A team of designers tackled a Foothills home remodel, resulting in a spectacular new look.

What separates truly talented designers from the rest of the “wannabes” is their ability to see beyond the surface. They look past the wonky floor plan, out-of-date paint and worn furnishings to envision what could be. Lidda Durazo, owner of Lidda Design, brought her distinct vision to a 1980s Southwest contemporary in the heart of the Catalina Foothills.

The four-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath split-level was a proverbial diamond in the rough. With only one owner, it retained the hallmarks of the era in which it was built, including a bleached tan stucco exterior, many small, dark-tiled rooms, and a kitchen hidden at the back of the house.

After seeing the property, Durazo immediately sensed an incredible opportunity to design a truly stunning modern home. “We knew we needed to convert it into a clean contemporary,” she says. “I wanted to bring warmth and to create something different.”

Durazo and her husband Shawn Hunter, owner of Real American Dream Homes, purchased the property with the goal of renovating, then selling it. “I was yearning for a project where we could do what we wanted,” she notes.

Using advanced 3D rendering software, Durazo and her lead designer, Jessica Real, completely re-envisioned the home with a focus on clean, minimalist lines that blend seamlessly with the property’s surroundings. The result is a floor plan and color palette that are modern and bold, yet comfortable and livable.

The exterior of the house was enhanced with natural cedar treatments, which add warmth and beauty. At the main entrance, a cedar-lined feature wall pops against the gray stucco façade, creating an inviting welcome. These elements continue in the backyard, where they can be found in the patio overhangs and exterior staircase. The gray palette is continued with the pavers that surround the home’s swimming pool.

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“Designing an exterior living space that functions and flows is as important as the interior,” Durazo says. “We transformed every square inch of the exterior to create outdoor living, dining and entertaining space. Lots of plantings and green space, as well as multiple levels of shaded living space, complete the outdoor experience.”

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Inside, the reconfigured floor plan maximizes every inch of the 2,828-square-foot split-level footprint. A stunning high-end kitchen serves as the heart of the home, while the formal dining room provides an exquisite space for entertaining. Durazo dispensed with a formal living room, opting instead for a more relaxed, open family room.

The kitchen, once cramped and secluded at the rear of the home, was moved to the front. Durazo opened up the space, making a more functional and breathable flow between the kitchen and family room. She then installed two long rectangular windows above the kitchen sink to frame the exquisite foothills views and continue the clean lines of the exterior. From the kitchen, a turn of the head reveals a virtually 180-degree view of the city to the south, as well as the Rincon Mountains to the east. Oversized windows and sliders in the family room enhance this view and provide abundant natural light throughout both spaces.

In renovating the kitchen, the designers considered everyday living as well as entertaining. Although the expansive T-shaped island features a cooktop, a cherry wood leaf bisects the Soho Quartz countertop, creating a perfect place for guests to gather. “No matter where you sit, you can see the landscaping and everyone in the space. You can easily entertain and communicate there,” Durazo says.

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For the interior decorating of the home, the team focused on one wow factor for each room. There is plenty of visual interest throughout the home. In the kitchen, large teardrop chandeliers make the room come alive. The brick herringbone fireplace façade in the downstairs media room immediately draws the eye. Silver-gray wallpaper and shiplap make the master bedroom feel like a luxury retreat. A sphere-like glass rod chandelier in the dining room looks almost otherworldly. From unique tile backsplashes, to marble floors, to cabinetry and floating shelves in unexpected places, there are gorgeous surprises to be found in every room.

Reflecting on the project, Real says, “It was really a lot of work, but so much fun.”

Durazo adds that it was exciting to collaborate on a project where anything was possible. She hopes the end result highlights the unique vision of her company.


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