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Restoring House After Disaster: Burkhardt Family

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This story is very inspirational as it tells about the Burkhardt family who didn’t abandon their home after Hurricane Katrina, but came back to rebuild the house that was practically torn down by this natural disaster. Let’s explore how they renovated their beloved house piece by piece, room by room returning the comfort and peace.

Burkhardt Family Restoring Their House

Restoring House
Burkhardt Family By Front Door Of Their Restored House

When Hurricane Katrina hit the New Orleans, the Burkhardt family like many others had to flee their house with few personal belongings. No one expected the hurricane to be so devastating. When they came back, their worst expectation came to reality – their house, which was built around 80 years ago, was very damaged:

It was pretty much what we’d feared. The house was standing, but inside there was nothing but mildewed furniture and furry white mold growing everywhere.

Even though it was very hard for them to be tough, they decided to stay and renovate their house. Ironically, the façade only needed a new painting coat, new shutters and new brick pavers for the steps. However, the backyard was really destroyed, and even when two years anniversary of Katrina passed, nothing would grow there. The family replanted oak trees, lined the house with boxwood hedges and added the new swimming pool.

The indoors kept its own story. The front hall and an entryway, as practically everything in the house, was covered with white mold. The new entryway was rather modest if compared to the pre-Katrina one: there were IKEA slipcovered chairs, pale blue Roman shades that went good with the Sleepy Blue-colored front door. The rest of the furnishings: rug, lamp and rounds side table were found in antique shops in the French Quarter. The new flooring was made from wood salvaged from local houses that got destroyed.

The few remaining pieces in the living room were the wood table and 200-year old French cane chairs. The table was too heavy to be destroyed, so it just remained in the living room, while the chairs were floating around somewhere on the first floor. Jeff Burkhardt bleached and sanded the chair frames, leaving them shabby-chic. There is also a beautiful crystal chandelier that was salvaged from a house in the Ninth Ward torn down after the hurricane.

The kitchen also suffered badly in this natural disaster, so everything was refurbished including the marble countertop, hardwood floors and white cabinets. The new furnishings in the kitchen included the mirrored cabinet fronts and the Plexiglas stools with velvet cushions that Jeff sewed himself. The porch was another room that got destroyed. The family wanted to revive the original look of it, so they decorated the sunroom in white, with pink splashes. Jeff did the window seats:

I’ve always loved window seats — it’s so nice to read or sit and have drinks with someone in a sunny spot.

The cute light fixture was found in Renaissance Interiors, a local consignment shop. Overall, the interior design of the house is in cottage style, with few elements of shabby chic. So, isn’t that an inspirational makeover of a house that lost all its beauty in the devastating hurricane? It is always impressive when the owners return to the natural disaster spot to revive the house. Scroll down to see the before and after pictures of the family residence.


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Category: Inspiration

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