After the Hurricane: Two Years Later
I can’t believe it’s been two years since Hurricane Harvey – and the destructive rains – hit Houston. This city has made great strides in its recovery, but unfortunately in the hardest hit neighborhoods many Houstonians are still struggling to recover today.
Looking back over the last two years and the toll Hurricane Harvey had on the city of Houston – the lives lost, businesses, homes, neighborhoods destroyed, families displaced – I remember how devastating the first few days were. But it was also an amazing time, with neighbors helping neighbors, businesses helping the city of Houston with charitable donations, and volunteers coming from neighboring states to help with rescue and clean up.
I am incredibly grateful for all of my family and friends who were so supportive during this crisis. This event has made me want to live a more conscious life, to be grateful for where I am, and to follow my passion as a designer to create beautiful spaces that will be filled with joy and happiness. I love this quote: ‘The comeback is always stronger than the setback.’
My own family’s comeback is going to happen this fall when we move back into our home. The renovation is incredible. I can’t believe how far we’ve come.
There are a couple of things that have delayed the grand reopening of our home. First, the contractors were inundated with clients needing repairs on their homes and there was a shortage of construction labor. Before the hurricane, Houston already had a significant labor shortage in the construction sector. The storm only compounded that and really made building materials scarce. The normal timeline for a remodel could be six months, but after the storm it added an additional two to three months, or more. I also had clients that I was working with during this time, helping them with their own recovery or new construction. Sometimes crews had to be pulled away to work on those projects.
The second reason it’s taken so long is that I wanted to take my time and think about what we wanted to do with the house. I had to decide if I wanted to just restore it, to change the layout, to add additional space – and it was hard to decide. I did nothing at all for the first few months.
Then in January 2018, I started working with the very talented architect Carlos DiNunzio and his genius cocktail napkin architecture. This service he offers is directed towards interior projects with a limited scope that do not require a building permit. Our final design that he helped us create is a remarkable, modern look that is both gorgeous and functional.
Once we finalized the design of the house, I began making my appliance, plumbing, flooring, tile and furniture selections. I have been very fortunate to have some amazing vendors who have been so wonderful to work with me to make this small adversity a true blessing and an enjoyable remodel. Tim Kirby with New Slate Properties began the remodel in mid-March of this year and his team has worked on overdrive to complete the project on time.
The one item I am most excited about is the new staircase and what a difference it has made in my home! It has opened up my entry and it doesn’t feel like you are walking into the stairs when you walk in the front door.
But the boldest design decision I made was to paint the house a dark gray. I love white and I loved my house when it was painted white, but I was ready for a change. So what better way than going to the other end of the spectrum. And I have to say that I love it!
I’ll be able to show you the full home remodel in just a few short weeks. You’ve seen a lot of the photos on this blog of where we are and what’s been done. And you can see even more on my Instagram feed!
Meanwhile, so many people and companies have helped me so much through the last two years! Here are just a few who’ve made a huge difference in our recovery:
Hunter Jones at PuroClean
Tim Kirby at New Slate Properties
Kim Davis, Stephanie Samper, and Rick Berry at Walker Zanger
Ferguson’s Corey Watts, Ammaad Khan, and Daniel Giltner
Thermador/BSH Group’s Suly Weissman and Joe Gonzales
Furniture restorer Chris Kokinakis
Materials Marketing’s Lynn McClellan
Jana Earley at Luxe Fine Finishes
Neat Method’s Dominique Caskey
Jose Mancillas at M&M Cabinetry
Rishi Vij at RK International
Keny Arana Painting
Circa Lighting’s Hannah Kubiak
Christian Wade at Wade Construction and Roofing
Ha Nguyen at Jordan’s AC
David Karson at Builders First Source
Tammy McMillan Lighting Inc.
And thanks to all of you who have shown so much encouragement and have sent me notes and direct messages. It’s meant more than I can say!