13/03/2008
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Early shows attract new homes

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THE park and holiday home area at the National Boat Caravan and Outdoor Show, held annually at Birmingham’s NEC, has been growing for the last couple of years, and 2008 saw probably the best display so far, with homes and parks occupying most of Hall 4.

The highlight for 2008 was probably the launch of Tingdene’s Warreners Lodge, which takes mobile home lodge design to yet a new level.

This is a ‘barn conversion’ lodge, with an open plan kitchen, dining area and lounge beneath a vaulted ceiling decorated with two A-frame beams supported by large timber columns.

It’s a superb space and looks and feels wonderfully spacious – I assumed it was a 22ft wide model, but in fact it was the normal 20ft.

This sense of spaciousness was partly due to the high roof of the show home, which will actually be lower in the production models due to the problem of building the higher version in the Tingdene factory.

Such is the excellence of the overall design, though, that I don’t think this will make too much difference – and neither will the other tweaks, which will involve shorter roof overhangs at the front and sides.

The quality of the Warreners is not confined to the living area. There are two bedrooms, both with en suite facilities and each quipped with king-sized beds. Real comfort day and night!

My main criticism of the lodge would be the rather minimal provision of windows, except in the front elevation, which has a two pairs of large sliding patio doors – so you will need to site the home with these directly facing any views.

But, as a lodge for day-to-day living, it’s quite outstanding.

Tingdene also displayed one of its Victorian park homes. This is a model that has been around for some time, but hasn’t been promoted much in recent years.

The show model was decked out with period-style furniture and fittings to demonstrate what can be achieved with the right flair and, while it wasn’t to my rather more modernist taste, the effect was very impressive.

The home itself is an excellent one, and deserves a bit more time under the spotlight.

Elsewhere, along with a number of recent, but now well-established models, Willerby had its New Hampshire Compact 34 on show, along with a new version of the Leven, in this case a 37ftx12ft, 20-bed version at just over £24,000.

The latter has been deliberately designed for those who prefer the more ‘traditional’ look of caravan holiday homes, in furnishings, fabrics and fittings.

Again, though not to my personal taste, it has been superbly done, with red and gold dominating. It will be interesting to see whether there really is a strong market for this ‘retro’ look.

Another brand new model was the Carrock Fell from Stately-Albion, which has been designed specially for Stowford Farm Meadows.

This has a fairly ordinary, rectangular timber-clad exterior, but some interesting interior features, including a fitted study area in the corner of the lounge, and wall-mounted air conditioning units that double as picture frames.

If you fancy an open-plan living area, it’s a design that, with a traditional exterior, would work equally well as a residential home.

Homeseeker and Advent, both under the umbrella of Shepherd Group these days, had updated versions of their Cotswold and Rosemary respectively.

These have been intelligently and attractively redesigned, and we’ll look at them more closely in the May issue issue of Park & Holiday Homes magazine.

Other manufacturers at the show included BK Bluebird, with the excellent Grosvenor, Cosalt, with its Studio Extra, Omar, with the Oulton Excel and Kingfisher, and Wessex, with the new front lounge version of the Deckhouse (another model we will be covering in a forthcoming issue).

Even more homes could be seen on the large stands taken by Salop and Allens, including an excellent model built by ABI called the St James (not one of its standard range).

This has curved picture windows to the front, plus patio doors, and a luxurious interior – though also a luxurious price of around £60,000.

The Salop stand also featured some new decking produced by Marche Industries – who manufacture flotation systems for mobile homes. Made from uPVC, with an acrylic skin and steel inserts in the rauils and legs, it comes in a choice of colours and with a 12-year warrantly against colour fade.

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