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Mid-pandemic, Christy Carlson Romano and her family picked up and relocated their lives from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas — a cross-country move that came with a lot of changes. But Romano says they already feel so at home in the Lone Star state.
The actress, 37 — who starred in hit Disney shows like Kim Possible and Even Stevens and movies like Cadet Kelly and The Cutting Edge — and her husband, writer Brendan Rooney, recently opened up their new home to PEOPLE for an exclusive tour and to share a peek inside each of their expertly designed and highly personal spaces.
As they move from room to room, it's obvious each was designed with their two daughters — Isabella, 4, and Sophia, 2 — in mind, starting with the living room off the front entryway, where the couple says everyone must "check their ego at the door."
"This is the fun room," Rooney says of the bright and airy living space, which features an oversized, "rough and tumble couch" that he jokes the girls like to run laps on daily.
The couch is chock full of throw pillows for extra coziness, including Romano's favorite one, printed with the names of each member of their family of four, gifted to them by Rooney's mom.
The couple worked with a designer on the nearby dining room, where they wanted a "James Bond comes to Texas" aesthetic, Romano jokes. "It's got an Austin-proper vibe," she continues of the space, which features an art print of a Longhorn cow, wallpaper inspired by the "big Texas sky," hand-sewn Magnolia flowers and more.
Off the dining room is the kitchen, which Romano and Rooney agree they spend at least a quarter of their time in as a family. While their home back in L.A. had two white marble islands, here, they decided to go for a more rustic butcher block.
"It feels a lot like the landscape," Rooney says of the dark wood feature, which often appears in Romano's YouTube videos, where she cooks her favorite recipes and hilariously impersonates other actors.
Before they head downstairs, Rooney shows off one of his favorite features in the kitchen: a bottle opener built into one of the exposed wood beams, which he uses to crack open a bottle of Shiner Bock, a classic Texan beer.
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The brew fits right into the next room they bring viewers into: the billiards room, which Romano admits "is a man cave, but I do have fun [here] too."
Painted and decorated using moody, dark colors, the pair designed the space to look like a speakeasy. One corner is filled with vinyl records from their collection — "any place that we go to we try to find a record store," Romano says — and another is decked out with a dartboard that gets lots of use when friends and family come over.
"I like that this vibe and this room just feels like a place we would actually try to get a sitter and go to," Romano says.
Rainbow-organized books fill the shelves of their production office, and the art pieces on the walls were chosen to represent both of their "energies." Gold-leaf maps of New York City, where the pair met, and California, where they spent the first part of their lives together, "represent our love story," Romano says.
The production office is also where they have hung their most significant documents and pieces of memorabilia. For example, Rooney's honorable discharge certificate from his time in the U.S. Marine Corps is framed, as is a cel (a translucent sheet that animations are sketched on) that the animators from Kim Possible gifted Romano years ago.
"She's so awesome and she inspires me on the daily," she says of the cheerleader-turned-crime fighter character she voiced.
Isabella and Sophia make an appearance near the end of the tour, helping show off their rainbow-centric playroom (conveniently a floor away from the office to minimize noise).
A massive chalk mural of a rainbow, drawn by Romano, fills one wall. "Austin has so many amazing murals," the actress says of her inspiration. A little teddy bear with a hat reading "Caddy Kelly" — a tribute to one of Romano's most famous movies, co-starring Hilary Duff — is one of the toys set out for the girls.
The tour ends with Romano and Rooney sitting out on one of their two decks, enjoying a drink in the sunny weather. Watch until the end to see their incredible views!
"I don't miss California at all," Romano admits, looking out and taking it all in. "We are so happy here in Austin."