The YEAR of Harvey

The YEAR of Harvey

It’s a year after Hurricane Harvey and I am still a nomad after forty years in our home, which we had remodeled.  First, we spent a month in a hotel room; then we were lucky enough to find an apartment with a six month lease, though unfortunately right between two freeways!  Finally, we found a high rise in a quieter area on the eighteenth floor. We made the big move, with a year’s lease to determine what to do with our house and property.  We felt that at least we could take a breather, feel more settled, make better decisions, and enjoy our retreat in the sky with no flooding.

Well, we are now in our fourth week of living with seventeen fans and dehumidifiers “which sound like  in our apartment that sound like a jet engine” in our apartment.  We have concrete floors in part of the apartment with carpet removed and they are now tearing out the wood floors and some sheetrock.  Oh yes, the master toilet and head knocker have been removed from the master bedroom and the range, refrigerator and dishwasher from the kitchen – all draped in plastic.

How could this happen?  The new building had a boiler pipe burst above the top floor about 1:30 AM to the tune of approximately 300 gallons per minute.  Fortunately, the people in the apartment just below it were traveling and not home.  But the water took the path of least resistance and caused damage as low as the eleventh floor before disconnected.  They have been working diligently on this, but seeing all the trucks, trash and dumpsters outside along with the workers’ staging area, is just a little hard to handle on the anniversary of Harvey.

I have been asked for photos of projects that have been restored in which the people are back in their newly remodeled homes to publicize.  Honestly, there are very few who are back in and restored.  Some are getting closer to move in, but many homes are still sitting there, or have been demolished and the property is sitting there.  Some of the homes that have been remodeled, and are back on the market, have been done by investors buying them at undervalued prices after the flood, repairing, and sometimes very cheaply, to make the largest profit.

Houston being the fourth largest city with so many areas affected by Harvey, the solutions are varied and complicated; and we as designers have a responsibility to learn about these solutions all around the city and the new building restrictions, so that we continue to add value to our clients’ projects.  But we can go more into those changes next time!

To read more about how Connie and so many other Houstonians have fared in the following year please read this article recently published by Diane Cowen of the Houston Chronicle: 

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/life/home/design/article/Post-hurricane-homeowners-cope-with-decisions-13180786.php

Read the follow-up to this post, The End of Harvey.

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