On the outside, the mid-century modern home looks like any other on the block. But the curvy black-and-white checkered walkway in front hints at the creativity inside.
Some neighbors even walk up and knock on the door just to sneak a peek.
“I always tell people, if you want to know what the inside of my head looks like, come see my house,” says Justin Crake, who owns the home with Kyle Schmid and Wolfe Kennedy.
The biggest element here is color. Shades of blue, green and yellow gush from the dining and living room floors but in a clean, square design. Circular orange patterns trickle down the hallway, and Crake’s large, dynamic anime paintings line the walls of the entire house.
“It’s vibrant. It makes you feel happy,” he says.
The guys remodeled the house themselves, leaving no trace of its brutal backstory. Built in 1959, the home appeared in the Dallas Morning News as “the house of the future”. The original owner sold it to someone who then rented it out, and the last tenants completely trashed the place, Schmid says. Overgrown landscaping covered the exterior, and the swimming pool had turned black. They left behind carpet stains throughout the house along with an overwhelming stench. Schmid says it took four 40-yard dumpsters to transport all the trash inside. As for that foul smell — a dead possum turned up in the master bedroom closet.
“This was the worst house on the block,” he says. “We just saw what it could be.”
First, Schmid knocked down the walls surrounding the dining room, opening everything up so that the kitchen, dining and living rooms meet. After ripping up the carpet, he painstakingly painted the refurbished concrete floors.
“The bones of the house were great,” he says. “No cracked foundation.”
Schmid and Kennedy run their own landscaping company from home, JnK Landscapes, serving Preston Hollow and Highland Park. So they know a thing or two about design. The backyard has a tropical feel with banana trees and a now squeaky-clean pool canopied by a huge, old tree in the center.
“I wanted it to feel like we’re in Palm Springs,” Schmid says.
The interior and exterior of the house merge through large windows, lighting up the house at night. You can clearly see some of Crake’s giant artwork from the road.
By day, Crake works in the corporate world for Bank of America. But he spends much of his free time creating vivid anime art. He has done this since age 15, growing up in South Africa.
“Japanese mangas came to South Africa long before it came to America,” Crake says. “It’s so simple, but it’s beautiful. It captures so much in so little.”
For Crake, every image must be striking with extreme facial expressions, action and, of course, lots of color. In fact, the guys based the entire design of the house on one anime painting — a close-up figure of a man’s face with orange and green undertones. It hangs near the kitchen, which has green walls and orange cabinetry. Only the vintage 1950s oven remains the same for an interesting contrast to the ultra-modern home.
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