A national TV audience has seen how a young designer turned his dream of building a luxury glamping pod into reality with the help of Europe’s top trailer maker.
Sam Thompson bought himself a pre-owned Ifor Williams livestock trailer for just £4,000 and then spent another £11,000 transforming it into a real transport of delight fitted with everything from double glazing to a wood burning stove.
And his incredible creative journey was featured on Channel 4 in an episode of the popular George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.
Sam, 30, from Mirfield near Huddersfield, whose day-job is as a designer of medical devices for a company in Halifax, told presenter George that he and his 29-year-old girlfriend Jessica Allen, who works as a nurse in the NHS, were looking for a luxurious camping experience based on something very different from the usual camper van or caravan.
He took the first step to making his dream come true by locating a used aluminium Ifor Williams tri-axle trailer hundreds of miles away near Bath.
Sam said: “I was looking for a tri-axle specifically as they are capable of carrying more weight and spreading the load more evenly without the need for stabilisers like a caravan has.
“The 4 x 2 metre trailer had also just had new brakes fitted by the original manufacturer. I bought it, and my dad towed it back for me as I hadn’t got a trailer licence at the time.
“A couple of months earlier I’d contacted George Clarke’s team and told them what I was planning and on the way back from Bath I was checking my emails and realised they’d been in touch.
“Jessica, my dad Colin Thompson and I were all then interviewed and soon afterwards we were advised we would be on the programme, so that’s when the work started!”
Sam, whose previous experience of working on vehicles was doing up old cars with Colin, first cleaned the trailer to sweep away all traces of its working past as a conveyance for cattle.
He’d already sourced many of the parts needed demanded by his own intricate plans which put the emphasis on a mixture of industrial and rural for the trailer’s finished look.
A priority, he recalled, was to make the whole thing waterproof and then to fill in the cattle breathing apertures along the side with 13 double glazing panels he had made specially for the job.
Sam and Colin also spent a lot of time on ensuring the trailer was well insulated throughout before installing a stone section on which the wood burning stove would sit and cutting a hole in the roof for the chimney. The whole cooking and heating combination is now perfect for producing a hot pie or pizza.
One of the most eye-catching features of the trailer’s interior is the sold oak herringbone flooring which Sam took great pains to install.
With the floor complete he and Colin completed the wiring which includes low-level twinkle lights near the floor, and a strip light concealed behind French oak on the ceiling.
The walls are clad in shiplap/tongue and groove timber painted an off white to make the space feel lighter.
The bed cantilevers outwards and when extended is a full king size. Cleverly fitted beneath it is a kitchen unit, which slides out, comprising of food and wine storage, plus a fridge.
With the kitchenette stowed, a table top slides out allowing two people to sit and enjoy a drink or meal in comfort. Under the table and to the other side are three large storage drawers for clothing.
Another striking feature is that the rear ramp, up which the cattle used to walk, can now be lowered on a steel cable system to form a sundeck making a seating area with a wall clad in wood to give a rustic look.
The whole thing is fitted out with furniture and furnishings tastefully designed by Sam with the help of Jessica.
Sam said: “The conversion work took just under months with the TV crew filming throughout.
“We did the work mainly at evenings and weekends and my dad Colin, who is 66 and a semi-retired fitter of kitchens and bathrooms, was a huge help.
“There was a bit of bickering between us on screen but when a father and son work together on something like this there’s always a bit of banter going on.
“The original budget was £10,000 but as I only used the best materials it ended up being more like £15,000 but it’s definitely been worth it.
“I’m chuffed to bits with the trailer and I think it would rival any caravan on the road. It’s also unique as I don’t know of another like it.
“We use my Land Rover Defender to tow the trailer and we’ve already used it on a couple of weekend trips to the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales.”
He added: “It tows very well and I’m glad I chose an Ifor Williams trailer because with its three axles and better brakes, makes it more able to take the extra load.
“I’d love to make another if anyone asked me to.”
Jessica said: “I think it’s brilliant and it’s given us a place where we can get away from reality and spend some quality time together.”
On the programme a hugely enthusiastic George Clarke said of the glamping pod Sam built: “The standard and quality of it is fantastic and at the end of the day it’s absolutely stunning and beautiful.”
Andrew Reece-Jones, the Design Engineering Manager at Ifor Williams Trailers, loved Sam’s TV trailer makeover.
He said: “It really never ceases to amaze me the inventive uses people find for our trailers.
“”I must say, the glamping pod looks absolutely stunning – giving you sumptuous accommodation in a location of your choosing. Now, that has to be the best of both worlds.
“Our trailers are nothing if not flexible in terms of the uses they are put to – one of the only restrictions being the imagination.”