It was night, so the first place we went on our Grand LA Tiki Adventure was Tiki Ti. Nom nom, I’m thirsty all over again. Next morning, though, the very first place we headed was to Whittier to visit: Oceanic Arts, the famed design center for all things tiki since 1956. Yes, 1956, and Oceanic Arts continues to be led by the original owners LeRoy Schmaltz and Bob van Oosting, who met in junior college. In the photo above, that’s me, Humu and Christie lovin’ on LeRoy, who was there when we dropped in. For this story, I had my good camera, and I did not waste it. 66 photos, so’s you can feel like you were there, too!

Above: Angie, who was working that day, is a big fan of the blog, and we were excited to meet each other. 

Non-goofball photo of squad + LeRoy.

Above: Art by LeRoy. But he’s even more well-known for his carvings. His carvings are all over America! Lots of carvings by LeRoy follow:



How do you spell “Squak”? That is a weird word. 

On to lighting at Oceanic Arts. I was entranced:
Now, how about practical stuff, matting, bamboo, rope, etc.:

There was a hearty dose of nautical:

You can drive away with a bar:

And so much more:

I’m so glad I took all these photos — they are full of ideas — and a great reminder of more that I can buy!

Oh, what did I buy? A puffer-fish lamp that’s already on its way to me. And, I’m working with Angie on getting some carvings of some of those bird corbels and maybe a tiki, too. I can’t wait!

Link love:

Categoriestiki and bars
  1. Jay says:

    Amazing! and anyone can go in there and shop? I figured you sent a whole cargo container home with wonderful things for the lounge. I bet you picked up some good pointers on décor, not that you need any. That great unveil should be in the not too distant future.

  2. Pam Kueber says:

    Yes, it’s open to the public.

    I called my wallpaper person to come look at doing the ceiling. I decided against trying it myself. Need to work on the blog!

  3. Carolyn says:

    Yes, Pam, you need to work on the blog – it’s such a part of our daily routine that when it’s not up, we are down – : > ( . But it’s really worth waiting when you come back with stuff like this!
    How do you know you’ve had enough rum punch? When LeRoy’s huts stand straight
    Squawk – Marty Feldman must’ve been the model
    Oh, yeah, the bird corbels. Get two custom made to look dismal going in to the lounge and happy going out
    What is that painted box with what look like mirrors/frames/ albums stacked in?
    Oh, my! that light to the immediate lower right of the puffer fish – wish I could see THAT better – think I’ll check a website?
    Red-headed masthead – talk about fierce!
    And, lastly, the map behind the Store Hours sign
    A few yrs ago hubbie brought home a bamboo roll-up shade with no clear idea what to do with it (but I’M the hoarder!) I’ve added to the collection “HE” started with narrower shades and yoga and place mats. Ephemeral idea of painting scenes on them to unroll to surprise people – ? I’m still peeved I had to give up my puka-shell lamp because it was tangled and we weren’t sure where it could go.
    Can’t wait for further adventures in Tiki-land!

  4. Steven Otto says:

    The address of Oceanic Arts is, of course, displayed on the store’s website. Thank you for providing a link to it, but it seems like an oversight not to mention the location within the article as well (especially given that it’s not in Los Angeles). Still, it’s great to see recognition and appreciation shown for this important member of Whittier’s business community!

  5. Joe says:

    Totally groovetastic! It’s like being in the props warehouse for Hawaii 5-0. It’s nice to see this fun look that was made famous by Trader Vic back in the 50’s is still popular.

  6. Karin says:

    I ‘m guessing you had a great time in LA. Thanks for the grand tour! What a store! We all could use a little taste of the tropics. I’m definitely keeping their website on my radar.

  7. Neil says:

    Who knew there are so Many different Tiki ceiling fixtures?!
    I’m diggin’ those lit up glass floats.
    Neil

  8. Kali says:

    I spy my tapa lamp among the photos!

    Love Angie! She helped me order my lamps and gave me pads of OA graph paper and drink stirrers. 🙂

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