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Hurricane Katrina Survivors' Dallas Home

The day before New Orleans residents were told to evacuate and flee from the impending Hurricane Katrina, Wendy Weinman’s husband, Michael, had a hunch. He took all of their collected art off the walls downstairs and moved the pieces to their small second floor, where their children Chloe and Nicholas (now ages 7 and 11) slept. Because of his intuition, their art (and the contents of the kids’ rooms) were the family’s only belongings that remained safe from the storm. One in particular, an Ida Kohlmeyer painting (which hangs in their living room – pictured on the next page), had the most sentimental value – the New Orleans artist was a childhood friend of Weinman’s grandmother. Their furniture, grandmother’s antiques, clothes and shoes were all destroyed by an eight-foot sheet of Katrina’s water that enveloped their abode.

So, when the Weinmans settled on a new address near Preston Hollow in Dallas, they arrived with only art from the Big Easy to hang on the walls. Their house resembled a gallery, recalls Weinman, because of the pristine white walls and lack of furnishings. For the licensed (but not practicing) interior designer, the Dallas Design District became her therapy outlet to cope with a catastrophic loss that left her feeling “so stripped.”

It’s been nearly two years and her new nest is still a work in progress, she explains. Not wanting to go to one store to furnish her entire house, Weinman has been working for herself, scouring estate sales and eBay to find the perfect pieces to complete her haven. Starting fresh is important to Weinman, so she opts for old Hollywood glamour to fit her Dallas ranch instead of the traditional New Orleans décor that adorned her Louisiana home.

As many families know, living in a beautiful house with kids (and keeping it beautiful) isn’t always possible, but Weinman touts that, “my children have learned to appreciate what is important and beautiful to us.” She adds, “They get equally excited over a new piece of art or furniture the way we do.”

“My entire home is my sanctuary,” shares Weinman. “I just put up photos [of my family] last week,” says the chic brunette. It finally made the house a home – theirs.