PaperCity Magazine

PaperCity Dallas January February 2022

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from back surgery and using a walker, couldn't make it down the cellar stairs so Christy pushed him into a corner of the kitchen. Then she lay down on the floor, covered her head, and tried to hold the doors closed with her feet. "Suddenly the windows exploded into the house, and a ton of debris was flying around, like the movies," Robby says. "Next, I could hear a loud groaning, then a crack." The tornado had lifted the southeast corner of the roof seven feet into the air, and slammed it back down. As quickly as it all started, it was over. In the aftermath, Christy and Robby were covered in debris and glass, terrified but miraculously unhurt. The children, also unhurt, screamed for their parents from the cellar, certain they had been killed. As the Berrys dug their way out, they used their cellphones to illuminate the destruction: The house and greenhouse were demolished, the pool was full of broken furniture, and their cars were destroyed. All of their trees had been uprooted and jumbled so high around the house they had to crawl through a dense tangle of branches to get out. Neighbors streamed into the street, surveying their own homes' damage and checking on each other. People were in shock. "We never heard tornado sirens or got emergency text messages on our phones," Christy says. NBC-5, which broadcast the Cowboys game that night, later apologized publicly for delaying six minutes while the tornado was on the ground before breaking in. The EF-3 tornado ravaged thousands of houses, schools, and businesses, causing $1.55 billion in damage, making it the costliest tornado event in Texas history. Remarkably, no one was reported to be seriously hurt. "We're all lucky to be alive," Robby says. I t took the Berrys 18 months to rebuild. Like many of the tornado's victims, they had to fight their insurance company to pay — but that's another story. If ever there was a rainbow after the storm, the Berrys' new house is it. Two of the first people Christy called when they got the green light to begin work were Chris Dauwe of Rosewood Custom Builders and Wren Homsey, whose company, Wrenovator, specializes in remodeling. "The house was just a shell when I saw it, and Christy was still very emotional about it," Homsey remembers. "So, we wanted to make it brighter and more fun, something they could look forward to." They also carefully rethought how the house would be used. Christy entertains a lot, and Robby often uses a walker, so the kitchen, dining, and living areas were combined into one large space with windows looking to the pool, and doorways were widened for easy accessibility. "It's very inviting, light, and fresh now," Homsey says. A pair of floating plaster walls with a fluted texture was designed to Lawson-Fenning sectional sofa. Warren Platner bronze table, Entler floor lamp. Lounge chair Marmol Radziner for McGuire. 78

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