2016 Louisiana Flood Recovery Information

We would like to pass some Recovery Information on to our readers, their family members and friends.


SCAMMERS:  Please be advised that scammers have already started working in the area and are trying to prey on vulnerable homeowners, especially the elderly.
  • CREDIT CARDS AND CHECKS – Do not give your credit card or a check to anyone that comes to your door asking for donations.  Get information on the Charity or Organization that you can verify. Once you have had a chance to verify the charity or organizations validity – you can then donate by mail or phone.
  • FEMA will not call you asking for money.  You can contact FEMA at www.fema.org
  • CONTRACTORS:  There will be a lot of contractors offering to do renovation work who may be from our area or other areas and out of state.
    • Ask for their License # and Proof of License.  They may be a licensed business such as a LLC, but not be licensed as a contractor.
    • Ask for a business card – it should have their license # on it and have a physical address.  If they do not have an address on their card, be cautious.
    • Be cautious of any contractor who gives you a really low bid.  Ask for references.
    • Be cautious of anyone who says that they can get you back in your home quickly.  Be patient as “proper” renovation takes time….it is not an overnight process.
    • Do not pay for work upfront.  Some contractors may need funds to purchase material, but should not ask for large down payments up front.
CLEAN UP:  There are several websites online that provide valuable information on cleaning up after flooding.  Check out:


The Red Cross has an excellent booklet that we recommend to anyone that has been effected by the flood.  READ ABOUT IT HERE

There is a Louisiana State Licensing Board for Contractors (LSLBC) downloadable app for your mobile devices.  With this app, you can enter a contractor name to see if he is licensed with the state.
Click her for the link to the app.  www.lslbc.louisiana.gov

Don’t be a victim twice!  Follow this link to learn more about ways to protect yourself when hiring a contractor.  www.lslbc.louisiana.gov

The city of Baton Rouge has posted a chart detailing how to divide flood debris for removal.

Debris Removal Guidelines

Who Needs 3-D Design? 5 Reasons You Do

Our design company differs from many design companies in that we are able to provide our clients with 3D design work, which helps them visualize their spaces better. While some clients are able to understand 2D plans and elevations — many find that viewing their space in 3D really provides a clearer understanding of what the space will look and feel like. Reviewing a design in 3D during design development stages can help avoid costly mistakes before walls are constructed or torn down.

The following article was published in May 2013 on Houzz.



As a Kitchen Designer, I have often been asked by clients for assistance in selecting stools for their seating areas. At one time, stools used to be pretty standard in size and shape, but stools today vary in height from 18”H (for table height) to 42”H-44”H (for bar height) and come in an assortment of shapes with and without backs. Some stools have arms and some also have the ability to swivel.


  • Bar Stool Heights – for a counter top or table that is 40” to 42” in height, a stool that is 28″-30″H from floor to seat is recommended.
  • Chair Stool Heights – for a counter top or table that is 28” to 30” in height, a stool that is 18″H from floor to seat is recommended.
  •  Counter Stool Heights  – for a counter top or table is 36” to 39” in height, a stool that is 24″-26″H from floor to seat is recommended.
  • Leg Clearance – It is recommended that you allow at least 9” to 13” between the top of the seat and the underside of the counter to allow clearance for legs and comfortable seating. Some designers recommend measuring from the floor to the counter top and then subtracting 10 inches to get the stool height.
  • Seat Spacing – a minimum of 24 inches of clearance is recommended for seating each person. To achieve this, allow 26 to 30 inches from center of one stool to the next stool center.
    • Allow a little more space for stools with arms for getting in and out. Also, make sure that the arms will fit under the counter top or table.
    • Depth of counter top or table is also important, so measure the depth of the counter top or table and compare it to the stool’s depth to make sure the stool will fit properly.  This is especially important in a tight space.



  • If your stool selection will be based on aesthetic appeal (wanting to make a design statement or having stools blend in with the surrounding décor), then first determine what the current décor or style of your home is.   If your stool selection will be based on functional needs, then the following questions may help you in your selection.


  • Will the stools be sat on for extended periods of time?  If so, a chair with a seat cushion or a back will be more comfortable.
  • Is the space narrow or busy?  If so, backless stools that can be tucked under the counter top or table are highly recommended.
  • Does it matter if the stool has side arms?  A stool without arms can also go under the counter to save space.

Dessau Side Chair - williams-sonoma


You may have seen or heard the words Renovation or Remodel for residential construction before. Do you know the difference between the two? The names seem to describe the same thing, but they are actually quite different.

A residential RENOVATION is also known as a home “face-lift”.   It usually deals with replacing simple finishes and/or fixtures to give the space an updated look (a lift). Some of these finishes and fixtures can be appliances, counter tops, cabinet hardware, flooring, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures and/or painting. During the process of renovation – no changes are made to the room’s actual layout or structural system.

A residential REMODEL is a much more complicated and involved transformation of the space, as it can involve changing the space’s structure, style and/or size. A new layout of the space can be created with either new cabinetry,  removing walls to extend the space, adding on to the space or a combination of the three.

In the planning stages, it is recommended working with a professional, such as a Kitchen and Bath Designer or a Residential Designer.  A professional can not only assist with the selection of finishes and fixtures, but can help you visualize the space with 2D and 3D plans and images.




When choosing a finish for your bathroom faucet — it is all about the look. The faucet should reflect your personal taste and how you want the space to look. There are several factors that should be considered when selecting the finish.

  1.  If the finish is appropriate for the style of your faucet and other plumbing fixtures, whether they are traditional, contemporary or transitional, etc.  Polished chrome works well for a very contemporary (minimalistic) fixture.
  2. How the finish will work with other finishes of the space, such as the counter tops (edge treatment), the backsplash, the sink. etc. is important. Walls should also be considered if there is a wall mounted faucet.
  3. Whether you would like to have a “suite of finishes”(uniformity of finish), which is when your plumbing fixtures match the finish of your accessories (towel rings, tissue holder, towel bars, etc.) and lighting fixtures. To ensure you are getting the exact same finish, buy all the fixtures and accessories from the same company



4.  You can also create a “blended look” by mixing the metal finishes of your accessories, lighting and plumbing fixtures. You just need to make sure that there is a good balance with one finish being the predominant finish. Some fixtures have two different metals for their finish.

5. The finish should be durable. Today, most types of finishes, including nickel, are extremely durable due to a coating process called PVD (physical vapor deposition). A finish, with PVD, becomes an integral part of the faucet itself, resisting tarnish, scratches and corrosion.                                            decorpad Source





As homeowners experiment with finishes and textures, there is a growing trend in using material normally used for an exterior or commercial application for interior finishes.  A few examples of these finishes are decorative metal, metal panels and exterior siding, both Shiplap and Tongue and Groove.

Decorative metal finishes and panels are available in a variety of metals (brass, copper, iron, stainless steel, zinc, etc.). The non-porous surface of metal, which is very hygienic and durable, makes it a great finish to use in kitchens.  Interior metal cladding can be fabricated in a various shapes, sizes and textures (perforated, corrugated or pixelated) to add interest and depth to a space.


Metal Panels


Two types of exterior siding are “Shiplap” and “Tongue and Groove”, which seem very similar, but are different due to the way that they are installed.


  • Shiplap panels are comprised of simple interlocking pieces, where the top and bottom of each board is milled with a rabbet joint to form an attractive wood siding.
  • Shiplap is cheaper than tongue and groove, but installation can be more labor intense as the boards do not lay flat against the wall.
  • Shiplap creates a shadow line where the wood overlaps the rabbet joint, which can create visual interest.
  • It can be installed either vertically or horizontally

Ship Lap 1


Ship Lap 4


Chip and Joanna Gaines of HGTV’s Fixer-Upper are fans of designing with Shiplap.Rustic Shiplap With Modern


Tongue and Groove

  • Tongue and Groove boards are cut so that the tongue of one piece fits into the groove of the adjacent piece in an interlocking method.
  • This allows the siding to lay flatter against the wall.
  • It is less work for the carpenter.
  • It can be installed either a vertically or horizontally.
  • It is available in different rich textured woods and other materials.






Although grout does not add to the stability of the tile installation (unless it is epoxy grout) and in some people’s opinion butting the tiles against one another looks better than having even the smallest grout lines…but it is not a recommended installation procedure.

Grout is a necessary and integral part of many tile jobs for several reasons:
• It keeps moisture out of the substrate.

• It prevents food, dirt, etc., from getting in the cracks.
– Would you rather have a very small grout line filled with grout or a very, very small grout line filled with spaghetti sauce?

– No matter how tightly you attempt to butt the tiles, there will still be the tiniest space between them. Not grouting – leaves open the possibility of all types of unruly things filling them. Then you have to clean them out risking the possibility of damaging one of the tiles.

• It helps keep tile lines straight
– Attempting to butt the tiles will result in a “jog” of the lines between them. The larger the area, the more those lines will run off.

– By leaving even 1/32 of an inch grout line you will be able to compensate for the difference in tile widths.

• It prevents tiles from rubbing against one another and cracking.
– No matter what substrate you are using there will always be movement. Although you can minimize the movement using different underlayment materials, it will still move.

– Placing the tiles against each other will eventually damage them. If you continuously rub the edges of two tiles together one or both will eventually chip (and you need to get out of the house more, or at least find another hobby). The expansion and contraction of wood or concrete will do the same thing.
– Although you can minimize this using different underlayment materials, it will still move.

A lot of natural stones, namely granites and marbles, are manufactured to be consistently sized. For the most part all the tiles are identical. This makes a lot of people want to install them without grout lines.
The best thing to do is use the smallest grout line your particular tile will allow and get a grout that closely matches the tile.

• For most granite and marble tile – use either 1/32 or 1/16 inch grout lines.
• For most other tile – use 1/16 or 1/8 inch lines or the smallest grout lines the tile will allow.

To figure out how small you can go:
• Place nine tiles in a 3 X 3 foot square butted against each other.
• Measure corner to corner diagonally both ways and see how close they are. If they are within 1/16 inch that is the size grout line you can use safely.
• With glass tile – can also use a clear caulk.

If you truly dislike the look of grout, however, and you plan on installing your tiles in a dry area, you may be able to get away without using a grout joint, provided you purchase Rectified Tiles that are rectified to 0.0025 inches in variance:
• Rectified tiles are porcelain or ceramic tiles that have been ground down to be perfect and uniform in size and shape.

• Because there are numerous manufacturers of rectified tiles, The American National Standards for Ceramic Tile Installation recommends that anyone looking to install the tiles without grout joints purchase tiles that have been rectified to 0.0025 inches in variance or less; larger variances would demand at least a small grout joint.

The above information is from the www.floorelf.com

Technology for the Kitchen

Technology is used in most all areas of our lives these days.  Even more so in the kitchen.

Are you tired of seeing receptacles on you backsplash or on the side of your kitchen island?  Now there are new ways to have your electrical needs met without the eyesore of traditional power receptacles.  Mockett.com has grommets that can be installed in your counter top.  There is one that will pop up when needed and there is a wireless power grommet that will charge your smart phone and all Qi compatible devices.



The Adorne Collection from Legrand takes undercabinet lighting to a whole new level.  This collection is a track system that fits underneath the wall cabinets and has ports for LED puck lights,  USB outlet modules, tablet cradles, phone cradles and a digital music kit just to name a few.



Mashable.com has a list of some other small and not so small technological finds that can make life easier.  Check out their list of items that includes an egg minder, crock pot WeMo and even Launchport.  http://mashable.com/2014/03/04/high-tech-kitchen-gadgets/#F5IIhEaYkkqm



Kitchen Storage Ideas

The kitchen is the most used room in the home.  Here are some kitchen storage ideas that can help your kitchen be amazingly functional.

Spice storage is a must for every kitchen.  There are several options for storing spices.  Pullouts are very popular but don’t rule out a spice drawer.

Pantry storage and accessories – There are many options for pantry storage.  Pullouts in base cabinets is a great option for otherwise wasted space or tall pullouts that are easily accessible.

Deep pot drawer are especially convenient when located near the range.

Dish drawers with a peg system is great for storing dishes.

Trash and recycle cabinets are very functional.  Consider placing one of these cabinets next to the sink area.


Mixer lifts are great for those who love baking and want their stand mixer readily available.

Appliance garages hide all of the clutter that can take up valuable counter top space.

Under sink storage is an area that most people don’t think about.  There are options for making the storage under a sink very accessible.

Utilize storage at the end of a cabinet run or in an island under a bar overhang.

Toe kicks are not usually considered when thinking of storage space.

Install cabinets that go all the way to the ceiling.  The higher space is perfect for items that are seasonal or that are used less often.