curved new home, square old basement
I looked at a potential project yesterday. The HOs have bought 10 acres with a 20 yr old (ish) log home on it, about 2000 SF on the main floor with a semi-finished basement of the same size. It is a vacation property at present and they have planted 6 acres of grapes which a local winery will manage and harvest. They knew going in that the log home was not their style so the sale deal contracts the vendor to remove the roof and log structure for subsequent salvage.
An architect has already been engaged and I was shown a scale model of a proposed site layout that has the new home laid over top of the existing basement, with interior stair access to it. There are two problems with this:
1. the new home is all curves – a double ‘S’ curve for the main residence, and single arc forms for the non-attched but adjacent garage/shop and art studio. The new home would fall partly inside and partly outside the current basement footprint.
2. currently the main floor is about 4 ft above grade on a reasonably flat site. The HOs are in their mid 60s and would like a main floor at or very near to existing grade; ie, no stairs to the entry as it stands now. This would mean either deepening the basement or swaling up the finished grade to the floor level.
I was asked if the basement could be retained – although not fully finished, it’s well lit – I counted at least 6 windows in the foundation walls – and appears to be dry. From what I can see there would be several places where new foundation walls would need to cross the existing foundation and would make for very complex cutting and piecing in. My off-the-cuff opinion was the simplest option would be to demolish and remove all the existing foundation structure and start fresh. If a basement was still desired, a smaller area under the central portion of the new home (coinciding with the excavation left from the original basement) could be dug deep enough for below-grade storage and utilities. The current model shows the new home to be a slab-on-grade construction utilising geothermal radiant heating.
Hopefully some of you can make sense of this description and comment on the feasibility of taking out 200 LF of 8ft concrete foundation and footing and 2000 sf of slab as opposed to making a new set of curved foundations and footings, and the subsequent regrading of the site to bring everything level to the main floor.
This sounds like a project that doesn't make sense from a lot of angles - but if the clients insist its what they want, and you got nothin' else doing, I'd do it T&M, and steer completely clear of the design decisions (let the archy handle those, that's what he gets paid to do).
Thanks for the comment. I had already proposed T&M for any work I do directly, as well as a percentage management fee on top. That's pretty typical for custom home work around here. You're right, I'll let the architects do their thing. We'll see how it progresses from there...Lignum est bonum.