What We’re Working On: Nina’s Home

Last August, a massive flood devastated Baton Rouge and surrounding areas.

There was no warning. No way to prepare.

Naturally, many of the residents who were impacted by the flood were unprepared for the emotional and financial toll.

Many flood victims are ARE still not back in their homes—eight months later!

My client Nina is one of them.

The Client

Our client, Nina, is a young professional who has two college age daughters.

Her home is a 1600 square foot traditional home that she bought a few years ago with plans to make small changes here and there over the years.

Then the flood in happened…

To hear Nina tell the story of how she watched (via security camera) her home fill with over five feet of water in a matter of minutes still gives me goosebumps.

After the initial shock wore of and she moved through the stages of grief, Nina was quickly thrown into the overwhelming challenge of having to make huge–and expensive–decisions about the renovation of her home.

She reached out to me for help.

I mentioned in my flood post that I had a sort of “survivor’s guilt” because my house was miraculously spared from the flood waters.

I now see that blessing as an opportunity to work with clients who are putting the pieces of their lives back together while offering them a more positive perspective.

I hope that I can show them that, although we would never wish the devastation of this flood or any natural disaster on anyone, the extensive damage has created a blank slate for us to create their ideal home.

Nina’s project was one of the first flood renovations we took on.

I remember the day we walked through her home to get an understanding of the scope of the project…

Most of the walls and flooring had been removed, but mold had also set in, so we had to wear protective masks as we took measurements and photographs.

After our preliminary walkthrough, our first step was to select all of the materials and finishes for the renovation…and by everything, I mean EVERYTHING!

Wall color, trim color, molding profiles, window casings, flooring, tile, cabinet hardware, lighting…the list goes on and on.

So many decisions to make, and can you imagine having to make them when you are still reeling from the trauma of the flood?!?

Nina loved the design scheme we put together for her, and we were so happy to make the process as stress free for her as possible!

With that done, we started the process of selecting furnishings for the main areas of the home: dining room, living room and master bedroom.

These are the priority spaces for Nina once she is able to move back in, so our job is to build upon the foundation we set with the materials and finishes and to create a space that exudes the livable luxe style Nina loves!

We’ll be sharing more with you about the specific elements we’ve selected for Nina’s design, but here is a real time shot of Nina’s reaction to one of the elements in her master bedroom design. Priceless!


Ultimate Goals and Challenges

The biggest challenge on this project has been helping Nina get through the emotional trauma of the flood and giving her the confidence to step outside of the box on her design choices.

This home was a resale, so she did not get to make any of the design selections before purchasing the home.

We’ve encouraged Nina to look at this design process as an opportunity to explore her own personal design style and to make choices that she absolutely LOVES.

In fact, that was a rule during our presentation. If she didn’t LOOOOOVVVVEEEE something, we changed it.

After all, the one thing this flood has taught all of us is that life is too short to settle!

The second challenge is one that every project faces: budget.

No one saves money for a once in a lifetime (we hope!) flood, so we needed to make sure what we were as efficient and effective with her budget as possible.

Limited resources are compounded even more by the fact that Nina is living in an apartment while her renovation is being done.


Again, would we ever wish this flood or any disaster on anyone?

Absolutely not!

Are we choosing to help our clients see the silver lining in this?


Our goal has been to help our clients pivot as quickly as possible from the pain of the situation to a place of optimism as we help them get closer to the home of their dreams!

More progress reports on Nina’s project coming soon!

Author: Arianne Bellizaire

Interior designer, blogger, and public speaker Arianne Bellizaire creates spaces that are beautiful yet highly functional for her clients. She served as one of only nine 2015 High Point Market Authority Style Spotters, and she has been featured in Rue Magazine, House Beautiful Online, GoodHousekeeping, EditorAtLarge, U.S. News & World Report, Roomhints, About.com, USA Today, and MyFitItUpLife!

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