Gorgeous vintage barkcloth brings pattern and color into Margie’s 1960 home tiki bar

midcentury tiki lounge bar

Margie with grandson Aharon.
Margie with grandson Aharon.

When Margie moved to Buffalo, New York, about a year ago, she purchased an 1960 original owner time-capsule house with lots of great features — including a full-service bar in the basement. Margie didn’t mess with any of the bones, but to make the space her own, she chose new paint colors, added vintage furniture and, our favorite part of this story: She connected with a seller of gorgeous vintage barkcloth to reupholster the furniture and make lots of pillows. What a fabulous space! 

midcentury tiki lounge bar

Margie writes:

This was a professional move for me, from Birmingham to Buffalo, and I’m pretty tired of moving! I just wanted to buy a house and call it a day! The housing market in Buffalo was a great perk.

midcentury tiki lounge bar

The house was built in 1960. I live in an area of Buffalo, which happens to be chock-filled with these sort of “mid-century fancies.” Every house is a party house with a bar! The previous owner was a local builder and they were the original owners.  The owner, in his nineties, was quite a character, right out of “Good Fellows.” This was quite a party house, with an additional kitchen in the basement for caterers to heat food. A few more details on my tiki bar – the actual bar means business.  Beverage refrigerators, a second compressor in the basement, and a vented grill, in case I want to make burgers while I’m mixing drinks!

midcentury tiki lounge bar midcentury tiki lounge bar

The room originally had white walls. I didn’t like the sharp contrast between the white walls and terra cotta tiles, it just struck me as wrong. This lead me to Sherwin Williams Invigorate Orange (6886). I’m thrilled with the results. I wanted something warm, enveloping, cozy, and tropical, against the background of the Buffalo snowscape.

midcentury tiki lounge barThe style of the home’s original barstools lead me to the Paul Frankl pretzel style chairs and table. It all came together when I found Florida Bungalow’s ebay Store[affiliate link] — with an amazing collection of vintage barkcloth. He has an amazing eye, and it’s been awesome working with him.

midcentury tiki lounge bar

I bought the barstools from the original owner. They have been reupholstered in a 50’s MCM take on fatigue modern. The print is called Congo and is a commercial grade silk shantung.

midcentury tiki lounge bar

The Frankl chairs are upholstered in an MCM commercial silk shantung called design Yucatan — a marriage between two jungle prints Eames style. Even the boxed sides of the cushions are made from a never used solid green barkcloth with a crazy cosmic metallic gold thread streaming through it…recreating 1955 in current day!

midcentury tiki lounge bar

Above: Pillows in 50s dancing palms barkcloth.

midcentury tiki lounge bar

Above: The pillows on the bench are called “Pattern Doric” and are a kaleidoscope of abstract shapes that can make you question your sobriety! A barkcloth from 1950 and cut straight off the original bolt…paired with a warm chocolate solid barkcloth.

midcentury tiki lounge bar midcentury tiki lounge bar

The table lamp, ashtrays, are all Royal Haeger. The planters are Gainey.

midcentury tiki lounge bar

The African masks are from Ivory Coast, purchased in Cape Town.

tiki decor

We think that Margie’s eclectic tiki lounge decor works so well because she mostly kept her color palette controlled — that is — she limited it to a few key colors that she repeated throughout the space. The terra cotta-colored tiles that line the bar and sections of the wall, along with her warm-wood-toned floor and bamboo furniture were her fixed starting points. For this room to work, all of her color choices had to harmonize those elements and in particular with the coppery color of the tile. To start, the orange walls add brightness, but in a rich way and in the same color family. All of these colors are then repeated in her many barkcloth patterns, plus she’s dialed in rich chartreuse green and emerald green — [ red and green are opposites on the color wheel, so work well together ]. Even with a few deviations in this limited color palette — the aqua pottery and yellow planters — the room feels like a unified whole because Margie carefully controlled her palette. Beautifully done, Margie!

Margie, what an inviting space you have made. I love how you mixed in vintage barkcloth, plants and mementos. Thank you for sharing this inspiring space!

Categoriestiki and bars
  1. Lisa Compo says:

    Yowza. I’m a little late reading this article, but Oh So impressed. It looks professionally done. What a showcase of wonderful things. Like someone else said….I would love to see the rest of the house. If this is the bar, the rest must be amazing too. Great real estate find and then to be a decorator this talented……sure would like to peep into your windows. 😉
    I am orange with envy.

  2. Jukesgrrl says:

    Outstanding! The perfect place to spend winter in Buffalo. Margie, it’s a wonder you don’t have a line outside your door of people begging to be let in. Your partnership with Florida Bungalow has yield magical results. The fabrics are gorgeous. Love the wall color, too. I’ve generally been indifferent to the tiki bar, but your perfect rendition has turned me.

  3. lynda murray says:

    i love the way the tablecloth seems to pull all of the fabrics together. You did a fantastic job! Thanks for sharing.

  4. Carl says:

    Wow! Your Tiki bar is so perfect it looks like it was done by a set designer for “Mad Men”. Great use of color. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. magnarama says:

    I have all my vintage rattan furniture upholstered in tropical barkcloth, but it’s all matchy-matchy. Never had the nerve to mix up patterns — but Margie’s gorgeous room makes me think I need to get more adventurous. This is bold style at its best.

    Well done, Margie (and Brian too).

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