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D. Batia Interiors: Capturing the essence of the Coast for 75 years

Legacy furniture store has been serving the Gulf Coast since 1947

Known for her sophisticated eye and attentive ear, Debbie Batia has been helping Gulf Coast residents and business owners design stylish and functional spaces with elegance for decades. 

And she has no plans to stop any time soon. 

“I have been doing this my entire life and never considered anything different,” Batia says. “I have many people, friends and family, asking when I plan to retire, but the truth is I don’t know that I ever will.” 

Batia is the owner and lead interior designer of D. Batia Interiors LLC. She spends her days offering her expertise and experience to those looking to update a room or two or start fresh with a major undertaking like a new home or business. 

Either way, Batia ensures the entire project will be smooth, thoughtful and successful from start to finish. 

“I appreciate all aspects of styles, colors and wood tones that interior design has to offer,” she says. “I also appreciate how it can be interpreted differently for each individual, creating a unique style. My favorite style would personally have to be transitional, which is a mixture of various styles and colors.” 

D. Batia Interiors was once the local furniture store Merchiston Hall Galleries, founded in 1947. Batia’s parents, Leo and Dottie Crapo, took over in 1957 when they bought it from the Napier family. 

“I began working in the business in 1977 and took over in 2005 after my mother retired,” Batia says. 

The business was renamed D. Batia Interiors in 2017 after moving to the current location on Howard Avenue in Biloxi, only a few blocks away from the original store. 

Batia has nothing but praise for her clients, many of whom have become close friends over the years. She also has amassed many stories, including one involving large armoire that a client purchased for a beautiful antebellum home on the beach. 

“It did not fit through any of the home’s staircases or hallways,” she recalls, laughing. “To get it up to the second floor, we had to rent a crane that lifted it up over the balcony onto the second-floor porch, where it could be moved through double French doors into the bedroom it was purchased for.” 

Unfortunately, Hurricane Katrina was unkind to that antebellum manor on Aug. 29, 2005. 

“Katrina destroyed that home,” Batia says, noting that the storm also devastated the original store and her private residence, which ironically led to events she hails as her biggest accomplishments. 

Original Store, circa 1947

“It was a very stressful time for me personally, as it was for many others here on the Gulf Coast; but with hard work and perseverance, we made it through,” she says. “And on top of finding a new location for the store and obtaining stock, I was able to reopen the store on Nov. 3, 2005, which is the original anniversary date of the store opening in 1947.” 

And on Nov. 3, 2022, Batia will celebrate her family’s 75-year legacy. 

“It’s been a tough 17 years since Katrina, and I started the business over on my own,” she says. “But my stubborn will, hard work and persistence have gotten me through, just like it has so many. I miss the beautiful store that was the center of our lives for 58 years until 2005 changed our lives forever. Thank you to all our wonderful clients, friends and family who have been there when we needed them. Here’s to many more years serving the Gulf Coast.” 

Written by Cherie Ward

Cherie Ward is an award-winning writer and journalist from Ocean Springs, Miss.
Connect with her by email at chereliseward@gmail.com or find her @cherieward on Instagram.

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