Tiki bar style
In Polynesian mythology, “tiki” is synonymous with “first man” and “god of the artists,” in addition to being a phallic symbol, according to Sven Kirsten’s The Book of Tiki. In the ’20s and ’30s avant-garde artist types embraced primitivism, and Hawaiian music was big as well.

The Ferrell couple had fallen in love with a deprecated Eichler in Thousand Oaks, taking on a roof that seemed determined to leak (part 1) and a damaged interior (part 2). The hard part was finally over and now they were ready to have some fun with their dream home. Indulging his longtime fandom, Ron turned the laundry room into a kitschy tiki bar and lounge.

“I had been to Trader Vic’s and Don the Beachcomber’s when I was younger, and my mom is still up for an occasional visit to the Bahooka restaurant [in Rosemead, Calif.],” Ron says about his early tiki bar indoctrination. The couple owned some rattan furniture plus a few kitschy collectibles from the ’50s. With the purchase of The Book of Tiki, which “tells you everything about what happened to the tiki bars and Hawaiian restaurants that were popular in the ’50s and ’60s,” he explains, they were off.

Ron was selling his prodigious collection of blues and jazz CDs online, and he started looking at tiki mugs and restaurant menus on eBay. The sizeable collection now includes ashtrays, matchbooks, carved Oceanic Arts statues, a period-looking bar, glass fishing floats and nets on the ceiling, island-theme art and dishes, masks and dozens of tiki mugs to choose from for the rum drinks Ron has perfected.

The Ferrells now attend tiki events with fellow enthusiasts, like the party they threw last summer with invites to everyone who visits the tikicentral.com chat board. Though the participants range in age from their 20s to their 60s, many share similar interests, like midcentury modern design and the Rat Pack–esque cocktail culture, in addition to tiki fever.

“We can’t go to Hawaii every day,” say Mickee, “but when you’re sitting in the Rincon Room listening to island music and having a tropical cocktail,” “you could be in a bar in Hawaii,” Ron finishes for her.

Six months after we visited the Ferrells, we met a young couple at the Palm Springs Modernism show who turned out to be the next owners of the house. After throwing a going-away party, Ron and Mickee have moved to what Ron calls a “split-level, Brady Bunch ’70s house” that has been their rental property for years. And Julie Davies, an architecture and interior design student at UCLA, and her husband, Veto Ruiz, an escrow officer in Beverly Hills, are unpacking in their new home.

Julie researched Eichlers online and eventually connected with a realtor who lived in the Ferrells’ neighborhood, who solicited the sale. Julie and Veto had previously considered an Eichler in Balboa Highlands in the $600,000 range that she would have been happy to do a remodel on, but she didn’t think her husband would enjoy living through the process.

“Because these houses don’t come on the market all that often, when they do it’s often from someone who has lived in it for 20 or 30 years,” says the Liverpool native. “We like the style—the openness and the privacy. We thought whoever designed these Eichlers was very forward thinking.”