It should come as no surprise that Disneyland’s infamous ghostly retirement home (New Orleans Square) earned the honor of “favorite attraction” for California resident Dee Andrea Mary Ellis. As evidence, At Home Imagineering presents her cleverly crafted Haunted Mansion-themed foyer.
As with the Haunted Mansion itself, this delightfully re-decorated foyer only hints at what lies beyond. For this fiendishly fun home, a haunted hallway, well stocked with hot and cold running creeps (aka collectibles) greet those who visit.
Inside the Magic is thrilled to meet so many Haunted Mansion fans! Today we are thrilled to introduce another foolish mortal: Dee Andrea Mary Ellis.
This middle school, band, and orchestra teacher proudly collects Disney Haunted Mansion and Villain items. In addition to enjoying Disney’s dark side, Dee Andrea opens her heart to rescue animals. Currently, she cares for a horse and two dogs (a rough coat sable collie, and a shepherd/boxer mix). A pair of Persian cats also share the home with a rescue kitten.
Creating a Haunted Mansion Themed Foyer and more (ghost optional)
In addition to a dedicated Disney Villains room, Mrs. Ellis now enjoys a ghostly haunted mansion foyer and haunted hallway. From Stretch Room Portraits to perfectly placed Haunted Mansion wallpaper, we are delighted to share Dee Andrea’s endeavors. She was gracious enough to discuss the transformation of home with ITM.
What inspired you to craft your creepy cool creation?
My favorite ride in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion and I love the foyer. I saw a picture of a Haunted Mansion bathroom that looks super awesome and I thought well, I actually have a foyer so I decided to transform it into the Haunted Mansion foyer.
Did you make these happy haunt items? If not, where did you get them?
I bought a miter saw and learned how to create and install crown molding and watched YouTube videos to learn how to make my white metal doors look like wood. I went on a search for entryway marble tables and a hall tree that would suit my needs, chairs, and so on. I found a chandelier that looked similar to the one we already have in the living room and went to work modifying it to look like the original one. I found the crystals and placed them on the chandelier and then we had to learn how to wire them to the ceiling.
It took us 4 1/2 hours to do it and help from one of my Haunted Mansion friends, but we did it. The hardest part about making the foyer was designing and installing the ceiling. I made up a design that would fit in my much smaller foyer, cut out all of the wood, stained it, and laid it on the foyer floor. We used painters’ tape to mark where every piece of wood would need to go, but when we tried to use our nail gun to connect them to the ceiling they kept falling down again! Two and a half hours later we discovered the pressure of the air was too powerful and we were shooting nails into the second story of our house. Oops! Once we got that figured out we were good to go.
The only thing that I did not do or make myself in all of my projects was installing the Lily Ashes of Rose wallpaper. A dear friend of mine, Donna Dark Collins, talked me into having it professionally installed and that was the best idea ever!
My Haunted Mansion stretching room wallpaper hallway started out as just a display area for my Haunted Mansion collection. It is a rather modest collection, but it grew and I wanted a nice place to display it. So, I decided to turn the display cases, which are DVD shelves, into the front gate to the Haunted Mansion. I found a real stone facade that was the correct size and I painted it brick-colored.
I, then, built the white tops on either side of the middle cabinet, and voila, there is the front gate, sort of. I found a serpent door knob and decided to turn all three white metal doors in my hallway into “wooden” doors like in my foyer, changed out the trim, and stained everything the same shade as my door in the foyer.
I decided to paint my stairwell the same green that is in the Lily Ashes of Rose wallpaper since the stairway is next to the foyer. I made fun of Haunted Mansion frames and placed my 40th Haunted Mansion anniversary tapestries in those and they are displayed in the stairwell.
My living room has developed over time as I found pieces of furniture and curtains that would go with the period. In it, I have my tall Haunted Mansion stretching room portraits that were gifted to me by one of my favorite Haunted Mansion artists Topher Adam for my birthday – which is on Halloween of course.
He sent me backdrops of his stretching room portraits and I got this crazy idea. Since I had already created the Haunted Mansion frames in miniature, why not do it full-sized? So, I made wood frames to stretch the material of the backdrops on, and once I completed that I made the frames. I have a very tall living room, so we mounted them to my wall.
I have, also, made four sets of the following busts. I absolutely love the illusion and the story behind it. I have a set that is permanently in my living room wall, a set that I placed in a fabulous cabinet that I found, and two other sets that are free-standing cabinets that I made myself. One set I am gifting to a dear friend.
Do you have favorite items from your project?
Absolutely. My stretching room portraits.
Any plans for other themed areas/decorating?
- Yes, my dining room is right off of my living room and I am currently working on ideas on how to make it look similar to the Plaza Inn/Jolly Holiday.
- I want to learn how to make wainscoting to circle my dining room with. I think the walls will be a blush pink of some kind and I want to figure out how to add the wood scrollwork or corbels. I think that would flow nicely from my Haunted Mansion decor.
- I just finished the bookshelves in my library and I am hoping for a Beauty and the Beast feel in there.
- My television room is movie-themed and dominantly Star Wars, but it is a work in progress as well.
- I am making a Haunted Mansion purple wallpaper skirt, a Villains skirt with my favorite Maleficent and a Star Wars skirt.
We understand you just discovered a new hobby/game and decided to turn that into some Haunted Mansion inspired fun, too. Please tell our readers about this.
I have just recovered from COVID 19 and during my quarantine, my husband and I decided to relearn how to play cribbage. We really enjoy playing the game and I started to look at different types of fancy cribbage boards online. Holy Cow are they expensive, but so neat. I thought, “Hey what if I made one myself?” I have a miter saw, my favorite toy; a band saw, my second favorite toy; and I am learning how to use my router. So, I took my 3D puzzle of the Haunted Mansion that I made and used it as a model to draw a picture of the Haunted Mansion, I have never drawn a building before ever.
It was not perfect, but as good as I could do for my first time. I used the picture as a template for cutting out the wood, used a wood-burning tool to burn the picture I drew onto the wood, used a steel cribbage board template to drill all three sets of 120 holes, the nine starter holes, and the 21 tournament holes. The final step was to paint the lines for each set of holes, I chose purple, ghostly silver, and green; then I coated the entire piece with a sealant. It took a while and isn’t perfect, but I like it.
Making even more magic
We sincerely appreciate Dee Andrea for sharing this fiendishly fun foyer and haunted hallway with us. Projects like this provide inspiration for fans of the Mansion and other Disney (and similar pop culture) themes.
If any of our readers happen to be in the Fairfield, California area and just happen to spot a familiar Disney character, don’t be alarmed, its just Dee Andrea working her magic!
I have several children that call me their Fairy Godmother, so I have decided to create a Periwinkle cape and a sparkly dress just for fun. -Dee Andrea Mary Ellis
Source and images: Dee Andrea Mary Ellis (and her Facebook page)