 Limited or Wake Pro. While this seems to be the crème de ’la crème, I cannot actually tell you what you might pay for it, as I suspect the brand operates on the maxim that if you need to ask the price then you can’t afford it.
Likewise when it comes to e-bikes — which have always been a luxury item. These can range in price from upwards of $2000 to an eye-watering $16,000. The right one for you will depend on whether you are looking for an extreme offroader, a mountain or trail bike or a commuter bike. A good consumer website will tell you what the experts pick as the best of the best for 2019, but I was quietly pleased to see Raleigh in the top three on one website as this was always the brand of choice for my grandfather, an engineer with exacting standards.
If you love boating, it’s just a question of whether that boat is for fishing or for simply messing about in boats. But for my play money, I can’t go past the Sealander which is a caravan which is actually a boat. Stunning! But while looking for images of the Sealander, I also found a new luxury RV which is truly amphibious called the Terra Wind which will set you back at least a million dollars.
Don’t forget the simple things in life are often the best, and a good entertainment system goes a long way as an all-in-one solution to audio on the go. The Furrion 2-Zone Soundbar uses Bluetooth for multi-room applications and will cost $359.
Living la dolce vita
Surprisingly, all of these glimpses into the lives of the truly wealthy did not inspire in me any envy. Anyone who has an RV and can go bush or get beside the sea is, to my mind at least, living the dolce vita. As I am sure you’ll all agree.