'50's Sense

Lidda Durazo
Photo by Angelina Cornidez, Angelina's Photography

Matching the kitchen cabinetry and countertop
materials in a built-in buffet offers a cohesive
look along with storage.

New maple cabinets, a marble accent mural and
quartz countertops replaced the original kitchen finishes.
White marble subway tiles enhance the modern
look of the new kitchen.

The color and pattern of the drapes and area rug
pop against the neutral tones of the furniture.
The dining area blends rustic wood and upholstered
chairs with a touch of retro glamour through the
chandelier and mirror.

 Porcelain tile was placed on the shower walls.
Marble tiles set in a chevron pattern add interest
to the flooring.

 A new vanity and a large mirror add the
finishing touches to the bathroom remodel. 

By Romi Carrell Wittman
Photography by Charlie Blair

Tucked away in the middle of an otherwise bustling part of midtown is a quiet neighborhood where the residents know each other by name. Young families, working professionals and retired couples live alongside one another in pretty, red brick homes that evoke a bygone era. Poets Square, so named because each of the streets is named after a famous wordsmith, is an enclave of 550 homes built in the 1950s.

Interior designer Lidda Durazo was drawn to the neighborhood because of its central location and historic charm. She didn’t hold out a lot of hope of buying a home in the area because they tend to sell as soon as they go on the market. A chance drive on a Sunday afternoon changed all that. She spied a home that had just gone on the market and called her Realtor. They viewed the home on Monday and put in an offer that afternoon. Though there were eight offers on the home, Durazo had the winning bid.
Her 1,800-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath home was built in 1954 and was sold by the original owner. Unlike many other houses in the area, aside from an Arizona Room-style patio enclosure, the owner had not remodeled the home. It retained its original footprint, as well as many 1950s-era appliances and fixtures, which Durazo gave to friends and family during the remodel.
After the purchase, the designer knew the home needed a lot of work, both to bring electrical, plumbing and other infrastructure up to modern standards, but also to make it more functional. She didn’t have any grand plan or design inspiration. “It was more of an organic process,” she says. “I wanted to make it comfortable and current, but still true to the neighborhood.”
The first space she tackled was the kitchen. As was typical in the 1950s, the kitchen was tiny and closed off. She opened it up to include the family room, thereby forming a Great Room. She added all new cabinetry, appliances and a generous island, perfect for meals with her two-year-old son.
She kept the stove, which was original to the home, as a memento. It’s in a storage room attached to Durazo’s office, which is located in a separate building, just steps from her back door.
She also corrected some of the issues with the patio enclosure. “When they enclosed the patio, they left the windows in place,” she says, “so there were windows from the family room into the master bathroom.” All the electrical, plumbing, ductwork, and heating and cooling systems were updated. A vintage wall heater — complete with black, smoky marks on the wall — was removed. She had the ceiling raised in the hallway and added recessed lights.
The master bedroom was reconfigured to create a walk-in closet, and the master bath was remodeled to include a rain shower with pebble floor, as well as a solar tube to bring in natural light. She also had the windows from the master to the family room walled up.
In order to maintain her budget, Durazo made some trade-offs. Rather than using the 12-x-24-inch tile she originally wanted throughout the house, she found 24-inch square tile for half the price. The savings enabled her to get the stainless steel refrigerator she really desired. She did splurge in some areas, like the bathroom tile, which is a gorgeous bone-colored herringbone pattern.
“It comes down to how you use elements and colors,” she says.
Although Durazo didn’t do much to the backyard, she gave the front of the home a makeover because, “It needed some curb appeal.” She added a circular planter with mailbox at the curb, as well as a small brick courtyard that plays off the home’s architectural style. It’s an inviting space that beckons visitors to sit and have a chat.
“I love that it’s my place,” Durazo says. “As an interior designer, you’re always designing for everyone else and you may forget about yourself.”
Durazo’s goal was to create a space that was not just beautiful, but also livable. ”It’s about using your home, not just showing it.”

Lidda Design, liddadesign.com