Kilauea Cove Build — Part 3: Paint, Reed & Bamboo
As noted in the last update, I got the NeoPixel RGB LEDs working with the Raspberry Pi. I then cut the long NeoPixel strand into strips and glued them to the glass shelves that would carry the tiki mugs. The LEDs will be covered from direct view, but I want to use the glass so that the lighting passes through the shelves and illuminate the mugs in interesting ways.
After testing the electronics, it’s time to build out the space itself — the walls, the shelves, everything that’s going to provide the retro tiki backdrop to the tiki mug display shelves and the volcano. This needs to be in a good place first, so that I can see how the lighting plays off of them while designing the lighting scheme and animations.
There’s only so much I can do with these low-hanging ducts, or the lumpiest concrete floor that was ever poured (since we’re renting this house). That said, there’s a lot I can do, since our landlords are very casual about letting us paint and mount stuff to the walls.
I pulled down all of the shelves and painted nice base coat of brown (Behr “Coffee Beans” in eggshell), and a complementary color for the trim (Behr “Chocolate Therapy” in semi-gloss). This will be the base layer for all of the other wall coverings and trim to go on top of. Turns out this brown really sucks up the light down here, so it’s a good thing I added this before finishing the lighting work.
On top of the paint goes a layer of reed fencing, to give it a nice tropical feel. It only comes in 6-foot heights, so I had to add a second layer around the bottom of the room to make up the height. My walls in the basement are shorter than the standard height, but there’s a lot of crazy uneven walls, pipes sticking out of things, and that area around the curved duct in the nook that requires some fancy cutting. The reed itself is stapled to the wall so I can easily pull it out, fill in, and repaint whenever we move out.
On top of that goes bamboo trim — half-poles that I ordered online. I first hit the bamboo nodes (the little “seam” that occurs naturally along the bamboo) with a propane torch, to darken them a bit and make them pop. Then I cut mitered corners, and screwed them to the wall. I also cut little mitered endcaps for the bamboo to give a little bit of finish to each end of the space. Part of this is to hide the seams in the reed fencing, but also to give the whole space a sense of continuity. The paneling and bamboo trim extend from the one side of the laundry room door, through the nook, and to the opposite side of the screening room door.
Of course, all of this means that what I’m strapped to my wall amounts to kindling, so I sprayed everything down with a fire retardant spray. It leaves a little bit of a frosty white residue on the reed, but the lighting is dim enough in here that it isn’t really obvious.
Next time, shelves and trim!