With a small financial investment and some imagination you can turn something old into something delightfully vintage. Meet Will and Saira Aspinall, two Brits who sold up in London in 2018 to buy a historic farmhouse near Lake Bled in Slovenia. The couple are slowly renovating the 400-year-old house into a family-friendly boutique hotel. When Will wondered whether he should tackle some smaller DIY projects before starting on the house, Saira presented him with an old Adria 380 caravan and a vision of a vintage inspired off-grid mobile bar. Rex’s Bar was born.
We found Rex’s Bar on avto.net, the popular Slovene website for second hand vehicles. Still roadworthy, the 1979 Adria 380Q was just 900 euro and based a few kilometres away.
The concept for the bar quickly generated interest from one of the country’s most popular eco-friendly campsites. With a residency secured at Eco River Camp for the summer months, Will had just four months to complete the renovation. To keep costs down, Will repurposed many old items found in the couple’s farmhouse. Retro features include a garage door which now serves as the bar counter, some excellent 1950s wallpaper found in the attic that adds vintage flair, and 150 year-old floorboards transformed into a terrace. Coupled with bespoke stainless steel worktops and high-tech solar panels, the bar meets all modern standards while retaining plenty of charm. As well as spending the summer serving thirsty campers, Saira and Will also hire Rex’s Bar for events and festivals, such as the December celebrations and Spring Chocolate Festival in the nearby historic town of Radovljica.
"REX’S BAR STARTED AS A RENOVATION PROJECT FOR WILL, BUT IT HAS BECOME A HUGE PART OF OUR FAMILY LIFE AND A BACKBONE FOR OUR BUSINESS WHILE WE RESTORE THE FARMHOUSE"
Inspired by the opulence of The Orient Express train carriages, the new caravan - named No.26 - provides a luxurious stay complete with full-size double bed, linen bedding and a night-sky ceiling. Also situated at Eco River Camp in Slovenia it is available to book for summer stays of two nights or more.
No.26 had been owned by the same couple for the past 20 years and they were upgrading to a new Adria. We worked with the same Slovenian designer on the colour scheme and design for the exterior and they also created over 50 foiled gold star stickers for us - to recreate the night sky I wanted for the ceiling. As well as renovating the internal space, Will also created a sundeck for the caravan to give guests a private space to sit, eat and relax outside.
Eco River Camp is a small 100% self-sustainable campsite in the alpine region of Slovenia. Situated on the banks of the River Sava and very close to Lake Bled, it is the perfect place from which to explore the nature and beauty of Slovenia. Open from 01 June - 15 September each year, the campsite accepts guests with RVs, mobile homes, caravans and tents, as well as offering on-site accommodation in bell-tents, wooden cabins and No.26.
It's your turn!