The Crawford Home – Where Creativity and Culture Collide
Metallic ceiling paint. Lime green walls. Yellow kitchen cupboards. Bright red curtains. Tattoo art murals. Furniture in every color. These are just a few of the tastefully shocking design elements found inside the Crawford’s historic Spanish-style home.
Over the past 10 years, Holly and Travis Crawford have devoted countless hours painting, decorating, and personalizing every square inch of their 1933 Visalia home. The couple’s efforts, however, are more than just a means for achieving a vibrant aesthetic; it’s a way for them to spend quality time together as a couple. From handmade furniture pieces to DIY painting projects, Travis and Holly have turned their home into their creative outlet.
“It’s fun for us because it’s how we spend time together,” said Travis. “We enjoy it. We’ll turn the radio on, and we’ll spend days on end painting or working on a project together.”
Shortly after the Crawfords were married, it didn’t take long for Holly to discover her husband’s natural talent for building furniture. With her creativity and his construction abilities, they worked as a team to ll their home with custom, handcrafted furniture, including coffee tables, end tables, night stands, and dining tables.
“Travis came from a construction family where they all learned how to build things early on,” said Holly. “Once I gured out he could do that, I would give him an idea, and if I could explain it well enough, he was really good at executing it. He is so handy and his stuff is beautiful; I like it better than anything I could buy.”
The first piece Travis ever built for Holly was a square coffee table, accented with metal embellishments and a Talavera and Terracotta tile surface. Fast forward 14 years, and that inaugural table is still the focal point of their living room, having endured years of their children using it as their personal “stage.”
Many of the other handcrafted furniture items contribute their own unique element to the home’s original Spanish design. One of Holly’s favorite pieces is a long, teal dining table that sits on their front patio. With room for 10 people and a surface made of Terracotta tiles, the table is so heavy it had to be built in place.
“I’ve probably built somewhere around 40 tables,” said Travis. “Sometimes we give them away as presents or even exchange them for things like babysitting services. But it feels good to have something that you build for your house. You have a sense of accomplishment with it.”
The prevailing Spanish influence found throughout the Crawford’s home is rooted deeply in Holly’s heritage, passed down from her mother and grandmother. As early California Spanish settlers, her grandmother’s family arrived in Camarillo, California, on a Spanish land grant. When her grandmother married a rancher and left Camarillo, she moved to Northern Nevada where she raised seven children. Today, her children and many of her grandchildren continue to carry on their family’s Spanish legacy, whether it’s through their home décor or by riding horses.
“My grandmother had great style with her clothes and her house, and my mom is like that, too,” said Holly. “She’s got amazing style and was a fashion designer years ago, so I think this all comes from them. And that influence from my grandmother has been carried through all of us; you see it in my whole family.”
Even when the Crawfords moved into their very first home—a small, Tudor-style house in Visalia—Holly implemented her heritage by painting the walls red in the kitchen and decorating with vibrant Spanish décor and furniture pieces.
“The first house we lived in wasn’t Spanish style, but I decorated it that way because I liked it,” said Holly. “So when we got this house 10 years ago, my stuff fit right in.”
Originally, the Crawfords planned to build on to their Tudor home, but when Travis came across an old Spanish-style house near downtown with plenty of charm, he knew Holly had to have it.
“We got an estimate for how much our add-on would be, but then I found this house,” said Travis. “It had everything on the list that I thought she wanted in a home: a red tile roof, wood floors, Spanish-style architecture, and crystal door knobs.”
Holly fell in love with the Spanish home as soon as she saw it, so they made a quick decision and sold the Tudor home within 10 days. But, as with every old structure, it came with its unforeseen challenges. When Travis and Holly initially viewed the house, the owner— who was an antique dealer—had wall-to-wall furniture, making it difficult to see what the home really looked like inside. Once all of the furniture was moved out and the Crawfords got the keys, Holly experienced a short period of buyer’s remorse as a result of the home’s seemingly dilapidated state.
“When everything was out, I could see that it was pretty beat up,” said Holly. “I walked in and I saw all these things that needed to be fixed, and it was suddenly overwhelming. We had worked really hard on our other house and got it to a point where we liked it, so moving here felt like starting all over again.”
Before Holly could totally second-guess their decision, Travis and his trusty tool belt came to the rescue. Room-by-room, he came up with a solution to fix each problem, such as wires sticking out of the walls, light switches with no purpose, and other damaged or broken fixtures.
While the house had quite a few cosmetic issues, the most architecturally significant aspects remained in outstanding shape. The 1933 home— rumored to be built for one of the Mooney daughters—still had its original wood floors, original tile in the master bathroom, beautiful sturdy walls, 80-year-old handmade roof tiles, and unique arch-domed ceilings.
“There’s so much charm to this house,” said Travis. “These old homes were all custom built to whatever the owner wanted. We just love the feel of an old house.”
While the coved ceilings are one of the Crawford’s favorite aspects of the home, their fluid design is both a blessing and a curse. When choosing a paint color, Holly says she really has to commit since there’s no separation between the wall and the ceiling.
Despite a slight fear of commitment, it’s clear Holly has been brave when it comes to color. Almost every room is painted a different color, from taupe green in the kitchen, to orange in the of ce, and metallic paint in two of the bedrooms. And as if that isn’t enough color, Holly hired a professional tattoo artist to paint a mural on their son’s bedroom wall, complete with a coiled snake, a pirate skull, and lightning bolts.
“I don’t think there’s a surface in this house we haven’t touched,” said Holly. Travis added, “Oh yeah, we’ve painted every wall, every ceiling, and we even filled in a door that was in the living room that used to go into our son’s room.”
Some of the other one-of-a-kind features in the house include a hanging couch-bed with leopard print fabric, a teal washer and dryer set they had painted at Mayco, and French casement windows in the dining room that open out onto the patio.
Perhaps the most charming corner of the house is the covered front patio. Shielded from the street by a tall hedge and wrought iron gate, the quaint patio has a quintessential Spanish-California aesthetic. With a 10-person dining table and a cozy seating area featuring a vibrant orange porch swing, the patio acts as an extension of the dining room.
“The patio is really pretty in the evening; it’s like having another room,” said Holly. “We eat out there almost every night during the spring and summer.”
When Travis isn’t building furniture or attending to his yard—which he landscaped himself—he works at his environmental planning and consulting rm, Crawford & Bowen Planning, Inc. Holly also works part-time as a dental hygienist for Williams Family Dental in Visalia. Along with their childrens’ activities, sports, and rodeo competitions over the years, the Crawford family has maintained a very busy schedule.
Even so, Travis and Holly still make time for their home. Whether she has an itch for a different paint color or a concept for a new piece of furniture, Holly says she enjoys playing around with new ideas and working closely with her husband in the process.
“My style is constantly evolving and changing. If it didn’t, I would still have those puffy 1995 bangs,” laughed Holly. “So we switch things up every few years, and it works out well because it’s what we like to do together. We’ve had fun decorating it, and even though our home may be little, it’s full of character and charm.”
For the Crawfords, their home is not just the place where they sleep at night; their home is a place where heritage, creativity, art, culture, and family collide, all under one, red-tiled roof.