Outdoor

Meet the young family who lovingly restored this tired caravan

Darcy, the vintage caravan bar, is a dream come true for this young family. See how this once tired caravan has become a Hawke’s Bay treasure

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Stacey Bancroft (graphic designer), Mark Bancroft (draughtsperson), and Mabel, 6 months, plus Beau the black Labrador.

Meet the young family who lovingly restored this tired caravan

Built in 1969, Darcy the Caravan was lovingly restored in 2015 and has now become quite the socialite, attending weddings, birthdays and many other special celebrations around Hawke’s Bay. Owners Stacey and Mark Bancroft were holidaying in Cambodia when the idea for Darcy was conceived.

The young couple had spent the past decade ping-ponging from one hemisphere to the other. They lived in Melbourne for two years before heading to London for a further two years, then back to Melbourne for a final three-and-a-half years. While holidaying in Cambodia, and with time to relax from their normally busy lives, Stacey started brainstorming the idea of a caravan bar. Mark was immediately on board with the plan and they decided to move back home to New Zealand to start this next exciting chapter in their lives.

Their respective families are based in the Manawatu and Taupo, so Mark and Stacey wanted to buy a house somewhere in-between: they chose Hawke’s Bay. “I lived in Hawke’s Bay for a year between university and moving overseas and I always said I would move back after my travels,” says Stacey. “Luckily for me, Mark loved the idea, too.” After years of living abroad it was time to settle down, start a family and get back into the Kiwi lifestyle.

Once the house had been bought, Mark threw himself into their other project – the caravan bar. Plenty of hours trawling Trade Me eventually resulted in success when Darcy was found. Although a little tired, Darcy had loads of potential, so with their dream in sight, Mark and Stacey sacrificed many long weekends to work on him.

darcy

Starting from scratch, they gutted the little caravan and slowly rebuilt it. A new floor was put in and they lined the walls in ply themselves, sanding and oiling all the wood. With the help of local business CedarVille Joinery and Building, a long pine bench was added outside – the perfect spot to lean or perch on a bar stool with a drink. They also built and installed the beautiful cedar servery window with gas struts, allowing the side of the caravan to open up and become a bar.

Stacey and Mark settled on a fresh, bright white when it came time to have Darcy professionally painted. They wanted the caravan to look smart and be able to blend into any surrounding and suit any occasion, vintage or modern, simple or sophisticated, decadent or bohemian, town or country.

Darcy the Caravan Bar is available for hire in Hawke’s Bay and, as well as bar staff to serve your guests, Stacey and Mark will also provide a drink dispenser with fruit-infused water, ice and accessories such as straws, coasters and napkins. If you hire Darcy you provide the location, the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and the glassware. Any props, styling or set-up outside the caravan is also your responsibility, while Stacey and Mark will style the interior to suit your theme.

drinksDispenser

Stacey’s other business, the Blushing Teacup, offers graphic design and styling services which complement Darcy the Caravan Bar beautifully. She also has props for hire and, if you can’t find exactly what you’re after, Stacey may be able to source it for you.

Mark and Stacey have built an extensive network of people and businesses that can help their clients with their special events, including one of Hawke’s Bay’s best-known florists and
a photographer.

With their dream of owning a caravan bar achieved, the couple are excited about their future, which also now includes their precious six-month-old daughter Mabel.

Stacy

“It would never have been possible for us to embark on a project like Darcy overseas,” Stacey remarks. “We love being back in a community where you can get so much support and knowledge from the locals.”

Hawke’s Bay will see plenty more of the dashing Darcy as he’s bound to be invited to all the best parties. Make sure you include him on your guest list.

Stacy’s outdoor styling tips

  • When styling a party outside use plenty of colour to help create a fun atmosphere.
  • Ensure your drinks station looks enticing. Arrange simple bunches of greenery foraged from the garden in quirky vessels.
  • Edible garnishes will make even the simplest beverage look fabulous. Place a selection in dishes for your guests to add themselves, and freeze edible flowers or fruit into ice cubes.
  • Create comfy spaces for your guests to relax. Layer picnic blankets and top with cushions and a low-to-the-ground table. A coffee table works well, or old wooden pallets with tablecloths or runners. Get creative with seating, mix and match chairs, or place colourful squabs on top of beer crates.
  • Ambient lighting is key for setting the mood of a party. You can never have too many candles, and try hanging a string of festoon lights between trees.

Words by: Vic Bibby. Photography by: Florence Charvin.

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