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The Treasure Island Room
mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 355
Posted: 2010-08-17 3:06 pm   Permalink

We've enjoyed lurking here for a long time, seeing so many great projects come to life and cheering them on ... notably and in recent memory Hula Sue's and the Pao Pao Hut. And to that last one, I admit to being completely skeptical at first, and was progressively more convinced (and blown away!) as the thread commenced ... so it's in that spirit that we're finally motivated to make a post about our own ongoing tiki saga, the building of the Treasure Island Room.

We figure we should be documenting this somewhere, and since we'll undoubtedly need help or input on various parts of what has become a maddening all-consuming and impossible-sounding project, this is the place!

And we have to start all this by saying that the name itself is a misnomer of sorts. We knew when we first undertook the project that this was going to be the name -- it's named after the city of Treasure Island, Florida, which until fairly recently was an absolute mecca of classic mid-century modern architecture. We were very involved in trying to save it, but after a bitter and protracted battle, and despite some awesome media coverage leading to the city getting quite a few generous offers of assistance, the cause was basically lost. (There's still a few great landmarks there today, but it's only a shadow of what it was in 2004 ... which was when the whole two-mile strip looked basically like the best of 1964!)

But as the name applies to the tiki here, it's a misnomer because it's no longer merely a 'room' -- the project has ballooned into taking up a little more than a floor of the house!

We've been occupied with other rooms and restoration projects here so all of our tiki has been tucked away in storage, but this summer we've put our full attention to getting the TI Room in place -- even to the point of missing the Hukilau (we were painting tapa cloth that weekend instead).

At first the idea was to create a respectable and suitably vintage tiki bar that would be home for our collection of mugs, art, and artifacts from all these lost places that we love ... but as we came up with more places and ideas for must-have "tributes" that we'd absolutely have to do, the project quickly spun out of our control ... maybe over the top ... and then as we decided that all of this was entirely within the realm of physical possibility, we decided to just go with it. Might as well lay out our full intentions here on this first post to not only hold ourselves up to it in the coming months (gulp) but also solicit advice and ideas from the rest of you guys, since there's obviously a lot of first-class tikifying talent on here.

The current floorplan includes little "tributes" of all our favorite places, like the Mai-Kai, Tiki Gardens, the Tiki-Ti, the Tonga Hut and so on ... including a rock grotto with a fountain and real working moai fireplace replica from the Kahiki (and eventually, a tropical thunderstorm with rain, thunder and lightning); a dining room area that will be a ship's galley replica of the Wreck Bar, with "underwater" portholes and a hole in the ship's ceiling; a life-sized mermaid diorama behind the bar as our tribute to the Wreck Bar (and the setting of one of the best films of all time, Mako, The Jaws of Death), the gals of Weeki Wachee and the mermaids of hotel bars like 2 Fathoms Down; an "outdoor" area with fiber optic star ceiling, photo wall mural of Treasure Island, and a mini dance floor with the green and beige flooring of the Polynesian Room at the Signal House; a nautical bar with varnished & scalloped pine as it appeared at the Careless Navigator (and probably a hundred other nautical-themed bars!); an outdoor "beach" area with shuffleboard court, grill, and tiki bar; a miniature replica of The Surf of Treasure Island (the best of Treasure Island's lost motels) with a mural and one of its "spider leg" beams, plus a motel "living room area" containing the only known actual piece of The Surf in existence; and other details like the Sheraton Kon-Tiki's Samoan wall art, the Hala Kahiki's bamboo overhang, and probably too many things I'm forgetting. (Haven't even mentioned the Bahooka, Don the Beachcomber, Damon's, Old Tony's ... it's out of hand!)

We're actually moving quite along in the project (although the critical path checklist still looks like it's for conducting a moon landing and not a home renovation). Parts of the floor plan are recognizable now, but we figured that if we're posting here we should start at the sordid beginning ... so here's a couple of the earliest shots that show what we had to work with -- sorry for the poor quality but at the time we weren't thinking of documenting it anywhere. This is the family room and what looks like a cheerless "dungeon" (and it's actually not totally "before" because it's already stripped to the bare concrete).

In the "beach" room where the shuffleboard court will go, one of the first things we did was epoxy the floor to look like a sandy beach:

[ This Message was edited by: mike and marie 2012-10-07 15:12 ]

[ This Message was edited by: mike and marie 2018-01-19 10:43 ]

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Bongo Bungalow
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1295
From: Indiana
Posted: 2010-08-17 3:39 pm   Permalink

Your plans sound ambitious and ya gotta like that. And... I like your sandy floor.


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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 355
Posted: 2010-08-19 7:46 pm   Permalink


On 2010-08-17 15:39, Bongo Bungalow wrote:
Your plans sound ambitious and ya gotta like that. And... I like your sandy floor.

Thanks ... looking forward to getting advice, feedback and input here as we go!

Some more updates:

The dance / bar floor is ready now:

It's the same as from the Polynesian Room in the old Signal House in St. Pete (near TI). See the lower left corner:

Some exposed ducts behind the main bar were turned into Samoan tapa. The pattern? It is believed to be authentic ... as found on ancient menus from Stephen Crane's Sheraton Kon-Tiki Ports!

It extends into the wine cellar:

The seablue color on the side wall was matched from the exterior of TI's Algiers Motel:

Question: the tapa pattern is latex and tempera painted on the ducts over a layer of primer. Is there anything we should put over it to help preserve it?

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Mr. Pupu Pants
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 06, 2008
Posts: 337
From: Edmonds, WA
Posted: 2010-08-20 9:55 pm   Permalink

Hi Guys,
Great start and ideas! Can't wait to see more and cheer YOU on.
Have a great weekend,

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Big Kahuna
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 11, 2007
Posts: 2485
From: SoMass
Posted: 2010-08-21 12:12 pm   Permalink

I'm diggin' it!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 03, 2002
Posts: 3194
From: Las Vegas, NV
Posted: 2010-08-24 01:05 am   Permalink

I have a tiki shirt I am selling that says Treasure Island and TIki island on it. What size are you?
I'm the most thirstiesterest of all!
TRADER VIC'S, Vintage, Vegas & more on EBAY 1957SPUTNIK
If you like it, it is ZAZZ! If you don't it is RAZZ!

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Grand Member (first year)  

Joined: Nov 23, 2006
Posts: 6166
From: Sun City Lincoln Hills (NorCal)
Posted: 2010-08-30 6:34 pm   Permalink

Great ideas!!! Those floors are fabulous and the duct is genius. Keep up the great work.
"Oh waiter, another cocktail please!!!"

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jan 29, 2008
Posts: 318
From: San Juan Capistrano, Ca
Posted: 2010-09-04 3:51 pm   Permalink

Those ducts look great! I'm not sure what you would have to use to seal latex paint, but if you put a sepia/amber/light brown tint into the clearcoat, it would make that print look even cooler...in my opinion obviously. Regardless, looks nice.

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Lodge 9
Tiki Centralite

Joined: Mar 22, 2010
Posts: 38
From: Wylie Texas
Posted: 2010-09-05 04:57 am   Permalink

You can use waterbase polyureathane to seal and protect it, its usually crystal clear, so it wont change the color, I would use a satin finish. do a test spot to make sure you like it.
Did you free hand all that ductwork? it looks great!

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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 355
Posted: 2011-05-06 08:47 am   Permalink

All right, it's been too long away from the tiki ohana here! Ironically we've been out photographing tiki bars all over the place ... and making progress on the TI Room. Lots of progress!

Thanks everyone for the comments so far. We'll try a touch of sepia tint (or maybe even amber shellac?) in the clearcoat to seal the ducts. Yes, they were all handpainted ... the images were taken from a vintage menu from the Sheraton Kon-Tiki. Marie drew them to size, Mike copied them onto cardboard templates, and then we both painted with that.

The star ceiling is done, the Wreck Bar room is already "underwater" and nearly done, we're thinking mai-tais by late June. We'll post some longish updates, with photos, in a few days.

And Mr. Smiley, this is a little late, but we're L and M respectively!

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Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 09, 2010
Posts: 118
Posted: 2011-05-23 6:04 pm   Permalink

Amazing place!
I really love the design of the gate.

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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 355
Posted: 2012-09-24 7:58 pm   Permalink

All right, done a lot in the past year and a half. One half of the basement is almost finished, the other half is getting there.

We have some questions for the resident experts but first we should probably start where we left off in 2010...

First some serious blueprinting was in order so we knew how everything would fit in. We opted for the main bar with the mermaid show and a second 'outdoor' tiki bar in the beach area:

Dance floor is done (all the carpet removed, tile washed and waxed with Futura):

The hallway down restored to its original conchshell pink, brown speckle tiles on the steps:

[ This Message was edited by: mike and marie 2012-09-24 21:14 ]

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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 355
Posted: 2012-09-24 8:03 pm   Permalink

Once the floors were done we were able to put some of the bar area in place. This is not the best pic but the low cabinet behind the bar has sliding glass doors in front and is for bar books and some glassware. We also fit a corner cabinet on the right. Both pieces are about the same vintage. The bar itself was part of the house but needed serious restoration (more on that soon). The open hatch on the wall in the back is the future underwater mermaid show area.

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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 355
Posted: 2012-09-24 8:35 pm   Permalink

Early on, we knew we had to get some bamboo. This is a tiki bar, right? A neighbor down the street had a backyard jungle of it and was more than happy to let us harvest all we needed ... and then some ... for our quixotic adventure. In the end, we wound up with enough live plants to make a little backyard jungle of our own. The stuff grows like grass! Wait, it *is* grass!

This was fine for all the small decorative stuff and for the bamboo pieces that will fill the overhang above the bar. But we needed some big pieces, too, and for that we found some well weathered stuff in a back corner of a local nursery, where gauging by what was left of the dot matrix price tags this was out there since at least the second term of the Reagan administration. They had to figure out what they would charge us (or with a smile offer to pay us to take it off the premises) and let's just say that in the end we were all happy:

A few good scrubbings with wood deck cleaner turned it from white to brown ... and when it dried we saw that it had been completely restored to its blonde-yellow glory! The difference was amazing. Then some Cabot's for good measure and we let it sit for a few days before working on it.

Built a simple frame out of four of the long pieces by carving out slots on the ends for the pieces to fit together without sliding (which were then secured with screws) and the corners tied with raffia. Applied a light coat or two for finishing wax to the whole frame to give it that hard shine. Hung it on the ceiling over the bar with eyelets at just enough of an incline so that the individual bamboo pieces of the frame would hang down but not fall out:

Now with the overhang done, the concept proven (the final design uses a lot more bamboo and wire, not the nylon here in the pics), it was time to take it all down and put it away so that the ceiling above the bar could be painted black!

[ This Message was edited by: mike and marie 2012-09-24 20:42 ]

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mike and marie
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Jun 24, 2008
Posts: 355
Posted: 2012-09-24 9:00 pm   Permalink

The star ceiling above the dance floor was a challenge. We felt that this area absolutely had to have some kind of realistic star effect, but all the fiber optic systems we saw were too bulky for the space we had or they required a drop ceiling. For a while we just thought about painting the whole ceiling black and then hanging coarsely woven burlap above it, but were concerned that if we did it wrong it would look like you were standing under a big mosquito net. We kept coming back to fiber optics because they looked the most realstic, but no matter what we looked into we saw it just wouldn't work. It seemed almost like the star ceiling wasn't going to happen. That is, until we looked into LED and did some thinking ... so we eventually decided to make our own.

First, out came one of the ceiling lights and we put an outlet on that switch:

We mapped out a frame for the ceiling area using lightweight thin black posterboard:

Drew plumb lines on the ceiling for the frame:

Attached the frame to the ceiling with toggle bolts, wrapping around existing ductwork and vents:

Then mounted LED string lighting on the ceiling inside the frame area, plugging into the ceiling outlets:

Secured all boards to framework,

made 10,000 pinholes,

turned out the lights and looked up:

[ This Message was edited by: mike and marie 2012-09-24 21:06 ]

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