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Tiki Central Forums Creating Tiki Other Crafts Combining Traditional Decor with Tiki
Combining Traditional Decor with Tiki
Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 15, 2005
Posts: 14
From: San Jose, CA
Posted: 2006-12-23 3:14 pm   Permalink

First off: I am mondo-jealous of those of you who have true basement spaces for creating Tiki Environs!

We live in a '70's-era "California Ranch" tract-home neighborhood (Sadly our house is not an Eichler!). 2BR 1BA - Open-floor-plan w/appx 1100-1200 sq ft. No basement to speak of!

--> But we're on a 1/4 acre lot - and our backyard is a TOTAL Tropical Paradise (in summertime, anyway!) - complete with HUGE swimming pool and palm-trees galore!

I've been drooling over the "Post pics of your Home Tiki Room/space" thread (and contributed, even!).

Here's my query: Surely there are people out there who have been successful at 'melding' Traditional with Tacky-Tiki / 50's "shag" type of decor! If so, I'd love to see how you've done it!

When I moved in, this was *clearly* a "Bachelor Pad" (No woman - in her right mind - could have lived here!!!). So I've been slowly attempting to "work my magic" here - turning his 'house' into 'our home!'

(And, yes, he ultimately DOES appreciate it!!! A bit of balking, at first, but ultimately he admits that my improvements are incredible!!! Besides - we're married now - so he knows better than to fight it!!! )

We've got a big ol' Den/Great-Room with LOTS of wood. Vaulted ceiling (pine beamed). And one wall, entirely of pine-wood beams (NOT cheesy-paneling!). Feels almost like a "cabin" in there!

I started decorating it in a "Gentleman's Club"/"Cigar-Bar" vibe. Lots of bookshelves and brown-leather with brass nail-head furniture: sofa, loveseat and wing-back-chair/recliner. Lots of dark-plaid accents (curtains, throw pillows, etc.). And a wood-stove.

But - the more I think about it (particularly since the backyard is TOTALLY "Tropical!") - the more I want to incorporate some 50's era "Tiki" decor into it. But I just don't know how to pull it off!

On the plus side: We do have a large, dead fish on the wall (eight-foot sailfish we caught in Puerto Vallarta). No mooseheads! We do have a bar (open to the kitchen). Nothing's been done to that. Barstools are "mission style" but still pretty 'generic.' The bar itself is pretty plain: off-white formica-top w/plain ol' off-white plaster underneath...

We also have a neon beer/bar-sign on the wall, next to the bar. I've added a "plasma" Moai lamp to the bar - plus my hand-sculpted Moai lamp to the top of the entertainment center. I'm just not sure how to ADD tiki and pull it all together without seeming too "Eclectic" ("Schizophrenic!") in my design-scheme!

Things that cannot leave: Bookshelves and books (We ARE big readers, and there's no other place to store the books). Brass nailhead furniture (relatively new). Monster Big-Screen TV and (I guess it's kinda "mission style") Entertainment Center. And, obviously, the wood-stove has to stay!

I really don't have much 50's/Tiki decor in there, unfortunately. So I'm not sure how to ADD tiki without making it feel weird!

Have any of you managed to incorporate TIKI into a "traditional" decorating scheme - and have it work? If so, I'd LOVE to see pictures!

And/or - if you think it would help, I'll try to post pics of our "Great Room" - so you-all can offer suggestions for how I can make this work!



[ This Message was edited by: IMQTPI 2006-12-24 09:48 ]

[ This Message was edited by: IMQTPI 2006-12-26 05:50 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4283
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2006-12-23 3:28 pm   Permalink

Ya best bet is to post pics of your bar so people can make suggestions, that way we know what you have to work with.

One of my "to do" projects is to tiki-fy my coffee table. I have a bunch of signed tiki prints, but nowhere to hang them cause we're in a rental. The coffee table will get repainted, a glass top will be added, and the prints slid under the glass. That way I can still frame them when we get out own place, but I can still enjoy them now, but also look after them.

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 15, 2005
Posts: 14
From: San Jose, CA
Posted: 2006-12-23 3:50 pm   Permalink

I kinda figured it'd be difficult to make this request w/o "Visuals!"

So here goes! (Pics taken in a "clockwise" sorta fashion!)

BTW - I know one of the first things that's "Gotta Go" is the NASTY brown shag carpeting (circa 1979)!!! This has been a point of contention betwixt spousal-unit and self for quite some time!!! I don't think we can do hardwood flooring b/c GR is on a concrete slab - but at the very least, we should consider a LIGHTER freakin' carpet!!! But go-ahead and slam it if you see fit! Might help ADD to my side of the argument!!! Thx

Back Wall (first thing you notice when you walk into our GR!)

Bookshelf wall (Actually, this is the first wall you see - when you're standing in the kitchen looking over to the den!)

TV/Woodstove Wall - is to the right of the Bookshelf wall, when you're standing in the kitchen...

Bar Wall - when you're in the GR, facing the kitchen...

Actually, this picture makes it look far worse than it is IRL!!!

I am TOTALLY open to suggestions on how to make this room "work!!!" So please - don't hold back on ideas!!!

A Million Mahalos!!!!


[ This Message was edited by: IMQTPI 2006-12-23 16:04 ]

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Sep 14, 2004
Posts: 4283
From: Sydney, Australia
Posted: 2006-12-23 8:05 pm   Permalink

Firstly, that Harley art above the TV is NOT tiki. Get rid of it. In fact, send it to me so I can properly dispose of it


I think a good approach for you is to mix the tiki with the old cigar room vibe you got. Like an upmarket tiki lounge, crossed with ye old English hunters room. Like the kind of room a guy with a pith helmet might have filled with his finds from his ventures into the savage Polynesian islands. With some fishing stuff too.

* Ditch the carpet. I have seen some very realistic timber look vinyl for flooring, might be worth a look.
* Lots of lamps and other tiki paraphernalia hanging from the ceiling. Its a lovely high ceiling, take advantage of it! Lamps, fishing floats, fishing nets (these will go with da fishy on the wall too). Ive literally just bought some twine and Im going to have a go at making my own vintage fishing net
* Those lounges look nice and comfy. You may be able to work them in, not sure. To me theyve got that old English feel, you might justify them as being left overs from English settlers in Polynesia or something? Or from an old English shipwreck? Or I might just be talking crap... Leave em till last and see if they fit in still.
* Paint the walls! Anything but bloody white! Maybe a creamy/beigy colour? Thatd tone with the existing furniture, give it more an 'earthy' feel.
* Change the curtains. Bamboo curtains, vintage style aloha shirt pattern - but again, drawing on earthy colours in the print, not bright red hibiscus...
* Detail the bar section, so its distinguished from the rest of the room. Bamboo is your freind
* Some bright tiki prints as highlight points.
* Tikis! Tikis! Tikis! Sprinkle them all over the room, on the bookshelves, on the walls, freestanding on the floor.

Actually the big fishy looks crap, send that to me too

Look, im not sure if the cigar lounge/tiki lounge room will work. I think it could, but I also think it could very easily just not gell, and look half-assed. Id suggest do the above suggestions, and see how it goes. You can always later ditch the lounge and go for a bamboo lounge with aloha print down the track. Experiment and dont forget to HAVE FUN

And trawl through TC looking at pics of tiki rooms. The ones that look great and really get your attention - what is it that appeals to so much? The mix of different items, the colours, the mood, the fact its completely over the top or understated and tasteful?

To me, I want a room where you dont notice eveything at first. One of those places where you just want to sit and soak in the details. That doesnt mean heaps of stuff necessarily, it just means little details

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8FT Tiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Nov 30, 2003
Posts: 1398
From: Kansas City, MO
Posted: 2006-12-23 10:17 pm   Permalink

[We've got a big ol' Den/Great-Room with LOTS of wood. Vaulted ceiling (pine beamed). And one wall, entirely of pine-wood beams (NOT cheesy-paneling!). Feels almost like a "cabin" in there!]

Here's what we did in a similar setting. Maybe you will get some ideas for your space. Good luck.


I once was lost............but now I'm found

[ This Message was edited by: 8FT Tiki 2006-12-23 22:19 ]

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Dec 31, 2005
Posts: 666
From: Suburban San Diego (The Drawer)
Posted: 2006-12-24 12:58 am   Permalink

Just my two cents...
You can do hardwood flooring over a concrete slab, call around to find estimates from several flooring companies. I've installed solid wood flooring over concrete sub-floors in several homes. The process is a bit more involved than on a wood sub-floor (go figure!) as you need to seal the concrete with a waterproof mastic and then attach a floating wood sub-floor. As I said, contact some reputable wood flooring people. There is also the floating laminate wood that can be done. Both have their pro's and con's. While the laminate installation is faster and a whole lot cleaner, the solid wood should last a lifetime (I've worked in some historical homes down here that still had the original floor that was installed close to ninety years ago).
I realize it's only the floor, but after a night of really good mai tais, zombies, castaways, or whatever, that's usually where a person ends up staring, or possibly sleeping. I know I've done both.
Okay, I guess that was more than two cents.

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 26, 2002
Posts: 2639
From: Seattilite Telstar
Posted: 2006-12-24 09:01 am   Permalink

The old English world travelling gentleman's club is the way to go. You can bring a lot of Tiki into that look but it should be more museum type "serious" pieces...Paddles, clubs, spears, New Guinean masks, formally framed pieces of tapa cloth. Fortunately for this look African pieces would incorporate nicely (and they're easier to find at the import shops).

I don't care for white walls either, but since so much of your wall space is already wood, brick, or bookshelves I don't think it's an issue here. (Except the bar/kitchen wall.) I would lose the plaid curtains and replace them with a solid color that's similar to the tone of the couch and chairs. Same with the curtains by the glass doors. In both cases you could do a double rod system with a cream lightweight curtain behind the dark ones. That would allow you to let in a lot of light, and add some privacy. The curtains over the window by the bookshelves should be a little longer and a little wider. They can come almost all the way to the bookshelf below. Bamboo shades would look good incorporated into the window covering, but mainly for the exotic element, not function.

Move the wine rack to the top of one of the tall bookshelves. That will give you the low shelf for more cool stuff. Don't worry about asymmetry, the look of the world travelling gentleman's club is that stuff was put wherever there was room fro it as it was brought back.

Dress up the bookshelves. Keep your eye out for inexpensive old book with decorative spines on them. Take the loud dust jackets off other books. (Keep them stored neatly in a box.) Align all the spines of the books to the edge of the shelves. Add interesting objects among the books. Stick all the CDs, DVDs, tapes, and whatever on a lower inconspicuous shelf. Get a lot of interesting boxes and baskets for storing the odds and ends in . (This is a good idea for the whole room and a way to incorporate more exotic finishes..Bamboo, rattan, etc...Into the room.)

The coffee table could be traded out for a more exotic one, look for something bamboo in a dark finish. The current end tables could get new tops instead of the glass or put tapa cloth beneath the glass.

Get some different throw pillows. Zebra or leopard would be good, or a heavily textured natural toned fabric. Stick to one or two kinds so it pulls everything together.

Move the fish to the center of the wall it's on, and slightly higher. It's a strong dramatic piece and should be the center of attention.

Rather than hanging a lot of odds and ends from the ceiling I would stick to a few larger pieces (fish traps mainly) or look into one large impressive piece, an outrigger canoe would be ideal. Hard to find, but one could be commissioned or made yourself. As it won't be a functioning piece it could be made of any lightweight material.

Get a lot more tropical plants, real or fake. Large ones would be ideal.

If the carpet is in good shape it's not that big of a design issue. Especially as a large area rug would be a good idea. If the carpet needs replaced a new surface in a medium tone would be idea.

As for the FUN Tiki: As far as I can see your bar and kitchen are a blank slate. The bar side of the den could be a little more sober (There's LOTS of room for a thatch or bamboo "awning" over the whole arch/opening, and a wider bar top could be added), but the kitchen side can be full of 1000 Tiki mugs if you want. And the motorcycle lamp. And the Miller sign.
Attribution is the sincerest form of flattery.

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Tiki Centralite

Joined: May 15, 2005
Posts: 14
From: San Jose, CA
Posted: 2006-12-24 09:02 am   Permalink

Thanks everyone - for the feedback!

hewey: I like the idea of the Pith-helmet-wearing/Safari-hunting/Savage-Polynesian-traveling (and no doubt pipe-smoking!) Brit.

In that way, I could meld the 'Library' with 'Tiki.' Plus, maybe, a bit of Hemingway/Deep-sea-fisherman (I do have a few nautical and fishing-related trinkets). Ooh! And add a dash of 'Africa' as well, perhaps? I'm thinkin' leopard-hides (Fake, but tasteful, of course!) Maybe some spears? Overall vibe could still be very 'Pub-like' and Cigar-Lounge-ish, I think. It'd definitely work with the existing furniture (which IS fairly new and *quite* comfy!) Best part is: I think (if I don't go tooooo crazy!) I just might be able to pull it off - without looking schizophrenic!

The downside: I'll probably have to veer away from 'Tacky Tiki' and the 50's Mid-Century-Modern vibe (No boomerang tables - Rats!). Still, putting that 'spin' on it gives me some direction - Thanks!

What do you think? Is Library + Tiki + Hemingway + Safari too much???

(And no, you can't have my Harley Art! )

8FT: I *love* what you've done with your room (somehow I missed that original thread - so thanks for the re-post!). We could do the same thing with our room, but MAN that looks like a lot of work!!!

Whenever I make drastic changes like that, I wait for hubbie to go on a business trip. Not sure if reed-fencing the ceiling is something I could tackle single-handed - but the effect is AMAZING!

Plus, it'd really "lighten up" the room. Our GR is very cave-like at times (tho' we prefer to call it "cozy!"). The beauty of that idea is, it'd lighten things up without actually 'destroying' the wood - like painting would (Hubbie'd shoot me if I painted the wood!). Yout reed-roof idea is definitely 'on my list' of things to ponder heavily...

heath: I've been thinking of gathering bids on hardwood flooring anyway (kitchen floor needs re-finishing), so I'll add the GR to the list and hope I don't die of sticker-shock!!! I still have a sneaking suspicion that (if I'm LUCKY!) we'll end up going w/lighter carpet. Worst case, maybe I can find carpeting that has a 'sisal' (or some other 'natural fiber') look/feel to it, so we can keep the theme going...

Thanks again everyone - for the feedback! Keep those ideas and suggestions coming!!!

I really do like the safari/pub vibe! Really! So if anybody wants to add to that, please chime in with more ideas!

-Nancy AKA IMQTPI AKA "Safari Queen!"

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