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Metro Station provides perfect family getaway
Couple cherishes collectible cars, cashes in on comforts of ‘condo’
By By Alica P. Thiele
Challenger reporter

February 25. 2014 10:50AM
When Roger and Cheryl VanNoort want to get away from it all, they hop in their car at their home near Aspen Park and buzz across town to Redwood Boulevard.

There, in a strip mall that includes Dan Andeson Construction and Performance Press, a small sign that says "Metro Station" welcomes them.

"This is our lake cabin," Roger VanNoort says as he sits in what used to be a reception area and showroom of a contractor's office. These days, the showcase kitchen cupboards are not just for show. They hold pots, pans and dishes that the VanNoorts use for entertaining. They had 95 guests for Roger's 60th birthday party, for example, and they've hosted many holiday meals.

But the kitchen area is just the first room in a spot that includes two dens, a full bathroom and a garage that holds a few of the couple's prized possessions.

Cheryl's 1956 two-tone Nash Metropolitan looks smart and sassy amid a backdrop of vintage oil station signs. The vanity plates say SEWCUTE, a nod to Cheryl's Custom Upholstery, which she runs from her home.

Nearby, Cheryl's 1933 Ford pickup, with plates that spell LILDRLN, sits ready to peel out. It's no exaggeration. Roger tells of a time when Cheryl did leave all tail draggers in the dust.

Roger's 1935 Chevy Sedan, license RKNROLL, is a deep purple that Roger says looks different colors in different types of light. The interior has dark purple seat covers to match the exterior. Cheryl did the upholstery on all the vehicles and much of the furniture in the place.

When company comes to visit, the VanNoorts move the cars outside and set up tables in the large back area. With the kitchen, two dens and the back, there's plenty of room.

And if there weren't, well, visitors just have to go upstairs, where they'd find another large room with pinball machines, sitting booths, a pool table and a big screen TV with a dozen or so chairs set up in theater fashion.

When not watching movies, the couple's four grandchildren, ages 4 to 14, use the TV to play Wii.
"We bought (the Wii) for the grandkids, but we have more fun with it," Cheryl said.

One wall of the room is filled with M&M toys. The couple started with just one, an M&M candy driving a hot rod, and the collection blossomed from there. They collected pieces and received some as gifts.

"Friends of ours collect them too, so we have to be one up on them," Cheryl said.

The VanNoorts are nuts for collections. One of the dens is the Elvis room. The bathroom is adorned with Route 66 memorabilia. At the house, the VanNoorts have a room inspired by the Wizard of Oz.

"Somehow, we've themed our whole lives," Roger said.

Now semi-retired, Roger spent a career working at EROS Data Center. About five years ago, their son, then a Realtor, helped them find the property, which Roger called a "business condo."

"It had the right bones," he said, and the couple fixed it up to suit their tastes, which includes lots of vintage and memorabilia, especially from the 1950s. In that, they were inspired by good friends Harold and Carol Geist of rural Brandon, Roger said.

The Geists are well-known in the area for living the '50s, including their everyday clothes and hairstyles. They have a 1950s room in their home and have inspired other friends as well, such as Ivan and Cheryl Card of Brandon. The Cards, who live on the same block as the VanNoorts, turned their basement into a hot spot of 1950s items, notably a collection of jukeboxes that Ivan restored.

A sign in Metro Station sums things up for the VanNoorts, and perhaps their friends as well: "Some people live to dream. We choose to live our dream."

Cheryln VanNoort of Brandon stands with her restored 1957 Metropoloitan. Van Noort, an upholsterer by trade, got vanity license plates for the car with the message, "SEWCUTE." Photo by Alica P. Thiele

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