Saturday, November 28, 2009

Like A Trip To This Islands: Tropical TV Lounge!

Listening to The Arteries....fantastic UK punk that will rock the hell out of you!

I have not posted for 2 weeks because I have been busy with our office re-vamp and have not finished it yet, of course. We tend to work reeaallly slow but I will post the office makeover when it is totally done and you will be absolutely amazed! Until then I thought I'd share our Tropical TV Lounge.

The hula dancers and guitar player, below, are cake decorations. You get your inspiration where you can!

I am not crazy about tv's in living rooms or bedrooms. I know many many people disagree with this but I find a tv in the living room to be a big ugly black hole that grips your brain and sucks you in, and it's always a design challenge. The best solution I have ever seen for a living room tv was placing the tv in a no-longer-used fireplace. This is smart because an unused fireplace is a big black hole in itself. This is a good solution. And if you have one of those videos or dvd's of a roaring fireplace fire to pop in so much the's almost like having a working fireplace without all the mess! Additionally, a tv in the bedroom is forbidden in my book. I like our bedroom to be a quiet, calm and relaxing place for winding down and maybe reading before falling off to sleep. I cannot sleep with blue tv light and all that blaring noise.

But I do like tv, and Dan likes tv...I just don't want it in my face. We decided that one of the 3 bedrooms in our house could be turned into a tv room/guest room. We have some Hawaiiana collectable stuff that we wanted to get out of boxes and display, so voila, we created our TropicalTV Lounge!

The first thing to figure out was our color scheme and furniture. The typical Hawaii beachy colors that came to mind are greens and blues, but we thought that color pallette would be a little cold for a lounge-y vibe. So we looked to our collection of tiki mugs for color inspiration. They are mostly brown, yellow and tan. We thought of the colors of driftwood, sand, palm trees, flowers and natural fibers. Our color pallet choices became yellow, brown and green with pops of red and orange.

We chose a warm gold for the walls: Behr in Soft Gold. And we wallpapered one wall with a warm toned grassy wallpaper. Dan and I had never put up wallpaper before but it was really pretty easy with the two of us and with Dan's long wing span. We measured the height of the walls, and cut it 2 inches longer. The wallpaper was pre-pasted so all we had to do was dampen the back with water and a paint brush, position it on the wall, and smooth it down with a big sponge to get all the air pockets out. We trimmed the top and bottom edges with a razor blade. Very easy and we think it adds some nice grassy texture and interest to the wall.

We wanted some kind of tv stand that would also give us storage for our dvr, cable and dvd equipment. We wanted some glassed in shelving to display all out tiki mugs and collectables. We were not real keen on a big entertainment center thing because we find them too big, ugly and $$$. So,we turned as we often do to IKEA. We ended up getting 2 Billy bookcases with glass doors, a cabintet for the tv, and some of those floating shelves for various goodies to live on. The result gives us lots of storage with out the heavy weighed down look of a big old entertainment center.

Here, above, is our IKEA Billy and shelf combo. And here are some of our tiki mugs. And speaking of tiki, if you are ever in San Francisco and want to get a drink with an umbrella in it, climb Nob Hill and go to The Tonga Room at the Fairmont Hotel. It will be worth it and you will burn a few calories climbing the hills. The Tonga room is way rad, you will like it!

The daybed is also from IKEA and can accomodate a sleep over. The cover is made out of some of that stretchy fleece fabric I snagged at the fabic store. This stuff is great for furniture covers because it's really sturdy, is stretchable, soft, washable, cozy, and comes in a zillion colors and patterns.

I made the drapes. I ordered the fabric from They have literally thousands of colors and patterns and are very reasonably priced. If you ever want Hawaiian fabric this is the place to go! They also have a store in Honolulu that I was lucky enough to visit a few years ago (crazy, I bought FABRIC on my Hawaiian vacation!). Drapes are actually pretty easy to make. I measure the length I want, add 10 inches for casings and hems, and double the width I want. Do the simple math, and figure out how much fabric you need. This fabric was 36 inches wide and I ended up buying 11 yards. And I made 2 drapes since there are 2 windows. I lined the drapes with 100% cotton muslin. They turned out great and are washable. And, we got exactly what we wanted, "custom" if you will, for cheap. We added a couple of bamboo shades from Cost Plus to help with the tropical feel we were trying to achieve. The drapery rods were old ones from IKEA that I had laying around. I sponge painted them brown and added some rattan finial things at the ends.

We live in (usually) sweltering Texas and have ceiling fans in almost every room. I like ceiling fans but the existing one in the Lounge was a hideous combo of brass with white blades. UGLY! It was the perfect size and worked great so instead of scrapping it we overhauled it. Dan took it down and I sanded the daylights out of brass, coated it with a couple of layers of white spray paint, and there ya go! All the ugly brass is a memory, and cost us nothing except for a can of spray paint. The glass bulb covers where ghastly, too, but again I could not talk myself into tossing them and buying new ones (especially b/c the new ones I really wanted were $15 clams a pop). I thought about how to overhaul the ugly "tulip" style glass shades and came up with this: I went to a craft store and bought a few sheets of brown and yellow tissue paper and cut it into strips. I took some plain old Elmer's glue, watered it down and applied the tissue strips to the shades with a paintbrush. After it dried I hit it with a couple of layers of clear coat. Now observe the magnificent outcome: they look sort of tortoiseshell-y. Not too shabby for about a 50 cents worth of tissue paper!

These suitcases have been floating around between me and my sister for years. I actually bought the bigger one at the Ashby Flea Market in Berkeley a million years ago for like 5 bucks, when I was going to Vegas for the first time and needed a suitcase. My sister had it for a long time after that and stored all her tools in it. I re-inherited these things and love them so much I thought they would make a nice side table in the Lounge, and give a little bit of the travel vibe to the room. The basket on top houses the remote controls.

The other end table is a jute storage cube that holds extra blankets. I got the lamp at some discount store and thought it would work perfectly in the room because it looks like a big piece of bamboo. The shade is vintage, scored at one of the City Wide Garage Sales here in Austin a couple of years ago. We got a matching pair for $50. (the other is in the attic right now waiting for a lamp to call home).

The Hawaiian prints on the wall are from a couple of different calenders that I was saving, the frames from Joanne Fabrics for really cheap.

The pendant lamp was a birthday present from Dan. There used to be second hand store a few doors down from one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, Picante, in Berkeley. I had my eye on this thing for a few months and suddenly it was gone. I was happy to find out it was gone because Dan went and got it for is one of my favorite things.

The Barbie and Ken are ready to luau. I think every house should have a Barbie and Ken.

Dan and I went to Mazatlan about a year ago and found the wood swordfish and marlin at the mercado. We have always liked the fish-on-the-wall look but didn't want the real thing because 1) we do not like dead things on our walls and 2) real marlins and swordfish are endangered. So when we saw these we got them. We had to check them at the airport but they arrived safely.

And of course, record albums. We have a bunch of these and they look just right on the shelves above the tv. Yes, we do still play them. I got the ceramic mermaids from my grandmother who used to work as a painter at the famous Betty Lou Nichols Ceramics in La Habra, California. She told me that these 2 figures were from a line they made for a seafood restaurant in Los Angeles in the 1950's. The mermaids were used to dress up their seafood platters.

So, there it is, our daily trip to warmer climes! We love our Lounge, especially on cold days like today. Cheers!

We are punk rock martha stewart

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