Harvey Recovery One Year Later

One year ago Houston changed forever as 60 inches of rain flooded our highways and homes. None of us will ever forget driving into neighborhoods seeing piles of belonging and memories out on the curb to be hauled away as trash. Still a year after Hurricane Harvey hit, many homeowners are still in the process of rebuilding. Homeowners were faced with many decisions as the water receded. Should they renovate, tear down and rebuild, raise the foundation of their existing home, or move away from their home and community?

As we look back on this year, two of our flood victim clients started the rebuilding process right away. As we met with these clients soon after Harvey, we had to discuss the possibility of moving or completely demolishing their home and trying again. These very emotional conversations resulted in one client in Bellaire deciding to raise their home foundation and then do a complete renovation, while another client in Champions opted to leave the foundation as it was and renovate. Both of these homes took on enough water that the drywall had to be removed up to four feet. Although the homeowners knew there was a possibility that they would flood again, they both loved their home and location and community, and they didn’t want to give that up.

Champions Remodel

This home was only a year old when Harvey hit, so it was never an option to tear down and start again. The homeowners were able to move in with family as their year-long renovation took place. Some of the original finishes in the new home were poor quality, so the remodel has helped restore this home into something better than what they lost. Changes in the floorplan to enhance the flow of the home were small, but significant. The improvements included the creation of an opening from the dining room into the kitchen and the reconfiguration of the master bath . With these minor changes, as well as major upgrades in the finishes, this family couldn’t be happier to be back in their beautiful home.

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Drywall removal and a large fan drying out this home were a common sight in flood victims’ homes. Check out the amazing transformation as this kitchen went from devastation to dreamy!

Bellaire Remodel

This home is still in the remodel process a year later because the clients opted to have the foundation raised before any interior renovation took place. The home was lifted four and a half feet through a process of digging and lifting, inches at a time, to ensure that floodwaters wouldn’t destroy their home again. This home renovation is a complete design and remodel including finishes and furnishings. The process has been emotional for the clients as they went from enjoying their beautiful home to living in a small apartment. The homeowners are very much anticipating the completion and move in date in October.

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Homeowners opted to raise the foundation, which also meant the addition of a beautiful stone exterior finish.

Harvey was such an unprecedented event with so much loss that none of us knew how long it would take to rebuild or what challenges would come. Many businesses and storefronts and roads were back up and running quickly, but restoring homes has taken time. Floodwaters left so many Houstonians in need of rebuilding that the demand for materials and contractors skyrocketed. Even through the challenges, it has truly been a pleasure working with victims of Harvey and helping them restore their homes and their lives, as we have shared in the design and rebuilding process with them.

5 Tips to Achieving Timeless Design

Striving for timeless design is most homeowners ultimate goal because it allows for years of adaptability. Timeless design also protects your investment, ensuring your home maintains a great look despite the change in season, style, or years. Follow these five tips, and you will be on your way to a well designed home with enduring appeal.

1. Good Bones

Make sure your floorplan is solid. Invest time envisioning yourself in the space and making the correct accommodations to your specific needs.  If you have a layout that flows nicely from one space to another and is well thought out – you won’t ever feel the need to move walls down the road.

2. Quality Flooring

Invest in high quality flooring that isn’t trendy especially in your main living spaces. You can always have some fun in smaller spaces such as powder or laundry rooms.

3. Staple Furniture Pieces

We always encourage our clients to splurge on the main sofa/sectional. Usually they hesitate due to cost, but we know that if they invest in a good, well-made piece, it will last them years and they will be pleased with their purchase. Quality is something that should never be compromised in high use items.

4. Know the Difference: Timeless vs. Trendy

Usually, it’s easy to spot whether something is trendy or not. If you see it in every magazine and all over Pinterest, chances of a style being trendy are high. You may love the farmhouse look of white subway tile and shiplap right now, but will you like it in five years? If you want something that is the current fashion, choose to use it in a space that is easy and affordable to update.

5. Keep Design Fresh

  • Paint: Simple, affordable updates like paint go a long way. If you feel like you are stuck and just need to freshen up – then painting your space is the answer! Wanting a more open feel? Pick a light color. Wanting a more bold change? Go dark. Maybe start with an accent wall and see how you like it.
  • Accessorize: Use and rotate your staple pieces like memorabilia from travels or generational passed down décor and mix them with new pieces. Don’t be afraid to use what you already have and add in new, fun pieces. Those are the best combinations.
  • Pillows: You can always make your sofa look more up to date by switching your pillows and throws—a very easy fix that won’t leave you broke.
  • Wallpaper: Wallpaper options have definitely outgrown our grandma’s homes. If you feel like going the extra mile when changing up a wall, definitely look into adding some fun wallpaper. It will make everyone who walks into your space do all the ooohs and ahhhs.

Combining Livability and Luxury

When you think about your home, its purpose goes beyond providing shelter for you and your loved ones. It is not just a place to eat and sleep. Your home should be your refuge, your safe place—a place to be completely you. At Eklektik Interiors we love to help you make your home livable AND luxurious, a true reflection of you. My favorite part of the design process is getting to know my clients personally in order to provide them with a space that is not only beautiful, but also functional for their lifestyle.

Functional Spaces

When designing a client’s home, I start the process by going into each room and asking the client how they would like to use the space. I’ll ask, “Do you entertain here? Do you and your kids hang out here? Do you watch TV and lounge here? Is this space for conversation and drinks?” Once I know how the space will be used, I can make it functional. If the room is for entertaining, we need a lot of seating. If it’s a space for young children to play, we use easy-to-clean fabrics and wipeable surfaces. When each room is designed with purpose, usability and ease of living increases.

Adding in Luxury

My motto is to live luxuriously, not based on a budget, but based on things that put a smile on your face. It’s all about how a space makes you feel that adds the luxury. When you walk into your living room, does your sofa make you want to stay there for hours? That’s luxury. On any budget you can find unique accessories, sculptures, and art that make a statement and add a luxurious feel to a room. Other elements that add luxury are added conveniences like heated floors, LED-lit closets, shoes carousels, and built in jewelry displays.

Space Planning

To make your home the ultimate combination of livable and luxurious, the floor plan is key. I love space planning, which is when I design the flow of the home based on how the client will use each room. For example, if a client comes to us with a blank slate, we get to design where all the rooms are located and how to transition from one room to another. Starting the design process from conception allows us to maximize each room’s function with the right amount of luxurious details that will bring a smile to your face for years to come.

Therapist or Designer?

On an average work day, I often act as a mediator, a marriage counselor, and a therapist.  What am I?  Your first guess is probably not “Interior Designer.” If you’ve never partnered with an interior designer on a project, then you might not know that these valuable skills are included with your design package. 

Maya Angelou said, “People will tell you who they are if you will just listen.”  I’ve definitely seen this in my work as a designer.  When meeting with a new client, a lot of intuition comes into play. I want to understand you and what your recent experiences are.  I listen very intently so I can know why you are hiring a designer.  I read your body language and emotion to really get to know you.  As I see how you respond to different things we talk about, I get to know your style and who you are.

Home construction and renovations are well known for the amount of stress and conflict they can cause.  With the availability and accessibility of so many home design elements on the internet, home owners are inundated with options, and they can drive themselves crazy trying to keep up with the best new thing. 

As a designer, I use my trained vision and expertise to help you focus and find the best products to meet your needs and make you happy.  Losing that focus by changing one simple element is like a tumbling house of cards.  The minute you make one change, the entire project can come crashing down because every selection is tied into another selection.  As your designer, I want to get to know you and help you define your style so that it is reflected in your surroundings.  It is my specialty to hone the style throughout the project so the design direction does not stray, which is usually where most people get frustrated. There are an endless supply of options out there to entice you and throw you off track.  I provide you with a specific amount of selections so that you can discover the best products that truly represent you and stay within the design plan we have created.

Once selections have been made, I am the mediator of the project.  I will be your voice and your advocate as I work closely and professionally with everyone involved.  I act as the go between, helping you understand the building process, which will reduce any possible conflict with the contractors.  As your designer and home renovation “therapist,” I want you to have the best experience possible.  So come put your feet up, relax, and let’s talk!

Going to Build or Remodel? Step #1: Hire a Designer

Have you ever hired a tour guide while on vacation to help you navigate and enjoy new terrain? A designer is like your tour guide for building or renovating your home. Hiring a good designer as your guide before you even begin construction will save you time, money, and stress. We can make a seemingly overwhelming journey smooth and enjoyable!

Save You Time

As a designer, my greatest desire is to guide you through the entire building or remodeling process so that your home is designed and customized to your lifestyle. You may think of an interior designer as the person that would help you decorate and furnish your home after construction is complete, but in order to start the building process, you need a design. An architect and builder focus on the structure itself, where a designer looks at the floor plan from a functional standpoint, helping each room live up to its maximum potential. We will help you achieve a truly cohesive design as we collaborate with you and your contractor. With your customized design plan in place, the construction process will be so much more efficient and effective.

Save You Money

A good designer will save you more money than what they will cost you. Before you go to a builder, everything from tile to cabinets to lighting should be selected. A lot of time and money can be wasted if you meet with a builder and don’t have selections made and a budget set. By having open and honest conversations about your budget with your designer beforehand, they can guide you to selections that stay within your budget, while also staying true to the things that are most important to you. Because you may not know how much it costs for every plumbing fixture and cabinet, a designer’s expertise can help you know which products to cut back on so that you can put your money into the extras that you’ve been dreaming about. The last thing you want to happen is to be in the middle of construction and realize that your loan amount isn’t enough. So many times clients realize too late that to get what they want they will have to go way over budget. Designers prevent this. If you’re working on a budget, you can’t afford not to hire a designer.

Save You Stress

Meeting with your designer and coming up with the perfect design for your home can be a very enjoyable process. In the initial meeting, we have you come with an idea book for your home. We want to learn about you and your lifestyle and what you want each room to achieve. We want you to be included in every part of the creative process. It makes so much sense to meet with a designer, make all of your selections, and come up with a cohesive design and a realistic budget before you find a builder. At this point in the process, we can provide you with a design package, or we can continue guiding you through finding the perfect builder and working with them to ensure they stay true to the design. We will educate you through the entire process, helping you make decisions along the way to achieve your desired outcome. We believe honesty is key. If we think that your budget isn’t enough to complete your entire project, we may suggest doing your home in stages or even postponing a project a few months until you have the needed amount. You can save yourself so much stress by doing things the right way instead of half way through the process realizing you’re in over your head.

We are here to help you turn your home into the perfect fit for you. We let you drive the creative process of adding in every design element so that your home is true to you. You are driving, and we are your tour guide, helping you discover your dream home while saving you time, money, and stress.