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Kona Kai Apartments, San Gabriel, CA (apartments)

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Name:Kona Kai Apartments
Street:6415 N. Rosemead Blvd.
City:San Gabriel
Phone:(626) 286-7828

Just down the street from the Bahooka, the Kona Kai Apartments is the sister property to the Kona Pali Apartments pictured on pages 222-223 of the BOT.

Well, I searched and searched and even asked someone else to double check for me, and all I could find was something on the Kona Pali with all of the pictures missing.

I was killing a little time Saturday afternoon and decided to stop by the Kona Kai Apartments and take some pictures.

I hung out for a while, but no one went in or out so I couldn't through the door. I thought the mail man would be my way in, but he went off somewhere and didn't come out before I had to get going.

Their are about a dozen tikis running down the front of the building. Each one is different.

Nice work Kate. Thanks!

I love those carved beam Tikis at the Kona Kai/Pali. Done by the some artist (Leroy and Bob haven't made up their mind if it was Andy Bumatay) who did the Playa Del Rey Polynesian Village apartments (R.I.P. see photos of Tiki beams for comparison here http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=24905&forum=1&vpost=319657&hilite=Kona%20Pali ), they are such a great example of modernist stylization. That carver really "got" the various island styles, and the went to town recreating them in his own style.

The entrance way Tikis follow the Pan-Polynesian concept: Hawaiian, Maori, Marquesan,and Cook islands (?) style. Some of the shots in the BOT actually ARE from the Kona Kai. I am happy to see the management is taking good care of theTikis, the paint job looks much better than before.

Here are some unpublished photos from the Kona Pali, taken Sept. '93, before the '94 Northridge quake hit it:

This "Bug Tiki" is why I think Andres Bumatay had something to do with the place.

And the amazing pool hut, only at the Kona Pali. The contrast of the bright sun was so high I underexposed this shot and could not use it in the book. But just now I played around with it and it shows the amazing Tiki panels on the front pretty well, the sides had three stylized Tikis each.

And I also just yanked up the contrast on that shot in the BOT of the entrance gable panels that showed residue of painted masks on them, and now you can see two of them much better...Tiki forensics at work :) :

These panels were cork, and then had the masks spray painted on with stencils....that's what I am assuming. Like I say in the BOT, this gable must have been a sight to behold, with ca 60 growling Tiki masks greeting the tenant entering underneath.

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-03-10 19:40 ]

Great pictures Kate. How refreshing to see a place like this where the tikis aren't either rotted or painted like clowns. I think you should call that number and pretend to be a prospective renter. That'll get you in so you can snap lots of pics for us!

I am sure the manager is Tiki-friendly, those Tikis on the sign are relatively new. And I think he put up that freestanding one recently. So just ringing the bell and asking to take pics should work, after all you are just advertising the place. I always wonder what attitude owners/managers of remaining Tiki temples have nowadays, some must have gotten past the "Tikis are outdated" stage. Maybe someone even showed him the BOT and he liked it.

PS.: I did make it in there years ago, and there was not much to see, no pool rec room hut like at the Kona Pali. The main advantage is that you don't have to shoot the entrance bridge area with the Islands mosaic thru the front glass. Was there water in the moat inside, and did they have plants around it?

[ Edited by: bigbrotiki 2008-03-11 16:07 ]

On 2008-03-11 16:02, bigbrotiki wrote:
Was there water in the moat inside, and did they have plants around it?

There was water, but no plants.

On 2008-03-11 12:26, GatorRob wrote:
That'll get you in so you can snap lots of pics for us!

I did take a few more shot of the exterior.


Well, that's it. I'm moving. Kona Kai, here I come! Oh wait. I'm married. And have kids. And a cat. And a mortgage. And two cars. And... nevermind.

There's always the pictures. :)

Great! EACH one of these designs is sooo cool, some of them are more successful, some less, but they all deserve to be documented. Has anyone been to the Kona Pali recently and can report about its condition?

Kate - thank you for those great pictures of the tikis at the kona kai! Some just look like they would have been a blast to carve! I'll have to stop by the next time around the bahooka during the day...


The barely visible Tiki faces remind me of the shroud of turin - was Jesus a Tiki!

$850 for a one bedroom.
That is a great price.
Sorry, no openings

Paipo posted on Fri, Apr 4, 2008 3:21 AM

Belatedly replying to this thread to thank Kate for all the eye-candy. Those are some of the coolest Poly Pop tikis I've ever seen! Pretty amazing to have so many original pieces still in-situ at one location......

Ok, so I can't move in. I say let's all send 30 ft. carved tikis up the sides of our tract houses & see how much the neighbors bitch . Well I call it home improvement anyway..... :D


Since I've recently become more adept at getting people to let me into places where I don't actually belong, I thought I would return to the Kona Kai to try my luck. It was much nicer taking pictures on this side of the glass.

Good job, Kate. I must say they did a very respectful job with the color on those hallway panel Tikis. As I was still making up my mind about the one by the pool...

.....it struck me that I had seen this type before...right on my front porch!:

Now we have proof positive that the Kona Kai/ Kona Pali carver was the same than the one who did the Playa del Rey Polynesian Village Apartments, because this puppy came to me (via detour) from there. I had always referred to him as the clown Tiki because of his nose. Luckily they didn't paint it red! The Playa del Rey Tikis by the way were the only ones painted straight black, together with the Shelter Isle Apts Tikis (also by the same carver), about which I will post here soon.

A number of insanely large Cell Phone pics [2560 x 1920 pixels!] of the Kona-Kai, showing the Tikis are still being taken care of, but could you a little TLC:

Apartment Sign
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki & Torch
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Beam Tiki
Entry Roof Beams
End Roof Beams
Entry Fountain
Side View Entry Fountain
Entry Tikis
Entry Tiki Detail
Entry Tiki Detail
Entry Tiki Detail
Entry Tiki Detail
Central Courtyard Tiki
Central Courtyard Tiki
Entry Gable Panels & Tikis
Entry Gable Panels
Entry Gable Tikis

I don't have the charm of Tiki Kate, so I didn't finagle my way inside to take better interior pictures.

Pages: 1 16 replies