Retro Redux

As Tulsa’s Mid-century Modern neighborhood of Lortondale is experiencing a resurgence of renovations, the owner of Brandilee Designs purchased a three-bedroom, one-bath home in disrepair with the idea of flipping the property. But as she contemplated the nearly 60-year-old home’s potential, her goals changed. “I thought this would be a great project that we could do together as a family,” says Brandilee Designs owner Brandi Hezinger.

Hezinger started her career as an artist, then blended in her other passion: creative, quality construction. So in less than two months and with a limited budget her company, Soyaz Construction Inc., transformed the rundown property into a four-bedroom, two-bath family retreat. “The neighbors couldn’t believe how fast we got it done,” she says.

Hezinger modified the original floor plan to ?accommodate her young family’s lifestyle. “And I wanted the ‘50s vibe, but more up to date,” she adds. The result is a fabulous retro redo, filled with charm and convenience.

White Venetian plaster walls make the minimalistic art “just pop.” Furniture is a blend of vintage and reproduction Mid-century pieces. “I love searching retro shops for that special find,” says Hezinger. Her favorite local spot is The Retro Den, located in Tulsa.

Original hardwood parquet flooring was exposed and given an updated dark stain. The goal to replace old kitchen tile with matching parquet proved a challenge. “Parquet has been discontinued for years,” Hezinger explains. “By the time I located and had the product shipped in, I probably would have doubled the cost I budgeted.”

The pass-through between the living room and kitchen was enlarged and turned into a bar with new quartz countertops. “I wanted to make the wall look like a piece of freestanding furniture, so I added texture with a Mid-century Modern wallpaper made of sugar cane,” she says.

Existing kitchen cabinets were utilized but updated with frosted glass doors, white eco-quartz countertops and 1950s hardware. The stove and classic aqua refrigerator are from the European manufacturer Smeg.

The garage was converted into a master suite with a sliding glass door leading to a patio retreat. “The biggest challenge inside was trying to figure how to do the master bath with my limited budget,” says Hezinger. “I had to figure out how to put a shower, sink, washer, dryer and hot water tank all into a very small space. After recalling some trips to Europe, I decided to go with an endless shower. The sink, the toilet, everything is meant to get wet.”

The overgrown front exterior was given a facelift with a 1950s color palette and a new front door. The original driveway was relocated from the now-converted garage and leads to a nearby detached garage. Complementing the architecture of the house and adding an interesting curb appeal, Hezinger used blocks of concrete broken up by ribbons of grass for a stylized driveway and sidewalk. New landscaping also includes a unique sculpture that uses an existing tree stump as the base.

In keeping with her creative, budget-driven renovation, locally purchased Italian shipping crates were dismantled and crafted into a pergola, shading the family’s favorite backyard gathering spot. The “Made in Italy” stamps are kept visible for interest, and posts are set in ceramic pots filled with concrete. The crate material was also used horizontally and painted to create a dramatic screen for the home’s utility boxes.

Hezinger worked diligently to preserve the integrity and nostalgia of her Lortondale property. “I wanted a place where my children and I could rest and relax,” she concludes. “And with minimal furniture plus living with only the necessities, it is so surprising how much easier it makes our life.”