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The Retro Retreat: Jeni’s Interview

Jeni Gray’s Retro Retreat.
Yesterday we introduced you to Jeni Gray, her blog and her home. She is the writer and publisher of the blog “Huckleberry Hollow” and owner of a lovely mobile home. Her way of life is simple and environmentally friendly. She is wise in the ways of the self sufficient and her homestead proves it. We interviewed Jeni via email and she answered our question openly and in her usual warm tone. Here you go, enjoy:
Model, Year, Manufacturer and Size:  1972 Port Royal by Commodore.  12×64 with 9×25 addition.

The winter wonderland of Jeni Gray.

Location:  Foothills of the Olympic Mountains, Washington State, small home owner association. Lot borders on a greenbelt and state forest land, fairly private with only one close neighbor.

Years lived in:  6. I am the third owner in this location (see the post A Refreshingly Radiant Retro Retreat)
My favorite style:  Cottage garden / private cabin feel.
My favorite room:  The part of the addition with all the windows, off the living room.  It’s my office and creative space.
Jeni’s creative space and favorite room.

My biggest challenge:  Has been my budget and manpower.  It’s just me doing all this on a small income.  I would love to do a larger scale remodel.

What friends say:  Surprising to me, everyone loves it and thinks it’s adorable.
Proudest DIY moment:  Have to be the kitchen cabinet demolition.  Learning to use the reciprocating saw, and figuring out how to detach the failing hardware from the ceiling.

Jeni’s kitchen before the remodel.
Jeni’s kitchen after the remodel.

Biggest Indulgence:  Oddly, it was dirt.  I ordered a whole dump truck load of garden soil my second year here.  You just cannot garden here without imported soil.  The soil here is very rocky and acidic.

Best advice:  See the big picture, be rational about how you’ll invest in the upgrades.  Also, if it’s a single wide and nearly vintage, have a roof-over structure built to code, it will serve to be your most valuable investment to protect the mobile.
The Retro retreat Roof over and woodland surroundings.

 Sources of materials and supplies:  Recycled building supply places, local lumber store, thrift shops.

As you can see, Jeni has done extensive work on her home. It had great bones, she simply completed it by adding her own personal touch by painting and updating. She wasn’t scared to try and she succeeded remarkably.

I think that’s where a lot of people go wrong with mobile homes. They buy one and are scared to change the wall color and add their own touches. It is much easier to paint older walls than brand new ones, I understand. However, you will continue to live in someone else’s idea of decor until you make the leap to give your home your own personal touch. If you are in the market for a new home, you can always order the walls sheet-rocked so that you are the designer and decorator. Don’t be scared, you can always paint over!

Homes are what we make them and what you allow them to become. If you never touch those walls, never try your favorite color on them, you’ll never know the drastic changes it can bring. The pride that you get from knowing that you picked that perfect color and it worked beautifully is just as fulfilling as enjoying the beautiful room it created.

Jeni Gray, thank you for allowing me to feature your Retro Retreat. When I first saw it, I knew I had to share it with our readers. Your self sufficiency, your do-it-yourself attitude and your independence was simply the icing on the cake. You are truly a pioneer and your blog, Huckleberry Hollow, is a jewel. Thank you for caring about our world, for the beautiful poetry you write and for well written posts you share!

And thank you, dear readers, for reading Mobile Home Living. I appreciate you all very much. I love getting your via emails and comments, it makes my day to read them. I have always said and will continue to say “You won’t met a nicer bunch of people than those living in a mobile home.”

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  1. Me too! I have a deck and a back porch but not as nice as these! Ahh,
    I love to dream of what my home will look like
    so much!

  2. SOOO Sorry I called you Nina (I don't even know I how my brain even
    interpreted I had already hit send before I realized what
    I did, it's time for bed for sure..My apologies, Diana! Thank you so
    much for commenting!

    On Sun, May 20, 2012 at 2:55 AM, Crystal Adkins
    > Hi Nina, Jeni is definitely a woman I look up to immensely. Her love
    > of the environment and her sustainable lifestyle is so admirable.
    > Thank you so much for reading and commenting. So glad to have you!

  3. Hi Nina, Jeni is definitely a woman I look up to immensely. Her love
    of the environment and her sustainable lifestyle is so admirable.
    Thank you so much for reading and commenting. So glad to have you!

  4. Thank you Shirlee, If you want me to send a copy of it to you just let
    me know…I cropped it from an old vintage ad I bought..I have lots of
    old vintage ads and I plan on sharing them one!

  5. I keep forgetting to tell you that I like the new header with all the vintage trailers. The red and white one in the upper left corner is so cute.

    Have a wonderful day!

  6. Yep, we call it a roof just a new roof! Thanks so much
    Shirlee, I appreciate you commenting and reading MHL!

  7. Love the craft space with all the windows!

    My Mom's little house has a roof over (or whatever it's called). The previous owner did it and extended it to include a front porch, carport and back porch.

    Have a great day!

  8. It has been for me too! I love it! Thanks Jeni for letting em do this!
    Your a wonderful person and I appreciate you very much!

  9. Jeni is an artist and intrepid creator. Her home is a reflection of her talents.

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Crystal Adkins

Crystal Adkins

Crystal Adkins created Mobile Home Living in 2011 after buying a 1978 single wide and searching online for mobile home remodeling ideas but finding very little. Today, it's the most popular resource in America for mobile home information and inspiration and has been visited over 40 million times.