The entire time we had been in Tacoma, the ultimate goal was to be called and told we were on the top of the list and could have a Base House!!! The day we were called........it was like being told we had won the lottery!
In no time we were packed and moved. The "units" were duplexes in clusters of three buildings. The carports and storage units were in the middle.
All the homes were identical!!! Metal kitchen cabinets, with an electric stove, DISHWASHER, decent frost free refrigerator/freezer AND a washer and dryer!! The floors were wood parquet tiles and the kitchen and bathrooms were linoleum tiles. We were fortunate also to get some base furniture for the bedrooms. Head and foot boards for the kids rooms.....these were a metal material.
It was at this point that my EPIPHANIES started!!! I had all sorts of ideas and went to work to make our home different than the rest!!! This was a challenge. On top of our homes all being the same......our husbands all flew into Asian countries every month and brought back tons of "goodies". One husband would find a fabulous item, maybe a screen from Okinawa, and then we all had to have one. It was vital we all had the screen, green ceramic elephants, Asian horse, pillow tables, brass candle sticks, Japanese dancing women figurines just to name a few.
This was also the period of "antiquing" furniture. I choose the green with black stain. Everything I could find that was wood......I antiqued!! My best work was the hope chest that started out in a beautiful blond mahogany........Today, Patti has it and it has been restored to it's original state!
One day I decided that the thin wood legs on all our "Danish Furniture" casement pieces made them look top heavy! I experimented with the night stand by turning it upside down and discovered I could unscrew the legs. Presto.. the entire bedroom "set" had a new look!!! The latest MEDITERRANEAN look !!!!! I was redesigning all the furniture as fast as I could remove legs!!!!
I really got creative when I decided we needed square cube tables for the sofa!! Epiphany.....use the night stands and ANTIQUE the backs!!!! The backs were just a piece of plywood and to antique them was a breeze. I added a very fancy "Mediterranean" knob! Oh, how clever!!
Some of my best ideas were accomplished with contact paper. The discovery of this product opened up all sorts of possibilities.
Please notice our FIRST CHANDELIER!!!!!
I started in the kitchen......have you ever seen anything so perfect?? You have to remember we were in the 60's!!!!! Even the canisters were covered to match! That was so successful that I covered the head and foot boards with a stripped pattern.
We were in base housing about three years! Started with one sofa (from a newspaper ad for $75) and ended with the first HIGH END furniture purchase we ever made. To this day I can't remember what happened to the "Danish" sofa that the dear children made the cake on! Started with the sofa in the apartment, on to the one in the "Mobile Home", the "Danish" sofa, the one bought from the classified ad to be up to date with the new Italian and French Mediterranean style and then........ We bought a custom Henredon sofa and two chairs. That's 5 sofa's......... When you purchase quality it lasts....Steve and Angela have the two chairs in Seoul and Patti has the sofa. They have been recovered many times, but the spring/down cushioning and the solid frames have lasted and lasted!!! Worth every penny!
As I look at these pictures I see my window treatment skills were beginning to develop as well as my picture arranging talents. My Dad's art was complimented with boards I covered with fabric to make "art"! I have no idea where the map of Long Island ended up, but I wish I had it now! The "key" and the ornate clock were design fashions of the day.
My design work was being born and I was on my way................
Two side notes: Remember the floors I described earlier......I waxed them with liquid wax weekly!!! When we moved, we had to hire a professional floor cleaner to remove three years of weekly wax. It was mandatory that the units be left as you received them.........which meant the contact paper also became History!!!
......The Latest thing in fashion was to have "robes" made out of three large bath towels. Mine was perfectly made by Grandma!!!
Master Carpenter just spotted his FIRST project!!! What is seen outside the window is a play house painted blue and yellow that he made for the kids!!!! One last point...The Milk containers...we lugged 13 of those home weekly...no soda in our house!!!!
Next.................#10.........Our FIRST Home Purchase!!!!!
Hold on..... because you have to concentrate while reading this. Even Master Carpenter had to sit back and take a break.
Continuing from the apartment in Blacksburg, we started what would become "We're moving"!!!! We should have seen the signs 51 years ago....they were there!!!!
Not long after the Christmas Holidays we became friends with other married students at Virginia Tech. They lived in Mobile Homes............They were NOT considered "trailers". They were MOBILE HOMES!!! You guessed it.....I had to have one. It was twice the size of the apartment, had a washer and dryer..... we could take it with us when we moved to our next assignment, etc. etc.
Against EVERYONE'S advise
.... we bought one.
A 50' by 10' Mobile Home. We thought we had a mansion, and loved living in an apple orchid with our friends. One couple had a two story "mobile home". They were rich!!! The "mobile home" came completely furnished with all appliances (no dishwasher). Still no design talent emerging. I would rearrange the basic sofa and chair now and then, but it was rather limited!
Note the "ART" ...BEFORE ERICA I HAD MY FATHER'S WORKS! Guess we know where Erica's talent comes from!
When Master Carpenter graduated he received orders to James Connolly AFB, Waco, Texas for January. We had a few months of being nomads. We arranged to have the "mobile home" moved to Texas. An interesting note here....the Government didn't pay for most of the cost of moving "trailers"!
We moved back to my old room in my parents house in Garden City! If you are counting we are at #3!
In October, Bobby was born and then in January, off we went to the Wild West! Oh, by the way ...We received news that our second child was coming in September ........How????????, I just had the BABY!!!
We settled into a "mobile home" "park". Not the pretty apple orchid back in Virginia. I count this as #4!! Same home, different location.
Patti was born in September (the doctor was correct!) ! Master Carpenter received orders for Mather AFB in Sacramento, California in November. Now, we are not even considering paying for another move of the "mobile home" and we have outgrown it!! So...we sold it.
We arrived in Sacramento in late November and rented a two story apartment. #5....
We bought our first "sets" of furniture. All furniture came in "sets'! ..... a Danish sofa, chair, (remember the "Danish Period"), slat bench, end table, lamp and the bedroom "set". We had two cribs and the hope chest my parents gave me for Christmas back in 1956.
Note the Danish Sofa!
I must add that was one of the hottest Christmas Trees for it's time!!! and....for those that don't know what the "things" are on the mirror!!! Those are Christmas Cards. People used to send all their family and friends cards. Can you just imagine!!
....The construction of the ceiling/roof of the second floor of the apartment was very poor. We could see the sky......and we were air conditioning the State of California!!! Our electric bill was horrendous. You guessed it.....we found a new apartment to move to..#6. This was a brand new duplex and a lot of our friends lived close by.
Are you all still with me......
We get news that Baby #3 is coming in January and Master Carpenter receives orders to McChord AFB in Tacoma, Washington for November.
We are up to #7!!!
We arrive in Tacoma in late November and find a lovely little three bedroom home to rent. It had a huge backyard with a storage shed. You know, I don't think I EVER went out into the that yard. Simply didn't have the time! Steve arrived in January and I get the bug....we need a bigger house!!!!
We found a larger "ranch" home for rent. I didn't do anything in design in either of these homes. I was too busy taking care of three toddles to worry about such things! The three kids did create a design change though!!!!! One morning, before Master Carpenter and I got up, they got into the refrigerator, took out eggs, milk, Worcestershire Sauce, Ketchup, their "baby vitamins", along with some flour and sugar. They decided to make a cake!!! To this day I don't know why they added the vitamins! And where did they do this .......on our Danish sofa....Needless to say it had to be recovered! That was the extent of any design during those years!
We finally got word we made the list for Base Housing!!!!
Oh, boy, Base Housing, that was the best yet! We had been in Tacoma two years and now we are moving for the third time... to Base Housing!!! #9
THE FIRST .....WHO KNEW THERE WOULD BE SO MANY.....
Erica suggested I undertake a tremendous project. She is so clever at ideas. She has challenged me to post my "design" development over the past 51 years.
Here is #1 !!!
Don't you love that lamp!
This was our first apartment at 214 Clay Street, Blacksburg, Virginia. We shared the first floor of a gorgeous Victorian home with the owner, Mrs. Kemp. She had the second floor converted into two additional apartments. Entering the foyer you could enter our apartment straight ahead through a regular wood door or go to the left through French Doors that entered her apartment. There was a small table with a telephone. The two apartments upstairs, and ours, shared this phone. The apartment was furnished, so I really didn't have the ability to design! I did clean though. I remember I washed the wood floors every morning.....I hope I didn't ruin them!!! These pictures do show some signs of a design future in the accessory arrangements!
Now that's a Kitchen!
My design talents will grow over the years. You are all in for a treat! And...........some big laughs!
Master Carpenter and I were FINALLY able to drive out to Tennessee and meet our new Granddaughter, Giada.
She will be 3 months old on May 3rd.
Of course she is the most adorable, beautiful, precious, little baby girl anywhere.......Grandma's can say these things.
We had a wonderful couple of days "bonding" !!!!! Fun...Fun....Fun.....and...it was great seeing Carla and Bobby also!!!!
Naturally, I took Giada and showed her a fabulous "ladies" Southern restaurant that she now is looking forward to enjoying having lunch with Grandma some day down the road. We also did a lot of shopping !!!! Did manage to find some necessary items for her wardrobe!!!