The opportunity Sheryl Joseph noticed that her husband, Barry Tschetter, was accumulating wood left over from projects created by his Calgary-based fence company. She wanted an outdoor entertaining space by the firepit at their Buffalo Lake, Alta., cabin. So the family drew up a design for a fun new project: what may be the world’s first Albertan take on a tiki bar.
Over two weekends, the family helped with the build. “Three generations of folks were out there giving their input,” says Sheryl. “We made it almost entirely from materials we still had from other projects.”
Sheryl and Barry used scrap cedar for the walls, pressure-treated 4x4s for the posts, and corrugated aluminum (the only material they bought) for the roof and the bar. “The tiles are rubber paving pads we used on the deck earlier that spring,” says Sheryl. “Behind the bar, we laid leftover cement patio stones into sand that we gathered from the property.”
Sheryl incorporated a few well-storied objects into the tiki bar, including wooden masks that her best friend’s son carved and a chime that her father, Bryan, a former welder, made from lengths of steel pipe. “They sound like church bells,” she says. The picnic table was a gift from her cousin, 20 years ago. “It was old and rotting, but my cousin has passed away since. I didn’t want to throw it out,” Sheryl says. “We cut it in half and used the good half.” The family gathers there to play cards on rainy days.
After receiving a few bison heads from a friend who owns a nearby bison ranch, Sheryl washed them with bleach, painted them, and attached a few feathers using leather strips. She also recovered four railway spikes from an abandoned railway line, painted the ends to resemble ladybugs (just for fun), and installed them as hooks for hanging barbecue tools and tea towels.
Sheryl fashioned a chandelier from antlers held together with leftover flooring glue, strung it with Ikea lights, and hung it from the ceiling. There’s also a dartboard: “We take it out and hang it on the tree in the front when we’re ready to play,” says Sheryl.
A sign over the bar reads Hole in the Hollar Tiki Bar because the structure sits at the lowest spot on the property. “After supper, we all come down the hill,” says Sheryl. “We start the campfire. My son-in-law Jeff fires up the popcorn maker. We open up the beer coolers behind the bar, and everyone is served from the tiki hut. We listen to music, tell stories, and have lots of laughs.”