When Your Decor is Wall Beams and Plumbing Pipes

The big question EVERYONE asks these days is,”Where are you living?” Everyone knows we flooded and that our home was destroyed. So it is a natural question.

In the very very beginning, we didn’t know that the house would be totaled, so we remediated it. That means we had the flooring and walls and cabinets ripped out from the ground up to 4 feet. (NOTE: It’s very expensive by the way to achieve this “Natural” look, and as a result we are staying in a FAR MORE expensive temporary place than the most luxurious hotel, given what we spent on remediation only to have to demolish it.) The original intention was to fix our home up but as I relayed in previous blogs, we would need to elevate to keep our home and that was not possible. (Not that we haven’t checked out every possibility and angle – insert exhaustion here.)

After we cleaned, fumigated, sprayed all the microban and everything else to mitigate the mold possibilities, and got rid of the dust from drywall removal, it was safe to be in the house- it’s not pretty- but it is definitely safe and clean. After a hotel stay, we returned home to wait for the verdict on the house – repair or build new. We had to wait for insurance amounts and get information from every source before making the decision. We were one of the few. Our neighborhood stands like a deserted ghost town, with only the two story people living here, upstairs, while their houses are repaired. Everyone else has vacated.

We needed a base of operation through all the paperwork and process as well as a place to live, and my husband still needs an office. My husband’s office is here at the house, and we haven’t packed the upper half (above the 4 feet of demolition) yet so it is most convenient to be here, no matter what it looks like.

You can say the decor we are currently living in at our home, is early primitive log cabin, with a flair of post modern flood. If you like seeing wall beams, plumbing pipes and an “open arrangement” this is the house for you! (See I can even laugh at this calamity now!)

There are no lower cabinets so we are making due with makeshift plastic bins and boxes and containers. (I have really gotten into hunting down plasticware of all sorts, containers, and drawers in the place of cabinets.) Our vanity and kitchen is propped up on 2 by 4 beams so we can use the sinks, the stove top etc. It doesn’t smell, it isn’t toxic, but it isn’t exactly luxurious.

I am getting used to living like this – in fact, I am seeing humor and irony everywhere I look, so obviously my wry sense of humor is back. For example, while on vacation, I always take leg and feet photos in the sand or facing the ocean – that is my symbolism of chilling while in Margate. The other day I looked in a mirror at my naked legs near my naked cabinetry (with some plumbing pipes behind them) and was so amused at the irony and symbolism that I snapped the photo below. This leg and feet photo sums up my living arrangements. I find this photo quite amusing and it makes me chuckle. Naked legs, naked house. Come on, you have to admit that is kind of funny. In fact, this photo is an artistic expression of where I am right now. The photo is ironic, symbolic, and humorous.

New blog Naked Decor

I am starting not to mind seeing plumbing pipes and see through walls for my decor though at first I cried and cried. I guess I am highly adaptable. My husband who is so adorable sometimes, arranged our remaining furnishings from the pile initially jumbled up in the demolition, so that it would feel like a home for the length of time we remained here. He even laid carpet strips down for walkways so we are not walking on bare concrete. My housekeeper Viki, who quit during the chaos has even come back. How cozy is that?

Here are some photos.







Now that we’ve made the decision that the entire house will be demolished, we must pack the rest of the stuff up to move out – again it is most convenient to be here among our remaining “stuff” to sort through the rest and pack. We still don’t know where we will move next, and we are looking in earnest. We expect to be displaced for about a year, maybe more. We have made the big decision to build a smaller, downsized home, on our lot. That way, we get to stay in our wonderful neighborhood and area of Houston but it will be a long and expensive process. (Thanks to our angel architect who custom designed a new home that fits all of our needs.)

There’s another ulterior motive to my staying here happily in half a house, (the lower half as the leg photo shows) and that is that I want the longest goodbye possible for this house that I loved so much. I will never have this home again, the design, the shapes, the colors, the room for our combined art on the walls, the storage, the uniqueness of the floor plan and space. So I have to appreciate it while I can at whatever condition it is in because soon it will be bulldozed. (I am just terrible at goodbyes and letting go!) I am not complaining about this rough look decor, and I am not hurrying out of this place. A shell of my former palace is better than the alternative right now.

Now I may have to get that ironic leg photo framed to remember this era by – what do you think??


  • Hi Steve King 2017 flood (2nd time first 2015 minor) this time 3 feet reading your blog could be us writing it big desicions facing us if allowed repair; rebuild (if cost not too high) and our age a factor (almost80) if you have the name of a reasonable builder I would at least like to talk to him I don’t feel I can elevate at over 200,000 $ plus repairs thanks for listening and your info and thoughts

  • Glad to know you are your usual buoyant and optimistic self even in this difficult circumstance. Being without a home, even for a short time, is emotionally taxing, but you seem to have kept it all in perspective and remembered that home is the people you are with much more than it is four walls.

  • You have impeccable, fun-loving sense of taste and style. Can’t wait to see your posts in pictures of choices in chairs, end tables, kitchen table, etc. Your color ideas are amazing!!! Glad to see your sense of humor has returned. I know that was an incredibly difficult challenge to focus upon. Remember the journey and not the destination. Thinking about you and wishing you well. Midge

  • As I’ve always said, you’ve got great legs. And it thrills me to no end that you’re finally able to see the light, whether it’s a freight train or sunlight.

  • so when someone says you’ve got a nice set of pipes, you can reply: “Thanks, I’ve always loved to sing”..your livingroom area still looks nice and cozy

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