Monday, May 31, 2010

# 9.........BASE HOUSING

We Finally Arrived!!!

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!!!!!


  1. I know where that Map is and you can't have it back! It is the center of our maps collection that will soon be in our guest bedroom.

  2. I can't imagine how hard it was to take down all the contact paper! I guess it was easier than wallpaper? That's a chore! It's funny that I don't remember this house either. I will remember the first purchased house though!! You look good Mom!! Love the robe - the cake looks delicious! maggie has the sofa in her room...it's been a great sofa all this time!

  3. It's OK Trouble.....I am glad you and Bobby have the map. Just glad to know it has a good home!

  4. The contact paper just peeled off! Don't you think we all need new towel robes? Let's have Erica make some that match .....
    Yes, the cake was good. That is THE icing my Mom made. It was absolutely the BEST.

  5. I want that clock on the wall and the big key! Keys are very popular right now in fashion accessories... why not home decor!! And big framed clocks with ornate/clean frames...LOVE!

    Here's a couple NEW examples I found!



    and a towel dress.... over the weekend I was at the lake, and when the sun went behind the clouds, boy did I want a BIG towel snuggie... but a towel dress would have worked too!

    This is another fun post! Love the photos and evolution of your talents!

  6. Dear DG...Very easy to make the towel robe. Two large towels: one as the back and one as thefront in an "empire" style, then one sidewise cut in the middle to go over your head the ends being the sleeves. Need VERY heavy, large towels to make it lux!!!!

    Have no idea where the key or the clock are...........things just moved around, changed and ended up in my design heaven!

  7. Remember the nightly cakes? Was that in Tampa?

  8. Yes, that was Tampa....coming up in future episodes.

  9. I need about 12 of those robes please. :)

  10. I'll get right on those 12 robes!!!!

  11. Patti.....you said I looked good. Remember DD that I was 27!!!! That's hard to believe...