Tortilla Flats w/Casa Blanca & Los Arboles Complex

Home of Melba & Tom York
306 Myrtle

Retirement signals a time to downsize one’s home and possessions, but not when Tom and Melba York purchased their current home four years ago. Their previous home in Fulton was on the smaller side, and Melba found hosting family get-togethers with multiple children was not working out as she wanted. She spotted a For Sale sign on the eye-catching complex of buildings known as Tortilla Flats and asked to see it. It was love at first sight for her, particularly when she found out “It was built the same year I was built in 1946.”  Convincing husband Tom took more time; six months later, he agreed to look at it. Once inside, he fell under its spell as well and was convinced.  First there was the very private and colorful New Orleans-style courtyard not visible from the street. Second was his faith in Melba’s ability to design and decorate the home to their tastes, having witnessed her two previous renovations. He reasoned her third effort would be even better. The deal was sealed when Melba promised his office space would be upgraded to the best room in the house, the premier corner room with a bay view. The plan was to save as much of the original house as possible, particularly the colorful tile floors discovered in several rooms under layers of carpet and linoleum. An interior decorator herself, Melba proceeded to pack the home with memories and treasures such as the wood cabinet of her grandmother’s Sears pump organ, or a beach scene painted by one of her children. Paintings by local artists Dinah Bowman and Carol Koutnik, 2005 Poster Artist for the Rockport Art Festival, fill the walls.  The concrete construction of exterior and interior walls made hanging difficult. Tom says he went through three sets of concrete drill bits.  Despite it all, Tom and Melba say it was worth it, “This is home now.”

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Photos by Stephen Fisher.