Lost in the detail: Small items on the Lakewood Home Tour have big stories

It’s a fall tradition 39 years in the making. The Lakewood Home Festival draws neighbors every year to explore unique homes, learn about local history through architecture and perhaps even glean a few decorating ideas. This year, the 39th annual home tour is full of items that offer a glimpse into the interesting lives of local families: a memento from the 2013 Boston Marathon, family heirlooms and a collection of antique fans. Here’s the backstory behind these hidden treasures, so you don’t miss them during the rush.

In with the old

Photo by Rasy Ran
Photo by Rasy Ran

Lisa and John Moreno love history and all things old, which makes them a perfect match for their historic home at 6915 Lakewood. They’ve learned everything they can about the original owners, Rose and Benjamin Ryan. The sunroom in the front of their house is called “The Rose Room” because Benjamin designed it for Rose. The Morenos believe Benjamin designed — and possibly even forged — the wrought iron fence himself, and the room still contains the original light fixture. The room also contains an old radio made from an early plastic called Bakelite, and a couple of fans from the Morenos’ 1920s fan collection. “We kind of like old mechanical things,” John explains. “What we found out is that there are so many different types of old fans. Those two in the office are really cool because they’re coin operated. So you’d check into a hotel and they didn’t have air-conditioning, so you’d drop in a nickel in there to get it to work. It’d go for like 15 minutes or something.”

Girls and dolls

Photo by Rasy Ran
Photo by Rasy Ran

In the upstairs bedroom of 6915 Lakewood sits Lisa Moreno’s dollhouse, which she built to hold antique doll furniture from the 1920s. “The furniture is from John’s aunt. It’s what she played with when she was a little girl,” Lisa says. “Her grandfather built a [doll]house that was almost exactly like this, but it was completely decrepit, so I built a dollhouse for the furniture.” The Morenos also have cabinets that display toys and books that were passed down from their parents.

Family frameworks

Photo by Rasy Ran
Photo by Rasy Ran

The stunning photos on display in the living room and throughout the house at 6425 Blanch add color and depth to the modern décor. East Dallas photographer Jim Myers, who is the father of homeowner Meridith Zidell, took the photos. At the end of the hallway is a photo of a man holding a gun with several barrels going various directions. “It was supposed to be the cover of Texas Monthly,” Zidell explains, “but the next day [the famous American singer] Selena was shot, and so they pulled that as a cover because obviously it wasn’t very sensitive, and I believe they ran a photo of Selena on the cover of Texas Monthly instead.” Another giant photo in Zidell’s bedroom is both eye-catching and deeply personal. “This was taken in 1977,” she says. “It’s our lake house outside of Philadelphia, Miss. It’s a lake house my family owns, and my granddad left it to all his grandchildren when he passed away. I grew up going there with my cousins, so it has a lot of family memories. We still go there twice a year.”

Remembering the race

Photo by Rasy Ran
Photo by Rasy Ran

In the upstairs office of Jennifer and Sam Polak’s house at 6655 Lakewood hangs a row of more than two-dozen metals. The couple has been collecting them over the years from competing in full- and half-marathons. In 2006, Sam ran his first marathon at White Rock Lake, where he also trains. Since then he has run marathons in Chicago, New York, Washington D.C. and Boston — to name a few. In more recent years, Jennifer picked up the activity as well. Beside the metals is a frame that contains Sam’s number and photos from the Boston Marathon in 2013, which he finished about half-an-hour before the homemade bomb exploded and killed three people and wounded at least 264 others. “I was sitting on Boylston [Street], and I heard the boom and then looked and saw dust and debris,” Sam remembers. “Then the second one, but no one around me really panicked or anything because we didn’t know what it was. Then we started seeing police officers running towards there, and then SWAT. At that point we were like, ‘OK, something bad is happening.’” The royal blue and yellow metal from that race hangs with the rest of the Polaks’ metals.

Keeping it in the family

Photo by Rasy Ran
Photo by Rasy Ran

As a little girl, Jennifer Polak loved to play with the spinning wheel from 1882 that’s now displayed in her house at 6655 Lakewood — although the wheel has one less peg now. “I ate one of the pegs as a kid,” she admits. She inherited the antique wheel from her mom’s side of the family, which is also where she received the old lace tablecloth that hangs in her dining room. Her husband, Sam, has some old family heirlooms as well; namely, an old sword and bandana from his great-grandfather who was a colonel in the United States Army and fought in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War. “One of the Filipinos was captured during the war, and my great-grandfather got his bandana and sword,” he says. “He got them in 1898 and brought them back to the U.S. and gave them to my dad.”

Lakewood home tour

When: Nov. 14-15
Where: Lakewood (6425 Blanch)
How much: $15-$50
More info: lakewoodhomefestival.com

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.
Written By
More from Brittany Nunn

The whole Lot

No one is on the fence about The Lot. Neighbors either love...
Read More