When Carlos Cordoza sat down to lunch recently, the other diners in the restaurant looked out the windows near their tables and saw only a sign that said “EZ’s.”

But visions of Big Boy were twirling in Cordoza’s head.

“I’d always wanted to have one,” says Cordoza, who had to explain to his lunch companion that EZ’s, at Northwest Highway and Hillcrest, used to be Kip’s, and that the sign used to have the giant, menacingly cute plastic boy known as Big Boy on top.

Good Kip’s karma must have been with the neighborhood resident that day: “I went back to work and looked in the newspaper, and there it was – a two-line ad.”

Cordoza has no way of knowing whether the particular fellow standing guard over the swimming pool is the same one that used to hang out in the neighborhood, but it’s nice to think of him that way.

The rest of Cordoza’s abode, which was featured in Preston Hollow’s 1955 Parade of Homes, is a tribute to the graphic designer’s love of everything ’50s. Well, almost everything.

“Every now and then, a friend will give me something just because it’s from the ’50s. Well…there were lots of different things back then, and some of them were really awful-looking,” he laughs, leaning over to turn down Frank Sinatra’s “It’s Witchcraft.”

“I guess you could say I’m addicted to modern design. And the ’50s were such a hopeful time. Everything was about going to the future, a better life. My mom loved modern. She used to get magazines and show me: ‘Look, look, you can buy a blender with all these buttons.’”

Recently, Cordoza made it a point to track down one of those blenders, a pink one. Almost eight years of educated and meticulous collecting and creating are reflected in his home – a “La Chaise” chair Charles Eames designed in 1948 for the Museum of Modern Art; Harry Bertoia barstools in the dining room; an original headboard in the master bedroom that Cordoza designed in the style of a classic George Nelson 1956 marshmallow sofa; and Ericofons (the first telephone design that included both earpiece and dial mechanism) in just about every color. And that Isamu Noguchi paper lamp.

“It retails for about $800,” Cordoza says, “and I stopped at this yard sale, and there it was. Nervous, I walked up and asked about it and this woman said, ‘Five dollars.’ I couldn’t even breathe, and I guess I looked like I was stalling, because she said, ‘Look, it comes with a cord.’”

In addition to mid-century furnishings and collectibles, Cordoza is also addicted to color.

“Growing up in Guatemala City, the colors were so…bright red, royal blue walls. There was a guy in our neighborhood, Don Armando, who painted the front of his house a different color every December. As kids, we’d look forward to it – seeing what color the house was going to be.”

Obviously inspired, Cordoza has applied an Armando-esque treatment to the interior of his home.

“I can change the color of my living room anytime I want. I rotate the furniture, and the walls are covered with panels that I just switched out. Sometimes I think people here are afraid of color. When I think about having just one color to look at for years in a room…I don’t think I could live like that.

“I’m an artist, and my home is my gallery.”


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