Hey everyone. I’m back from my extended leave of absence from AllEars. My move into my new home went well and I’m pretty much settled in. I’m enjoying my new surroundings and I especially like the fact that I can easily hear the Walt Disney World Steam Train and the Lilly Belle whistles from my house. These are pleasant sounds to wake up to each morning. I also have a pretty awesome view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks in the evening from my patio.
Since my new house has been the focus of my life for the last nine months, I thought that my first blog after my return should touch on the subject. So today I’m going to talk about my new guest bedroom. For those of you who are regular readers of my column, you might remember that one of my previous blogs focused on the Mickey Mouse Suite in my former home.
Since my Disney career started in the Blue Bayou Restaurant at Disneyland (which is located inside the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction), I have a soft spot in my heart for this quintessential Disney ride. Over the years, I have amassed quite a collection of Pirates memorabilia – and it has been displayed in various rooms of my previous homes. On my latest move, I decided it was time to consolidate all of this swashbuckling merchandise into one location. This ended up being the guest bedroom.
My Mickey Mouse Suite was over the top with bright colors and a very playful atmosphere. But I knew this whimsical approach would not work for a room based on Pirates of the Caribbean (PotC). This room would need to be a little more subdued. I also did not want to create a “children’s” room. I wanted this bedroom to be suitable for adults – however, I believe a young child’s imagination could get lost in this space.
I started this decorating project with the bedroom floor. But what should I use? I wanted something that suggested a nautical theme. Then I remembered the carpet that Disney uses in their pirate rooms located at the Caribbean Beach Resort. Here, the carpet resembles wood planks. The only problem is, this is custom carpeting and not available to the general public.
The idea of wood planks intrigued me and I knew this was the way to go. But real wood flooring is expensive and requires special care. In addition, all of the other rooms in my house are tile. So I decided to purchase ceramic tile that resembles wood. This would be less expensive and make cleaning day a little easier. Although I am capable of laying tile, I opted to pay a professional to do the job.
Next, I needed to pick a wall color. For this I went with a medium gray with green undertones.
Ceiling fans are a fact of life in Florida. Almost every room in a new house in the Sunshine State is prewired to accommodate both an overhead light and a fan. Once again, I was looking for something that suggested a nautical theme. Fortunately, I found just what I wanted at Lowes. The light fixture resembles a lantern that might have been found on an old sailing vessel.
Having so many pirate figurines to display necessitated buying a new bed – a bed with a headboard with many nooks and crannies.
The majority of the figurines seen here are from the Walt Disney Classics Collection. When moving, I did NOT trust my fragile items to the movers and packed and transported them myself. All of these items have been out-of-stock for some time and now only available on eBay.
The Walt Disney Classics Collection was introduced in July 1992. The pieces recreate classic Disney characters from both their movies and theme park attractions. The creation of each hand-painted figurine is supervised by Disney animators and are stamped on the bottom with an insignia designating the year it was released. Many of the pieces are produced in numbered, limited editions that often sell on secondary markets for substantially more than their original asking price.
The sailing ship is a replica of Queen Anne’s Revenge, the vessel captained by Blackbeard and featured in Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.” This wooden model is readily available online and comes fully assembled. Note, this is not a Disney product.
I purchased this lithograph at the Disney Gallery in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square years ago. This piece of art was created for the PotC attraction at Disneyland Paris and can be seen in the Blue Lagoon Restaurant lobby.
On the wall opposite the bed are two closets.
After I finished decorating this room, I felt the white closet doors did not convey the rustic/pirate feel I was going for. (This “feel” will become more obvious as you read further in this blog.) So, I “weathered” them. To achieve this effect, I painted a clear “cracking” solution on the doors (available at Lowes and Home Depot).
After this solution dried, I painted the closets with a dark brown color. As this top layer of paint dried, it cracked and separated. This gave the doors an aged look.
However, I was not pleased with the stark contrast between the dark doors and the lighter wall color. So I took some of the gray/green wall paint and diluted it greatly with water. Then, working in small areas, I painted this watery mixture on the doors and trim. Next I took paper towels and wiped the majority of the paint off of the wood, leaving just a thin coat of paint. This technique accomplished two goals. First, it toned down the dark color. But more importantly, it helped “age” the wood even more. Now the closet doors look as if they have been exposed to the elements and faded in the sun. Also, by using the wall color to whitewash the wood, there is continuity in color.
Above the closets I have mounted a flat-screen TV, surround-sound speakers, and more pirate art. Since I knew in advance that I would be mounting a TV in this location, I had an electrical and cable outlet installed inside one of the closet. Inside this closet you’ll find the cable box and DVD player. To simplify viewing, I bought a universal remote control that works on radio frequencies rather than infrared light. This allows the user to control the TV and sound system from the bed without having to open the closet doors as “line of sight” is not needed to operate the equipment.
Inside the other closet is my CD and DVD collection. I wanted to make sure my guests had something to watch when they retire in the evening. Of course, all Disney “Pirate” movies are available.
To add more interest to the closet doors, I purchased pirate-themed knobs. Although they are not Disney related, they still fit the motif of the room.
The third wall of the room simply contains some Disney art, but some of it is interesting and not often seen today.
In preparation for my move, I was rummaging through my entire Disney collection, trying to decide what to keep and what to sell as I was downsizing. During this ordeal, I came across a poster that I didn’t even know I owned or where I had obtained it. Upon closer examination I found that it was a map of the PotC attraction. If you study it carefully, it traces the entire Disneyland Pirate voyage from start to end. Knowing I was creating a pirate room, I took the poster to a framer and had it mounted and laminated.
When Disneyland’s PotC was in the planning stages, Marc Davis created many sketches of the scenes that would someday delight guests. When PotC opened in 1967, many of the sketches were transferred onto postcards and sold in New Orleans Square. But like all merchandise, they eventually ran their course and were retired. Years later, a Disney cast member was rummaging through a warehouse and stumbled upon several boxes of these unsold postcards. As the fledging Disney Gallery was on the lookout for new and interesting merchandise to sell, these postcards were framed and sold as “art” rather than a throwaway souvenir.
The last picture I’ll discuss on this wall is a sericel created by Disney artists to be sold in the various “good stores” at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.
Here we find Mickey, Goofy, Donald, and Pluto taking the place of pirates in the most memorable scene of the attraction.
I’ve saved the best for last…
For my fourth wall, I wanted to create something that would command attention and really hammer home the pirate theme. After a lot of thought, I decided on a crumbling wall as seen in the queue of Castillo del Morro and in other locations around Adventureland.
My first thought was wallpaper. But I didn’t like how frequently the patterns repeated. The bricks didn’t look realistic. Next I looked at murals, but they were expensive and not big enough to cover an entire wall. I also thought about using the trompe-l'œil effect and painting a realistic scene. But alas, my artistic abilities aren’t that keen. So I eventually decided to create the real thing – well, sort of. Here’s how it turned out.
I’m pretty happy with my efforts and will talk about this wall in more detail later in this article. But first, let me discuss the remaining bric-a-brac.
I’ve never been a fan of overhead lighting in a bedroom. I much prefer lamps. So I went online and found this skeleton-pirate lamp. Once again, it’s not “Disney,” but it fits the room.
Closer examination of the lamp finds our dead friend is wearing a pirate hat, has a bottle of rum in his boney fingers, and his feet are surrounded by doubloons and gems. The shade depicts a map to secret treasure.
Next to the lamp is another Walt Disney Classics Collection piece. This time we find a drunken pirate sprawled out with pigs.
On the wall is a lithograph depicting the original ending scene in the Magic Kingdom version of PotC. If you remember, before Jack Sparrow arrived, the magistrate was bound and gagged as the pirates looted the treasure room.
Next to the litho is a shadow box that uses items from the attraction to spell out Pirates of the Caribbean.
Well this ends today’s article. If you like my feature wall and are interested in creating something similar in your own home, check back tomorrow when I will provide you with step-by-step instructions.
The previous post in this blog was Christmas Week at Walt Disney World.
The next post in this blog is Pirates of the Caribbean Guest Bedroom - Part Two.