Red, white and “Coca-Cola” greet Norm and Sherry Smith of rural Perry when they head to their basement for some relaxation, games or entertainment.
They created the game room in the ranch-style house they built when their first two boys were young.
“The boys (all grown now) were young, and I didn’t want to be tied to beer-company memorabilia,” Norm says. “I wasn’t really tied to Coke memorabilia, but I like it.”
He eventually found a Coca-Cola cooler with four bins covered with roll tops, bought it and installed it in the basement. That helped create the core of the room. The family built a counter on top of the cooler and found stools to place in front of it. Light-colored wood box car siding was used for the cabinets behind the counter.
“Unfortunately I don’t know the history behind the cooler, other than it is a 1950s cooler,” Norm says. The four-roller top was the largest Coca Cola cooler made.
“The cooler worked when I brought it home, but the electricity it uses to run is tremendous, so we don’t keep it turned on. We just use it for storage,” he says.
Another piece of the décor was created as a 4-H project made from the back end of a 1957 Dodge, done by brothers Kirk and Jan.
The project was making a couch out of the Dodge, Norm says. They found the car in a junk yard in Redfield, and used a Sawzall tool to cut the back end of the car off. They took the car section to a body shop and had it painted red and white in true Coca-Cola colors. They built the seat out of plywood and had it upholstered before adding it to the car. The resulting couch has electricity run to the two tail lights so they light up. The couch looks like the back end of a car coming out of the wall.
The boys showed the car couch at both the Boone County Fair and the Iowa State Fair, winning purple ribbons at both.
To be fair, there is a smattering of Pepsi memorabilia as well, indicating a progression toward finishing another portion of the basement in a Pepsi theme.
“Pepsi memorabilia is harder to come by and more expensive,” Norm says. “I think Coca-Cola just did a lot more work in marketing.”