Kilauea Cove Build — Part 4: Shelves, Trim & Decor
Now that the walls are covered, the next step is the shelves and trim. There’s already some bamboo molding, but we’ve also got some carved tiki trim in store.
I wanted some sturdy shelves in the corner to hold bottles, as well as additional mugs and glasses. I figured some hefty 2×8″ boards would do the trick, only I didn’t want them to be square and boring. I took a jigsaw to the front edge of each one, to hive it a little bit more of a rough “driftwood” kind of look to them. After that, I went over all of the corners with a ½” round router bit, to smooth everything down.
Once I gave them a good sanding, I stained the surface with Varathane Kona wood stain, to give them a nice dark finish. The way they came out, the meat of the wood is darker than the growth rings, so it feels a little odd and unique. On top of that was three coats of Spar Urethane, sanded down between each coat.
I found some inconspicuous brown shelf brackets at the home improvement store, and mounted the shelves just below each of the three bamboo moldings. They came out looking really great — but if I had to do it again? I’d plan out the reed paneling seams and bamboo moldings to give myself more room between each shelf. As it is, tall bottles won’t fit on the lower shelves. Oops! Thankfully there are plenty of short ones to fill in.
Bamboo Shelf Covers
Now as for the tiki mug display shelves, I wanted the glass so that the light would play between the shelves, but glass really isn’t all that “tiki” a material. Bamboo, reed, carved wood — these are all awesome. Maybe even sand-battered frosted glass. But a pointy rectangle of perfectly flat glass? Man, that’s squaresville.
So how do I hide them?
Turns out, it’s the same solution that I needed to hide the LED strips from direct view. Those suckers are super bright. I want them to illuminate the mugs, but I don’t want them to put somebody’s eye out.
So, I decided to build little edge covers for the shelves made out of thin bamboo halves. I just cut 45º mitered corners, and glued them together with Gorilla Wood Glue. The nodes in the bamboo have a thin membrane that goes completely across the inside of the bamboo pole. That made a perfect material in which to carve out a little slot for the shelf to slide in, essentially making its own support bracket for the bamboo.
Carved Tiki Trim
While things are getting pretty close to where I want them, I thought that the area over by the laundry room door could use a little extra something to set it off from the ugly overhead ducts and open ceiling, and from the white-painted built-in shelving off to its right.
Inspired by some of the moldings on Oceanic Arts’ website (which I highly recommend for all of your tiki decor needs), I decided to carve my own moldings for trim above the door and down the right-hand side, denoting the far edge of the tiki space.
First, I drew out the designs, on five lengths of 1×3″. One would go all the way across the top of that piece of wall, and the other four would fit above, below, and in-between the bamboo molding, as if the bamboo intersected it. Then I took a basic v-shaped routing bit, and routed the designs by hand into the pieces. This made for a surprisingly complex clamping challenge on the smaller pieces, so I could clamp it to the table, but not get the clamp in the way of the router base!
Once the design was routed, I sanded the edges, and then brushed the moldings with a stiff wire brush to make the grain pop a little more. Then, some more sanding, the same Kona stain, and three layers of urethane, as I did on the shelves. Amazingly, I measured correctly, and pieces slotted right into place between the bamboo.
The remainder of the basement wasn’t going to get the full treatment. The bright white built-in shelves were just too much trouble to paint, considering I’d have to re-paint them later. The cat box is also a bit of an eye-sore, and the storage area behind the furnace was also troublesome. I mulled a number of ways of trying to cover them up, and settled on building some room dividers with the leftover reed fencing that I had used to cover the walls.
I built six simple frames out of 1×4″ lumber, painted them with the semi-gloss brown paint, and stapled a panel of reed into the center of each one. They each got a pair of rubber feet, and I attached hinges in alternating fashion to great two dividers made of three panels each. These cover the shelves and the sat box area nicely.
Rounding out the space, in the corner, I installed a fish float lamp from Oceanic Arts. I really wanted the amber glass, and the 12″ model is the smallest that came in that color. I sugared it to a heating duct with some rope, making it fit right in. Once I got it installed, I realized it’s really way too big for the space, but I just love that amber glass so much, I couldn’t pass it up.
Several smaller glass fish floats decorate the space, as well as a couple of LED tiki torches and a mask that my grandparents brought back from one of their trips to Jamaica.
Next time: smoke and lights!