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The Lili-Kai Club of Metro Detroit

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Here's my first home Tiki bar, The Lili-kai Club. The name mashes together lilikoi (passion fruit) with kai (ocean), and club (a large piece of wood used to hit people over the head.)

We moved into the house last year. It came with the basement already finished, but in a decidedly un-tiki baby blue color.

Before we moved in:

Despite my protests, remodeling the basement wasn't the first item on the agenda. So, I've been slowly adding furniture and decorations for the last year, until we reached this point.

The Lili-Kai Club, May 2016, during the day:

"Beach Campfire" by Rob Kaz, Gyotaku print, vintage postcards from the 20s-50s, and "Baby Kon" tiki by Tuga.

"Predator of the Deep" by Rodel Gonzalez, Frigidaire circa 1947, just rebuilt electrically.

"Midnight Tiki" by Doug Horne

Some Craigslist furniture finds, and 2 Pacific Northwest Native American masks, and 2 Japanese masks

Adolphe Sylvain repro by Zenon Matias Jimenez, "The Accidental Crossstepper","Kalalau Ku" by Lake Tiki

"Freaky Threeki" by Tuga

Pool table.

2 canvas giclees by Brad Parker, Malaysian Airlines airline beverage cart.

And at night:

It's been a great space for entertaining, and I've learned a lot about what we want from the space. My cocktail skills have been getting slowly better over time. We finally decided it's time to tear it all down and put some legitimate wall coverings up.

Stop by our home bar, The Lili-Kai Club.

[ Edited by: Jeff Bannow 2016-06-08 12:21 ]

[ Edited by: Jeff Bannow 2016-06-08 14:58 ]

The above images actually show some major changes already from the original configuration. When we moved in, there were cabinets everywhere (and I mean everywhere). I removed about 15 cheap white Home Depot cabinets from the walls.

Also, there were 3 ceiling fans mounted in the basement. Those had to go, and we needed to add outlets to the ceiling to facilitate some real lighting down there. Muchos thanks to Daniel Seybold for his electrical assistance - we managed to remove the fans, replace them with recessed can lights, and also install 7 new double sets of outlets on the ceiling, all controlled by a pair of light switches on the wall.

Additionally, we installed a new outlet in the closet to hide my stereo from view, and a new outlet under the counter to run my new (to me, used from Craigslist) built-in freezer. I ripped out the rightmost cabinet to fit it in, and built a new end wall to support the countertop.

Another new change was replacing the Wal-Mart bar stools with something a little more appropriate.

They need a little restoration, but are in good overall shape. Anyone have any pointers on wicker repair?

A quick break for some adorable cats. Here are 3 of the lushes, waiting for the bar to open.

Cuthbert, No Balls, and Roland. Missing from photo: Mifune, aka the old man. He was likely sleeping upstairs somewhere.

Stop by our home bar, The Lili-Kai Club.

[ Edited by: Jeff Bannow 2016-06-08 12:22 ]

While taking down the one strip of crown moulding on the far wall, we discovered this little gem.

They added outlets by stapling the wiring to the wall, throwing some moulding over it, and calling it a day.

Here's Daniel, my electrical savior, helping to rectify the situation.

And finally, a sad state of affairs, hopefully quickly leading to a reopening with much more appropriate decor.

That's my lovely wife in the background, tirelessly helping me prep the ceiling for paint.

The ceiling is going to be "Cabin in the Woods," also known as brown.

And the trim and such will be "Basswood," also known as tan.

These images don't really represent the colors well, but you get the idea. We went with Behr Marquee paint, because it is amazing.

The wall treatments have been ordered from Oceanic Arts. Here's my mockup of what the wall will look like:

1 foot of brown at the ceiling, which will end up being above a small shelf at crown moulding height. Then 4 feet of Tonga Matting #823, then bamboo trim, and then 3 feet of Bac Bac w/ Abaca #822 running down to the floor.

We ended up ordering:
Tonga Matting #823 - 4x8 sheets - 13 of them
Bac Bac w/ Abaca #822 - 3x26 rolls - 4 of them
Bamboo #1016 - 1.5"x8' poles - 30 of them

We're hoping to start putting it onto the walls before the end of the month.

Stop by our home bar, The Lili-Kai Club.

[ Edited by: Jeff Bannow 2016-06-08 11:57 ]

One final update for now. While at the Mai Kai earlier this year, I fell in love with the figurehead in the Molokai Bar.

Photo by The Tiki Chick, of the figurehead at the Molokai Bar.

Following in that tradition, we ordered this lovely lady to adorn the post to the right of the bar itself.

Mine is the one that sold, not the one being repaired as listed in the image. We ordered her from Nautical Antiques in Galveston, TX. They had her custom carved in Indonesia. The price was surprisingly affordable.


Stop by our home bar, The Lili-Kai Club.

[ Edited by: Jeff Bannow 2016-06-08 12:04 ]


wow very cool! cant wait to see the updates! youve got a great space to work with! id keep an eye on those 3 lushes, they look like trouble!!!

The current cocktail menu. Still a work in progress for sure, but it's coming along. All artwork is placeholders until I can get something custom.

I use these for the menus. They have worked great so far.


Note: I was able to get them for cheaper than the Amazon price listed.


Alright!! Another Michigan Tiki holdout. Please keep us up to date!!!!

Thanks guys. Will definitely be posting more photos soon. Should have the ceiling painted by the end of the week. Can't wait for that - the drywall patching has been killing me.

Great start. Funny my wife and I are planing to move to LA area in the beginning of next year because of her work. Look out SoCal TCers here we come! Anyway we are keeping the Hawai'i home for future retirement and we are going to keep the L.A. place small and simple, in other words no room for my tiki stuff. Meanwhile a son and a daughter has moved to the Detroit area, for various reasons, and I'm going to help my daughter buy a place WITH a basement. Planing on buildings a tiki escape in her basement for me and other Detroit TCers. Can't wait to join you Jeff.

[ Edited by: creativenative 2016-06-09 13:56 ]

That's a lotta drinks for a home bar menu!!! Looks great for a rough draft though. I usually just choose 3-4 four options for people when we have gatherings to make it easy on myself.

I agree with Mike. It is great to have a big variety of drinks on the menu, but you have to keep ALL of the ingredients for all of those drinks on hand. I made my bar menu with a dozen drinks a little over 3 years ago. NOw, no one really orders off the menu, they either drink what I am making or I'll come up with something for them. Usually I will have just 2 or 3 drinks on special for the night and that is plenty.

I am sure you will figure it out for yourself. Try it for a bit and tweak it. That is what we all do with our home bars. Looks like it is coming along great for you. A fun project!

I love mixing cocktails, so when we have 10 people or less over I love being behind the bar mixing drinks. If we have a larger crowd, I'll be picking 4-5 cocktails and pre-batching them for easy serving. For the next party, we might even consider hiring a bartender for the evening.

Big thanks to Doug Horne. Got another new piece on its way.

"Hazel Meets the New Guinea Man"

Got the ceiling painted. More thanks to Daniel for his assistance with the monumental ceiling job - around 650 square feet of ceiling to paint, with multiple soffit boxes to deal with as well.

This is the paint we used.

Final prep work.

The painting begins. My wife Eva on the left, and our good friend Daniel on the right.

Getting close ....

The final piece.

A job well done. Thanks guys!


better buy that friend some pizza and beer for all that work!! can he come over and paint my ceiling too? lol! awesome job looking really good

On 2016-06-12 13:26, Pele Paul wrote:
better buy that friend some pizza and beer for all that work!! can he come over and paint my ceiling too? lol! awesome job looking really good

I'm letting him work off all of his free drinks .... :wink:

The matting is here and ready to go up!

We got the matting up yesterday. Couldn't have done it without the help of our friends - big shout out to Daniel, Silke, Mark, and Jen for coming through!

We did a 4' section and a 3' section and we have 8 foot ceilings, so there's paint at the very top that we applied when we painted the ceiling. We set the matting up outside due to the fumes.

Here's what Oceanic Arts told me about putting up the matting:
"We use Contact Cement with a short napped roller and a paint roller tray to hold the contact cement. We apply to the backside of the matting and to the wall, then apply the matting. We tamp lightly the matting on the wall to make sure all areas are sticking to the wall."

Our process (pretty much the same as O.A.):

  1. Snap a chalk line at the top where the matting will line up.
  2. Coat both the wall and the back of the matting completely with contact cement, and let both dry for 10-15 minutes. If the matting needed to be cut to size, we did so with scissors.
  3. Carefully bring the matting inside and, starting from one eddge, apply the matting to the wall. The contact cement worked great, and we were able to peel it away and reapply as needed while working on a section.
  4. Once it was lined up as best as possible (the lauhala especially was very unevenly sized), someone came through with a laminate roller before it dried to get a firm seal.
  5. Any outlets were cut out with a knife after applying. Any window frames etc. were cut around with scissors or a knife.
  6. Any corners we just wrapped around with the matting. It made a pretty decent corner, and was a lot easier to deal with than corner molding.

It was really a very simple process overall. It took about 6 hours of work to put up about 120 linear feet of matting. Not bad considering none of us had any clue what we were doing when we started. Fans were a must - we opened up the windows for ventilation, and the fans kept the air moving. That contact cement is very stinky stuff!

Setting up outside for coating.

The first wall goes up.

Wall is up, with Daniel doing a mockup of the bamboo molding.

Progress is made!

You missed a spot.

Jen painting around the door frame. (Thanks Jen for your masterful painting kung fu!)

Silke trimming around the window sill.

Starting to look very tiki ...

The sunlight has given up, but we soldier on.

All hands on deck for the longest piece of the day.

Jen painting behind the mermaid.

The last wall is up!

[ Edited by: Jeff Bannow 2016-06-26 06:43 ]

Here's the tan paint for the wall trim.

The mermaid arrived, along with some vintage fishing baskets that will be turned into lamps.

The mermaid gets a test fitting.

What a great space to work with and its fun watching the transformation. I just love these all out redos. Nice choice on materials. Look forward to seeing the decor as it goes up. That mermaid is a terrific piece and the big tiki piece hidden kind of behind her looks interesting.

Any plans for the support pole in the room? If you can carve, I can see fitting it inside two halfs of a tiki carved post, making it into a tall tiki totem.

[ Edited by: Polly_Nesia 2016-06-26 12:35 ]


What an awesome space. This has got epic written all over it! Great job so far and looking forward to more progress pics. Keep the updates coming :)

Thanks everyone!

The support pole is going to be wrapped in rope soon. I wish I could carve - it would be neat to have it wrapped in a carving for sure.

Here's a better image of the tiki in question there.

"Kalalau Ku", shown here with the artist Dave Hansen, aka "Lake Tiki"

Yesterday entailed a whole lot of cleanup! In the afternoon, Tom came by to give a hand. After helping me schlep around a bunch of heavy things, the three of us got to work on the new built-in wine racks.

Wine racks from Wine Cellar Innovations.

These will be stacked and screwed into the wall. One side is getting plywood, which will be matted to match the wall. I think we are going to stain or paint these a darker brown color.

The units themselves seem decent in quality. They are nailed together, which made them a bit flimsy in spots, so we beefed them up a bit with screws as needed.


Here's where the room is at currently, at the end of a busy, productive weekend.

We will fully reassemble the room soon, once the trim gets installed.

On 2016-06-27 07:54, Jeff Bannow wrote:
Thanks everyone!

The support pole is going to be wrapped in rope soon. I wish I could carve - it would be neat to have it wrapped in a carving for sure.

Here's a better image of the tiki in question there.

"Kalalau Ku", shown here with the artist Dave Hansen, aka "Lake Tiki"

Thanks for the tiki photo (he's so cool) and the heads up on Dave. Checked in on his FB page and saw lots of things I would love to have :) Very nice work.

Thanks for the tiki photo (he's so cool) and the heads up on Dave. Checked in on his FB page and saw lots of things I would love to have :) Very nice work.

He's a great guy and a great carver. He posts here on Tiki Central as well.

Daniel and Eva covering the drain pipe

Leaving a door to access the cleanout. Hope we never have to use it.

Eva painting the top to match the walls. Once this is dry we will apply the matting to match.

Some touch-up painting.

Painting the backbar alcove - before ....

and after.

Some photos of the current progress, in regular and bar light.

It's coming along, but we have a long ways to go.

Wow...what a great space and all the work you have done is fabulous. You have wonderful decor talent. I like that airplane cart. CHEERS

On 2016-07-24 20:38, VampiressRN wrote:
Wow...what a great space and all the work you have done is fabulous. You have wonderful decor talent. I like that airplane cart. CHEERS

Thanks! It's been a fun project so far. Lots of work to go. :)

The stairway into the basement is finally getting painted. Goodbye, baby blue walls!

Painting by Eva, with assistance from our kitty Cuthbert.

The mermaid is finally hung, with assistance from Daniel. We routed out the back and installed keyhole mounts so that it will sit flush against the wall. She's holding tight to the wall now, so no worries about her coming down any time soon.

Regular light ...

and bar light.

And, an action shot from last weekend's festivities. That's Mark making a rare appearance as bartender.

Some more progress, thanks to my wife Eva and friend Daniel.

The baseboard trim is up!

And the waste pipe cover is installed.

Looking much more finished now. Thanks guys!

Just ordered Oceanic Arts #1065 bamboo fencing. Will be using this to surround the bar. Should look much better once that goes up!

Just ordered 10 of "Dayton Audio ME825W 8" Micro-Edge 2-Way In-Wall Speakers" and 500 feet of in-wall cabling.

6 will be dedicated to music, and 4 to ambient sounds (birds, waterfalls, lightning, etc.) I'll be painting the grills with the same ceiling paint so they blend right in.

We will also be mounting a pair of Yamaha NS-AW150BL waterproof speakers outside under the deck, to continue the music outside for parties.

Many speakers, all lined up in a row.

My slave labor Daniel, cutting holes.

Cut, cut, cut!

That's a big hole!


More installing.

It's all installed now, and had a test run last night. Works great, far better than I expected. And you can't see them - they blend right into the ceiling color.

Here's the layout - A numbers are for ambient (bird / jungle / water sounds) and M numbers are for music.

Just picked up for a song on Craigslist. Finally, a replacement for the folding table that has been down there.

The new table, in its place.

And from the other side.

The table, being tested out, with a flaming Lili-Kai Enigma bowl.


Looks like a lot of fun, nice job.

Our good friend Daniel has had some free time, and foolishly offered to help route the trim.

Here's the test run on 1x3s:

This trim will run horizontally on the border between mattings. We need 12 8 foot pieces of trim to complete the room - that's a lot of routing!

On 2016-08-23 09:19, hiltiki wrote:
Looks like a lot of fun, nice job.

Thanks! It's been a great project, and so much fun to share with our friends.

96 feet of trim, routed and ready for burning.

I almost forgot to post daylight photos of the new furniture setup.

Small new addition - fake bamboo plant, found on Craigslist.

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