Friday, July 12, 2013

Steve-O's Tiki Lounge

Two years ago, Donna and I bought a house, our dream house on a lake. It's built on a berm, making the basement rec room level with the lower end of the yard on the lake side - perfect for entertaining.  At first sight, Donna said, "We should make this a tiki room."

Months went by before this idea went from the wish list to the planning stages.  I started out by re-reading an old FLIP article about Alan Smart's tiki room.  He took a room much like mine, with white walls and grey carpet, and completely transformed the space.  I contacted Alan, who gave me a few links for places to go to for materials.  I also did a lot of Google image browsing on tiki rooms.
Tiki room, before
I spent some time in the rec room, staring at the walls, the ceiling, the floor, imagining what kinds of materials I could use.   I took measurements and drew a floor plan and sketches of what the room could look like.  Then I started pricing out materials.  While creating a tiki room from scratch is not the cheapest renovation you can do, it's  also not the most expensive.  All told, with bamboo, thatch, paint, and lights I spent about $6,000.  I probably spent another $4000 on area rugs and furnishing. 

I gutted the room, pulling up the rug, and pulling down the acoustic panels from the ceiling.  I replaced the old florescent lights with recessed.  I insulated the ceiling, then screwed 1/4 luan to the joists, to be later covered with thatch.

I got two pallets of bamboo poles and thatch from and went to work, putting thatch on the ceiling, bamboo strips halfway down the walls, and framing it all out with bamboo poles.
floor in progress
Since the floor and walls are concrete and mortar, I thought I'd make it look like a bamboo hut that was build on a volcanic stone foundation.  I painted the floor and bottom half of the walls three times, ragging on the second and third coats in progressively darker tones of grey.  The repetitive motion of patting paint on cement for hours took a toll on my shoulder.  A day after painting, I couldn't raise my arm.  At all.  X-rays, a cortisone shot and three weeks of physical therapy later, I could hail a cab again.   But what a fine looking floor! 

With construction done, the real fun began - decorating! In this stage, I was inspired by Gilligan's Island and Swiss Family Robinson to convey a shipwrecked theme.  I painted furniture to look weatherbeaten,  hung old fishing poles and netting from the ceiling. I created bar shelves to look like repurposed crates, stenciling faux shipping information onto 3 inch planks of wood that I distressed with a hammer and file.  Donna made blinds out of canvas to look like repurposed sails.  I stenciled the names of our kids on them, the S.S. Chris and the S.S. Megan.  We fashioned window treatments out of Hawaiian wrap dresses. I found some old picture frames in Dad's attic and hung old photos of our parents as young funsters (who knew?).
window treatments from Hawaiian wrap dresses, and blinds made from canvas to look like old sails.  
Bar on obsolete barbecue grill.  I hot glued fake bamboo vines to the brick to give it a reclaimed by nature look.  Note paint-by-number art found in Dad's attic.
Photo gallery featuring photos of our parents from the '40's.
Lounge with pod chair.  Note minion tikis framing bar area.  And how about that floor, eh?
Mixing the shipwrecked theme with the Polynesian has allowed me to be practical and use some furniture I already owned.  Rattan, especially the good, vintage stuff, is very expensive.   I did buy a pod chair from Pier One Imports - had to have it.  We had a lot of fun browsing on-line and in antique shops.  For my birthday, Donna got me an official "Steve-O's Tiki Lounge" sign by Tiki Tony.  For Christmas, I got a ukelele.   Oh yeah, and there's the minion tiki totems I just finished making.  I'll save that story for another post.

We love hanging in the lounge with friends, our little getaway in our basement.  And like Disneyland, it will probably never be totally finished.
The Queen Bulamama shrine.  I found this painting in an antique shop.
 The tools are from  Fiji, courtesy of editor Elen Orson.

My custom made Minion tiki.  One of two, and I've got them both.
An official Tiki Tony sign for the entry.  

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