This Formerly “Dark Gray” 1977 Austin House Is Now Colorful and Bold, Thanks to a Fun Reno

published Apr 19, 2023

This Formerly “Dark Gray” 1977 Austin House Is Now Colorful and Bold, Thanks to a Fun Reno

published Apr 19, 2023
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Name: Nayeli Crossdale; husband, Nate Lopez; and our dog, Bella
Location: Austin, Texas
Size: 1500 square feet
Type of home: House built in 1977
Years lived in: 5 years, owned

“When Nate and I began our home search, we didn’t really have a list of what exactly we were looking for. We knew that we wanted to be close to the city and to our favorite parks, restaurants, and bars, and that a big yard for our dog would be a plus,” begins Nayeli Crossdale, who is a visual designer with Indeed. “When we walked into our house, everything just felt right. It was a 1977 build with good bones, the location was perfect, and the corner lot offered an ample amount of outdoor space. I loved the vaulted ceiling and how the living room flowed into the kitchen and dining area. I couldn’t help but envision what our future looked like hosting friends and family in this house.”

“There were already several offers when we put ours in, and our realtor suggested we write a letter,” Nayeli continues. “We told the seller we were buying the house for our dog and attached a photo of her. To our surprise, they accepted, and it’s been our home ever since.”

Apartment Therapy Survey

My style: Eclectic, colorful, lived-in.

Inspiration: A lot of my inspiration comes from the places I’ve lived. I grew up moving around a lot and was always inspired by the people I met and how they designed their homes.

As a kid I was surrounded by a lot of colors at home and when visiting my family in Mexico and Panama. When I moved back to Texas as a child, my family’s home incorporated a lot of that color with elements of the southwest. When I moved overseas to Germany, that style evolved a bit to incorporate some of that modern-but-still-cozy Scandinavian vibe.

I never really followed one type of design aesthetic. I’m always drawn to mixing patterns, textures, and bright colors. I like to tell people that I tend to skew towards design choices that remind me of “home,” and I’ve had a lot of those. I’m a maximalist at times, and minimal at others, but always aim to make my space feel bold and energetic. Since Nate and I have become fully remote at our jobs, we spend a lot of time at home these days, and, above all else, I want to make sure my design choices leave us with a cozy yet functional place that we actually want to spend time in.

Favorite element: If I had to choose my favorite element, it would have to be the pink bed frame in the guest bedroom. My mom found it at a flea market in Germany and it’s probably over a hundred years old. I remember when she brought it home, it was the early 2000s and me, being a teenager at the time, thought it would be super uncool to have something so pink in my bedroom. Now as an adult, I’m obsessed with the color, the velvet applique, and its overall whimsical style. I knew I had to bring it into my home and design the bedroom around it. I wanted to create a space that felt like a fun boutique hotel or something out of a Wes Anderson film. It’s a very special and unique piece that I plan on keeping forever.

Biggest challenge: The biggest challenge when we first moved in was brightening up the space. All the walls and ceiling were painted the same dark gray color, and there were layers of thick dark paint that cast shadows throughout the house. We immediately went to work by removing all the popcorn ceilings, removing layers and layers of paint as well as the dark vinyl flooring. We skim coated all the walls and swapped out the front door with something that would allow for more natural light.

We also gutted our kitchen, which was wall-to-wall dark cabinetry that barely shut or stayed in place. We replaced that with a bit of open shelving, added the white subway tile, and chose a simple white cabinet option from Lowe’s that increased the amount of storage space and instantly brightened the room. This was a process that took us months to complete, but it was all worth it. The natural light bounces off all the updated surfaces making our home feel much brighter and cozier than before.

Proudest DIY: The guest bathroom was a fun project. One of my favorite bars here in Austin, Kitty Cohen’s, has this amazing flamingo wallpaper in their bathroom, and I always knew I wanted to incorporate it into ours. The bathroom space is small, and was quite dark prior to us adding the window, so when designing, I wanted to create a bathroom space that was fun and functional without it feeling cluttered. The peel-and-stick wallpaper added a fun pop of color, and I wanted to create a nice contrast with the bungalow blue tiles. I absolutely love how it turned out! The style might not be for everyone, but it feels like I’m on a fun tropical vacation every time I step into the space.





  • Blue Sofa + Ottoman Albany Park
  • Accent Bamboo ChairsThrifted
  • Rattan Coffee Table — Thrifted
  • Record Console — Marketplace
  • Striped Area Rug
  • Brass Planter — Thrifted
  • Rattan Rack — Thrifted
  • Modular Shelf — Thrifted
  • Fireplace Mirror — Thrifted
  • Various Bud Vases — Anthropologie (discontinued)
  • Rice Paper Pendant Light — Vakkerlight
  • Various Books — Thrifted/Various Bookstores


  • Vintage Rattan Dining Table — @Urban Goods in San Antonio
  • Vase — Thrifted
  • Pink Chair — Thrifted
  • Gold Hanging Planter — Thrifted
  • Starburst Mounted Mirror — Home Goods
  • Linen Curtains — Quince


  • Small Lion Planter — Thrifted
  • Green Soap Dispenser — Amazon
  • Pink Vintage Runner — Thrifted
  • Fruit Bowl — Gift
  • Dish Towel — Anthropologie
  • Sven Kettle — Crate & Barrel
  • Hand Stamped Mugs — Hayneedle
  • Various Ceramic Dishes/Mugs — Thrifted


  • Brass Wall Sconce — Lowes
  • Pink Bed — Flea Market Find
  • Side Tables — Marketplace
  • Curtains — Home Goods
  • Wall Art — Ana Clerici and Ana Leovy
  • All Wall Mirrors — Thrifted
  • Chair — Marketplace
  • Small Wooden Table — Marketplace
  • Pink Oblong Pillow — Target (discontinued)
  • Black Clock — Home Goods
  • Wooden Tray — Thrifted
  • Rug — Wayfair


  • Bed Frame — Thuma
  • Headboard — DIY by Nate
  • Wall Art above bed — Etsy Wallpaper I Framed
  • Side Tables — Marketplace
  • Chair — Thrifted
  • Dresser — Marketplace
  • Rug — Wayfair


  • Stand-Up Desks — Flexispot
  • Vintage Rugs — Thrifted
  • Green Armchair — Thrifted
  • Curtains — By Mom

Thanks, Nayeli!

This tour’s responses and photos were edited for length/size and clarity.
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