I’ll admit it: My dream is to live in a house that looks like Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion on the outside and has rooms that look like different lands and attractions on the inside. Not just a bedroom full of Disney tchotchkes that say “Pirates of the Caribbean” on them, but an actual replica of a scene from the ride (though I don’t think Patrick’s gonna go for sleeping in a canopied bed with a skeleton and a pile of jewels)!
We have this tiny three-quarters bath at our place that I just couldn’t make look good (it had serious gas station-restroom vibes when we moved in), so I finally decided the only thing to do was to turn it into a replica of the foyer in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. Or at least what the powder room off that foyer would look like if there were one! For those of you more familiar with Walt Disney World’s Haunted Mansion, here’s a fantastic photo of the Disneyland mansion’s foyer by Michaela Hansen of the blog Tours Departing Daily.
And here’s a view looking the other way by the comprehensive site DavelandWeb.com. This was an invaluable photographic resource for me as I tried to match elements of the mansion, and I highly recommend it if you’re also trying to re-create Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion!
I’m pretty embarrassed to show you this “before” photo, but dang if the Roots didn’t make the room look the best it possibly could! I never really had a complete vision for this bathroom, and without my trusty interior designer Leslie to reign me in, it ended up looking like the inside of a tween’s locker….
Now it looks like the inside of a granny’s locker! Welcome, foolish mortals, to the Haunted Bathroom…
It turns out to be really fun to replicate a heavily themed style that’s not at all your taste. I totally geeked out about re-creating even the tiniest details of the Haunted Mansion’s foyer, especially when I was able to track down the same materials Disney used (the wallpaper and the sheers are identical!). For those features that had no precedent, like, you know, the toilet paper holder, I sought out the creepiest, wackiest version I could find. Here’s a complete breakdown for anyone who’d like to replicate the foyer too…
This is the easiest and fastest way to make your house look like the Haunted Mansion. Unlike the purple demon-eye wallpaper in the Corridor of Doors, for which there are only fan-made replicas, the Victorian wallpaper used in the foyer of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion is still in production by a real wallpaper company, Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers. You’ll want to get it in the appropriately named “Ashes of Rose” colorway for an exact match.
At the other end of the spectrum, this is the most difficult and time-consuming way to make your house look like the Haunted Mansion! The bathroom is long and narrow, so I had to create a simplified version of the ceiling molding design that still reads like that in the Haunted Mansion’s foyer. Originally I investigated actual molding, but it was going to cost thousands of dollars to install, so Patrick volunteered to paint a trompe l’oeil version. I augmented it with custom 3-D rosettes like those in the corners of the ceiling at Disneyland.
Curtains & Sink Skirt
I looked at sooooooooo many photos of the Haunted Mansion foyer’s draperies trying to figure out which shade of mustard brown they were and what all was going on with the trim. This was the most out-of-my-comfort-zone project because I normally cannot stand fussy swagging window treatments, let alone mustard brown! Fortunately, there are a lot of people in LA who do like this look, and I was easily able to track down a place to have them made.
Leslie turned up an appropriately hideous brown velvet in LA’s Fashion District. I searched for weeks but could not find black tassel trim with the same criss-cross design to layer over the gold bullion fringe. I finally went for a black ball-fringe trim with an identical criss-cross, since the ball doesn’t read that differently from a tassel unless you get really close. Because it is shorter than the trim in the Haunted Mansion, I found some shorter bullion fringe on Amazon and scaled the whole thing down slightly.
However, the sheers were a stroke of luck. I was idly searching for sheer lace on eBay when I came across the EXACT fabric used by Disney! They’ve probably had to replace those sheers frequently over the years, and the latest upgrade used this fabric.
For the sink skirt, Patrick helped me sketch out a more swagalicious version of the damask one I’d made originally to cover the gas station sink, and I had a local seamstress make it with the same fabric and trim as the draperies. It’s totally ridiculous (she thought it was supposed to be an actual skirt at first!) but at least it hides the ugly plumbing and seems to fit the theme.
This was another stroke of luck. I hadn’t been watching Craigslist very long when a 1920s vintage chandelier turned up that appears to have been made by the same manufacturer as the one in the Haunted Mansion! It has the same acanthus leaves sprouting from the top and a very similar etched base, all on a smaller scale that works great in our tiny bathroom. All I had to do was replace the teardrop-shaped crystals on the lower tier with rectangular ones like those in the Haunted Mansion!
OK, so, technically this guy is in the Stretching Room, not the foyer, but when I found an amazingly well-made scale replica on eBay—complete with light-up drip candles!—I snatched it up. And then… tragedy! He tumbled off his perch and smashed into a bazillion pieces on the tile floor. But then… a miracle! The same eBay seller emailed out of the blue to see if I wanted an identical mate to the one I’d already bought from him. Yes, please! (And if you happen to be a fan of the Haunted Mansion and puzzles, let me know if you’d be interested in the “disassembled” gargoyle!)
I have this idea that I should paint the shower walls to resemble the wallpaper in the Stretching Room. Sure, it’ll be dark as the tomb in there at bathtime, but at least the gargoyle will fit right in!
Changing Portraits & Concept Art
I made another inauthenticity allowance when I put my Haunted Mansion 30th Anniversary lenticular changing portraits in our “foyer.” The small ones represent Disneyland’s selection of changing portraits at the time of the event—the “April December” girl was unfortunately removed from the ride in 2004 and replaced with “Master Gracey” from Walt Disney World. They also changed “Panther Lady” to a tiger! The set includes two never-created lenticulars, one a vase of withered roses and the other a farm hit by a dust storm.
The ship in the center was my holy grail Disney collector’s item for about 15 years. They made a very small number of them for the 30th anniversary, and in the rare event that one appeared on eBay, it was always a thousand bucks or more. Finally, some other fan started selling replicas on eBay at a more reasonable price (allegedly they are leftovers from an Imagineering test run, but he seems to have an endless supply, so… I dunno about that) and “Ghost Ship” was mine at last!
On the opposite wall (and nearly impossible to photograph) is my all-time favorite piece of Disneyland concept art and the first one I ever bought: Sam McKim’s concept for the Haunted Mansion exterior. This is the piece that spurred Walt Disney to request a neat and tidy appearance for the attraction’s exterior, saying, “We’ll take care of the outside and let the ghosts take care of the inside.” But I love how wild and spooky the Mansion looks in this piece.
Propping out the rest of the bathroom was a fun treasure hunt for stuff that looked older and creepier than what was there. One of the wackiest things I found was this over-the-top “swan” faucet on Amazon (it looks more like a ticked-off sea serpent to me).
The soap bottle and poison label both came from Etsy. In fact, I found most of the creepy stuff I needed on Etsy!
The tombstone lightswitch cover was made by a generous Etsy seller who let me try out covers in all the different finishes he offered before picking the one that went best with the wallpaper.
These hooks‘ll give ya nightmares!
Another Etsy hook I loved. Head-on, it looks almost like a face. And it has this 3-D thing going on where you can hang something big over the top and something small from the bottom.
This towel stolen from the Hollywood Tower Hotel…
Ok, no, I just ordered some hand towels from Horchow on a killer sale and had them monogrammed!
The tissue box is another “so cheesy, it just might work” item from Amazon. I kind of love it now…
Originally I thought I could combine the fake books with these eBay replicas of the Haunted Mansion’s following busts, like bookends, but the scale was all wrong.
Also, did you know you can buy decorative toilet flush handles? I didn’t!
I had a person more crafty than myself give the little chest of drawers an ornate Victorian makeover, and I found the new knobs on Etsy.
So if there were a toilet in the Haunted Mansion, what would the toilet paper holder look like? Why, this, of course!
Most guests who see the Haunted Bathroom just scratch their heads and/or get creeped out by the changing portraits while, um, powdering their noses. So that’s why I’m excited to show you guys, true Disney fans who can appreciate our near-maniacal level of commitment to re-creating the Haunted Mansion at home!