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Ki'o wai Lounge (bar construction page 3)

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My Pool Lounge (ki'o wai lumi ho'olunana)

I figured would start a thread to document my progress maybe pick up a few more ideas. I've been lurking around for a few years here on TC. I've seen a few ugly purists threads and hopefully my project makes the cut. It is far from done with the best yet to come.

Anyways my project started a few years ago with the construction of a deck adjacent to our pool.

Several yards of dirt moved by hand to make a cut into the front yard:

Retaining wall construction:

Pad for hot tub:

Fence construction...to get the pool area back into compliance :)

A view from the deep end:

Notice the blue chaulk outline...my wife didn't want a normal straight deck:

I have a love hate relationship with these trumpet vines (and pool for that matter):

Although my original tiki bar plan has yet to materialize, I have been working to make the lower deck more swank. Granted, the sail shades aren't very tiki, but the torches, parrot and a couple tiki masks help with the "enchantment" factor. IDK...are macaws "tiki" or "parrot head"...if the later, don't tell him it will hurt his feelings. :) Anyways, this is what it is for now...a place to chill and listen to some Arthur Lyman (my fav exotica).

I know the white fence isn't the greatest either, but it helps tie in with the house...I'm debating on painting a mural on it or possibly trimming it out with some tropical thatch and hanging more tikis on it.

I'm also working on adding to the tropical feel with cold hardy "tropical-looking" plants that will live here in Michigan. Here are my current plants around the lounge:

Next spring I plan to plant some elephant ear, canna, (both of which will have to be dug up and wintered inside) and a few Musa basjoo banana trees around the area (I think these may survive...especially with global warming).

In addition, next summer I plan to get the tiki bar built. Its going to be a combination cabana (changing room) and tiki bar. I'm looking to keep it on the smallish side and put it between the deck and the pool against the fence. Something in the area of 8x10-feet (with 4-5 feet of the length being the changing room).

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-08-19 16:53 ]

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-08-19 16:55 ]

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-08-19 17:21 ]

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2013-05-07 04:58 ]

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2013-07-07 06:28 ]

I like the sail shades and the entire look. Nice design!

[ Edited by: MaukaHale 2012-08-19 20:38 ]

Looks great!
The Hibiscus always adds a tropical feel.

Elephant ears will put it over the top! I grew them when I was in Connecticut. Plant them in a big container inside a month before they can go outside and you will get a big jump on the growing season. Just keep them in the container and in the Fall bring them inside.
Enjoy your backyard paradise!

Thanks guys!

So thinking about my tiki hut already again today. I've gone back and forth on roofing materials. I think I am leaning against thatch because I think it will be a maintenance headache. I am considering a metal roof as well.

I wonder how a planted roof would work...covered in flowers?

Looks like you are doing a great job. Do not worry about negative comments, they happen to all of us...part of the package and the suggestions help us stay Tiki. I love the shade and your bird is beautiful. Keep up the good work and posting pictures.

On 2012-08-19 16:52, jimsflies wrote:
I know the white fence isn't the greatest either, but it helps tie in with the house...I'm debating on painting a mural on it or possibly trimming it out with some tropical thatch and hanging more tikis on it.

Something I'd like to see mural wise is vintage advertising images that are aged in place, simple images that are easy to put on a wall or fence, and that you might find on an old bar in Polynesia or on Barbados. Here's an example image:

use a faded, paler blue and paler wheat gold so it looks like the ad has been sitting in the sun for years.

Or take an image from an old vintage Rum label and simplify it and make your own simple advertising:

Yeah those ads would look very cool. I especially like the 2nd and 3rd rum ads. :)

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-08-20 17:27 ]

I love seeing builds of any kind and appreciate the difficulties of construction! Your bird is beautiful and I love the whole sitting area. Check out my build when you get a chance: http://www.tikicentral.com/viewtopic.php?topic=42865&forum=20&vpost=643358&hilite=gator

(not sure how to make that a link, you can also just search for Gator hut.)

For what it's worth, 2 out of 3 of my cannas survived the winter in NJ last year. My bananas, however, did not. :(

Keep having fun tikifying your space!

That's not good news for the bananas then. When did you plant your's and how big was it? I think I read they over winter better if they are larger and more established. I assume that means plant them in the spring and start with a larger size plant.

@freddiefreelance how about this:

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-08-21 05:09 ]

I like the idea of the faded, painted murals on the fence. That would really warm up the area and give it a cozy feel.

I like what you have done so far and your B&G is beautiful. How old is she?

So much cool stuff. Great selection of plants and that bird looks so lifelike :lol:

Did you already paint the murals or is that a photoshop mock up? Looks great either way. The living roof idea is cool, it would look great in the summer but what would it look like in the winter? Seems most Tiki people in the north use corregated steel or Ondura and paint it varigated rust colors.

Just run with it and have fun!

I wished I was that good (and fast). :)

Its just a mock up for now. I modified it slightly by replacing the Lamb's Navy with another ad for Grant's Fine Old Vatted Rum.

I wonder if I could project the images of the ads on my fence and make a trace of the ads? I'm not that much of an artist...particularly the lettering will need to look crisp to make it all look great. I'm afraid to hire someone to do this project would break the budget.

Yeah that bird does look pretty real! Too bad it doesn't have an off button! Not sure how old he is...my guess based on what I was told from the person I got him from is around 15 years old.

As for the planted roof...yeah it would look pretty bad in the winter I guess. Although I doubt I will be hanging out there much to notice. I'm just brain storming ideas...my wife will probably tell me what it will look like before it is all over. :P

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-08-21 10:17 ]

What do you think about this...not quite as busy and prolly a lot easier to paint:

This one is beyond my painting abilities...but my wife likes it (maybe she's tiki after all! :)) She did not care for the multiple rum ads.

That would be cool. Is that Les Baxter album artwork? It would give a cool Tiki, mid-century vibe to it. Thats the kind of look I go for :D.

[ Edited by: forgotten tikiman 2012-08-21 22:02 ]


Like what your doing and love those fence! What part of Mi. are you from and if we have the same kind of winter as last year you might get some bananas this year.

Thanks. I'm near Lansing. Yeah I think if all the winters were like last, bananas would be no problem...proly could leave the cannas and elephant ears in the ground as well.

Very Nice, sweet pool!!! I over winter bananas every year and I have 5 small groves. I used to see places with 12ft and higher trees around town. I live in Portland and we dont get super cold but have snowfall a few times a year. One place that had awesome bananas in town is the Chinese gardens, and I finally contacted their gardner and he told me how to do it. I bet it would work in your area. At the end of the year cut off the leaves before the first frost. Mound the base of the tree in steer manure then wrap the stalks in housing insulation. Then I bought some pallet shrink wrap that goes around that. Wait til signs of frost are gone to remove. It doesn't look the best through the winter but, it's awesome to start off big every spring once the leaves start growing. At the gardens they wrap burlap around the housing insulation to make it look nice in the winter time. Hope that is helpful to you.

@Bloody Good thanks for the banana info. Seems like wrapping them in plastic would cause them to rot...but it sounds like it is working. I'm definitely going to give it a try next summer. I think its too late now to get anything going this season.

How short do you cut the stumps?

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-08-23 08:33 ]

No problem, it has taken me 7 years to get my system down. I tried covering them in just plastic, the first year and they did rot. I don't actually cut the stalks/trunks down. I just take the leaves off and leave the top leaf the is just coming up. Then on some of the smaller ones I will put a stake next to the trunk. Then I wrap the pink housing insulation around the stalk up as high as they go. Then the plastic goes around the outside of the paper part of the insulation to keep the rain off and to keep it from sliding down or falling apart. I usually do this the last week in Nov or early Dec, then I always wait til April 1st to uncover.
I love them...they are totally worth the effort. One stalk even began to fruit this year.

This is a pic of the one I have beginning to fruit right now.

Fugu posted on Thu, Aug 23, 2012 7:26 PM

I actually like your setup without a mural on the fence. It has a more Tiki modern style that reminds me of the outdoor area of the now defunct Scottsdale Trader Vic's.

@Bloody Good - That banana flower (?) looks awesome. Very cool!

@Fugu - Thanks...I looked up some photos of the Scottsdale Trader Vics actually got a couple ideas for my hut/bar from those.

I've been getting quotes from various mural painters this week. I'm going to go with the simple scene mural if I do any. I think it looks unique and tropical, but not over the top and should keep the price down. Prices for the simple one are ranging from $800-4200 so far. But a friend of a friend that paints murals is coming over this weekend to look at the project. I figure $800 is about the point at which I would try to do it myself (not that I would do as good of a job)...for $4200 I would take an art class and then do it myself. I appreciate the skill involved in a good painting...but I think my simple banana tree background should be a simple project to accomplish.

I am concerned about the mural lasting on the fence though. It doesn't get any direct sun so that should help. Maybe during the winter I could devise some sort of tarp to hang over it for protection for a few months out of the year.

I've also started sketching out the new tiki bar/cabana. The design goal is to have something that looks sophisticated enough to blend in, but still have enough tiki elements be fun and qualify as a tiki bar. My wife has indicated she doesn't want anything that is too far out there...no thatched roofs for me. :( But I may still sneak in a little grass skirting along the soffit.

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-08-24 07:38 ]

Thank you for the PM today. I am so glad you wrote becasue I loved looking at all your projects. The second idea for a tropical fence would be beautiful. I'm going to remember to come back here for updates. Wendy


I messed around with a piece of scrap lumber to see how easy it would be to make my own trim for the bar this weekend. About 10 minutes with the miter saw and torch and this is what I came up with:

I think I will look into purchasing a router and make more complex designs. But I think it will be a fun/easy project and will work making the trim over the winter so I am ready to go with the build next spring.


I've been busy working on the design of my hut/bar project for next spring. While working on the vision for design/decoration possibilities, I decided it would be fun to have monkeys as well as tikis in the bar. My current design calls for a small loft area above the cabana area where I can stage some cool stuff looking down on the bar area. Although it is probably premature to be purchasing decorations at this point, the price was right so I pulled the trigger on one of the ugliest things on ebay this month. This monkey statue is 18-inches tall by 20 inches long and will hopefully look cool in the future cabana loft:

I love that idea and the monkey is delightfully wicked. Buying decor now will be good for when you start to pull the place together.


Thanks! I also just picked these guys up. I'm planning to make a nice peaked roof on the structure so there will be plenty of head room for things to hang down from the ceiling as well.

I have a set of similar monkeys...love how they link together.

I'm excited I picked up this lamp for the tiki bar build. I plan to also add a few float lamps, but this light looked like it would be fun to decorate the space. It reminds me of the 60's/70's plastic swag lamps sold as "tiki"...but this one is brass.

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2012-11-15 11:06 ]


LOVE what you did to the fence!


Really dig that chunk of trim, how's that working out? The deck around the hot tub is great!



Thanks guys!

I'm bummed right now though ...was hoping to be building the bar already this spring but that project is delayed due to needing a new drainfield for our septic. Ugh... just hope I have enough budget left to do something this summer.

Hang in there Jim. Gotta do the major home repairs first. You have done so much so far, there will always be time to enhance. I just love your yard.


Don't you hate it when "needs" trump "wants?" I hope what you have to do ends up being cheaper than you think and you can have some fun in your backyard. We try to do something (or a couple of things) each year.

Just wanted to let you know that I chopped one of my huge bananas to ground level and mulched it in and it came back!!! Woo-hoo-naner! It's already sprouting up about 1 ft tall and growing rapidly. It should grow huge this year. And 2 others survived the winter in the house (they were just pups) so one's in the ground already and I'm trying to decide where to plant the smallest one b/c I know he won't stay little....


Maybe I will at least get a banana tree started this spring to see how it goes. That is encouraging that it made it over the winter. Although my winters aren't quite the same.

Regardless of budget, I've realized I need to scale back a bit from my original plan. Given all the other backyard "attractions" I have, I think my original design would have taken away from the whole. I've decided to keep the bar small so it doesn't dominate the entire space.



Nice neat job, I was looking at doing the same type of x paten XIIXIIXIIXIIX with the compound saw, but after looking at what other people are doing with the router I'm going to try some free hand this weekend.
Might use a guide for the straight cuts.

Would that be Cedar or Douglas fir ?


On 2012-09-04 09:50, jimsflies wrote:
I messed around with a piece of scrap lumber to see how easy it would be to make my own trim for the bar this weekend. About 10 minutes with the miter saw and torch and this is what I came up with:

I think I will look into purchasing a router and make more complex designs. But I think it will be a fun/easy project and will work making the trim over the winter so I am ready to go with the build next spring.


That piece was cedar. I also plan to use a router when I get down to doing this for real. The "bar" has been set pretty high here on Tiki Central...my simple X pattern with a chop saw doesn't make the cut. :)

With the slightly warmer weather here in not so sunny Michigan (its only 32 out this morning :( ), my thoughts have really turned to working my outside paradise. I'm pretty sure with the revised ideas to scale back the bar structure, that I should be able to get it built this spring despite issues with our drainfield.

So I have a couple small updates... I moved my new 6-foot tall tiki outside in the hot tub corner. I think it should be okay outside it is constructed of fiberglass. Right now it is leaning in the corner, but I am going to install a post to secure it and platform for it to be a little taller as it guards the entire lounge. I think when I build the platform, I will add some lights shinning up so he'll be illuminated at night.

You can also see in the photo above, I also replaced the shell of the hot tub late last fall with a less orange colored faux wood (as seen in photos on page 1)...still not as much of a color match as I would have liked to the deck. But it will be easier to blend in. The new cabinet was secondary to a cracked shell that was fixed under warranty, but since they were working on it I went ahead and bought a new cabinet since the old one was getting rough anyways.

After seeing all the cool bar signs/logos that others here on TC have come up with for their spaces, I decided I wanted one too. I'm an artistic hack ...but this is what I have come up with in photoshop for a concept (at least for now...).

A few days ago when it was 80-degrees, I opened the pool...still working on getting it cleaned up. But in the mid-30's today, I'm not sure I will get out to finish the job!

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2013-05-12 05:29 ]

Hoping to start the bar build this weekend. I've procured some salvaged lumber to get started! The structure itself is going to be 7x8-feet. Still trying to decide on the roof style. The roof will mostly be corrugated metal or ondura. Tyring to work a little thatch into it on the front to "tikify" it. Here are a couple sketches...excuse my drawing skills.

Also still messing around with a graphic that I can make into a sign/use for party invites, etc. Here is the latest version:

The latest concept. I moved the doorway to the front to mitigate the "fruit stand" look which has been a concern. I think the more visible doorway might make it look more inviting.

I've enlarged the structure to 9x8-feet and will make the bar on the sides more substantial which should allow for easier conversations (as opposed to everyone in a straight line across the front).

[ Edited by: jimsflies 2013-05-24 05:55 ]

I'm really like the latest ideas. Great that you wrapped your bar around the corner. Looks very inviting on paper.

  • Dale

Love your bar logo and your sketches. They look way better than anything I'd draw. Good luck with your build, I understand the perils of unpredictable spring weather. I'm in the middle of a project myself and the weather is horrible in NJ but at least it stopped raining.

Sitting in the lounge enjoying a fire and wanted to share some pics of my glass design. I might try to make a tiki type design the next time I redo it. I'm running natural gas to the fire pit next week. Tired of running out of propane when friends are over.

The bar build is coming along, albeit slowly. Got the floor done and will be framing out the walls this weekend.


More progress...looking like a structure at least!

Burnt the beams:


Getting ready to set the ridge beam today. Trying to decide if I want to angle the ridge or not. Building it straight will be easier but might not look as cool. Thoughts?

Other beams were set yesterday. I feel like this has taken forever...most other projects I've had helpers but so far this has been a solo effort (much like the conversation in this thread).


Looking really good! Your hard work is starting to pay off.

I would say that angled would be more interesting, but you'll have to decide whether or not it's worth the effort.

Cheers and aloha!

I really like your original design sketches so I'd stick with that if you can. but when it's thatched and done it will look cool no matter what. And since we don't live in CA there won't be anyone else around for people to compare it to, except on TC.

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