When we heard that Cha Cha Velour might have the best home tiki bar in Las Vegas, we had no idea that walking into the sunroom-turned-tiki-lounge would be like entering a set for a ’50s-era Hollywood movie (because surely, nothing this great exists in real life).
The dimly lit lounge inside the William Krisel-designed Paradise Palms home she shares with boyfriend Mike Davis is everything tiki: tiki mugs, tiki statues, tiki shot glasses, tiki tongs, tiki salt and pepper shakers, tiki wood chimes, the actual tiki bar built by Davis and even a three-tiered tiki pu pu platter.
And there’s more. Dark-green walls covered with burned-knuckle bamboo, red barkcloth curtains and black velvet paintings of moonlit tropical scenes. Friend and noted carver, Billy the Crud, carved wood tiki stools, as well as trim and a frame for the lighted retro sign that reads, appropriately, “liquor.”
High-backed Witco chairs, and a Witco bench with a built-in cocktail table, extend the lounge feel. The wood ceiling? It came with the house.
All the rest—a collection of carved coconut monkey banks, pineapple-shaped wooden snack dishes, shells, a View-Master with slideshow of Hawaii, and a blowfish, came mostly from estate sales, thrift shops and antique stores. The framed vacation photo of Velour’s grandfather dancing with hula girls while in Hawaii just happened to fit with the theme.
Next on the plate for Velour and Davis is finalizing the logo for their Palakaiko Tiki Lounge. The design includes a silhouette of their roofline, palm trees and a giant tiki in the background. Why? To have printed on matchbooks, of course.
Back when she was a broke college student, Leslie Rowland would restore and customize furniture she’d bought at thrift stores and garage sales. As time went on, the personal project became a business, and now Rowland spends almost 200 hours on each piece, beginning with research that can take upwards of 50 hours. Days of sanding, glazing and working with resin, photographs, paint, mirrored tiles and other embellishments result in decorative, textured pieces that highlight poetry, humor, philosophy or notable women like Gypsy Rose Lee, Bettie Page and Marilyn Monroe.
The finished works—dressers, chairs, doors, vanities, even an ironing board covered in quotes by notable women—began as worn-out but ornate vintage furniture defined by serious craftsmanship and quality. “That’s a must,” says Rowland, adding that the furniture takes a beating.
“You give it a new life, a new meaning. I love rescuing those old pieces that have a story to tell or old life. I fall in love with every piece that I’m working on.”
Rowland’s works are in several stores around town, including Gaia Flowers at 4 E. Charleston Blvd. Or check them out at habitatdesignstudios.com.
Bibliophiles might shriek at the idea of books as mere decoration, but with literature progressively going digital, shelves stacked with hard copies—novels, short story collections, poetry anthologies—are likely to become increasingly scarce. Those who like the look of books (bound pages filled with text) can always do what Sam Cherry did for Lady Silvia, his new urban lounge inspired by Prague Strahov Monastery library in the SoHo Lofts: buy scads of them off the Internet, load them onto shelves and, when necessary, paint clusters for a monochromatic look. They give the space a sort of post-modern library feel and also add a nice Louise Nevelson flavor to the home. Lady Silvia, Inside SoHo Lofts, 900 S. Las Vegas Blvd.