My husband, Bunker, who possesses one million and one magnificent aspects and features, is a former project engineer for a major Dallas construction company. This particular asset (along with several others…to be described in later posts) has made the home renovation/addition venture magnanimously easier. When Bunker worked for Manhattan Construction, he added dynamic buildings to the Dallas skyline, most notably the Ritz Carlton and The House. Everyday of every project Bunker took a photograph from the same vantage point to document the daily work. At the end of each project he put together a time lapse photographic montage of the whole building from rugged dirt lot into a tall glistening completed building. It was fascinating to see those seemingly small daily changes compiled into one massive completed project. Without those seemingly small daily changes, there would not be a completed building. Small changes are integral and indispensable to complete any project, large or small.
As newlyweds when Bunker worked for Manhattan Construction (we got married in 2007…10 years ago!), we lived in a uniquely wonderful uptown loft. Our view stretched out across the downtown skyline, and we watched with fascination as the skyline grew and expanded in height and breadth (Bunker’s projects were both within our viewpoint). It is hard to convey the remarkable changes that occurred in 2007 Dallas. It was remarkable. We thought we were witnessing a building boom that would end within the year and our uptown and our Dallas would remain relatively the same. Well, we left Dallas in 2008 for Bunker to attend school in North Carolina and then returned to Dallas in 2010. We came home to an almost new city. Those rapid changes continue apace today. New buildings, new neighborhoods, new connections from old to new, dangerous neighborhoods made safe, old restaurants and stores gone, new in their place, old homes and buildings gone, new in their place. Most of the changes are agreeable if not preferable, but some indeed make me sad and miss my old city.
Anyways, this is a very long way to say that seemingly small changes over periods of time can go almost unnoticed. I think it is important to notice these changes; whether the changes occur in our physical surroundings, in people we love, or within our own selves. Changes are necessary, meaningful, engaging, and essential to a thriving life. However, to have a positive outcome in a city, a neighborhood, a building, a home, or a personal life, these changes need to be respectfully noticed, thoughtfully planned, and they need to build upon a solid foundation. That is our ultimate renovation goal. We want to honor our solid home with a thoughtful renovation; we want to highlight the bright points, restore the dusty treasures, reconstruct the weaker places, and add needed space and modern conveniences. We want to accomplish all of this in our historic 1916 home within our beloved Dallas. Dallas, a modern city with a strong foundation in the past; a dynamic past that should not be forgotten but should be loved, remembered, and honored for the millions of little changes that have occurred over the past 100 years that have made this the city that we love and call home yesterday, today, and tomorrow.
Please enjoy Bunker’s documentary pictures of our addition in the making.
Below: Backyard prior to addition work. Date taken, May 9th, about a month after we purchased our home, one year ago.
Below: Removed utility shed and excavated area for new foundation. Date taken, January 3, 2017.
Below: Wooden perimeters and Rebar in place for addition foundation which includes the garage, breezeway, kitchen/den, and covered and uncovered patio. Date taken January 3, 2017.
Below: Next steps in preparing the new foundations include more Rebar, more wooden supports, and dry barriers. Dates taken January 11 and 17, 2017.
Below: Final supports in place for the concrete pour! January 25, 2017.
Below: Concrete day! January 27, 2017.
Below: Solid foundation barriers and piers are in place and wooden supports partially removed. January 28, 2017.
Below: Exterior foundations and piers are set. Now it is time to see the difference between the enclosed home addition and the exterior patio space, breezeway, and garage. I had no idea these foundation were prepared differently. But it makes sense. Below the home addition we need air floor, a crawl space, room for the HVAC system, and water and waste pipes. Therefore, the next step for the interior home addition is to lay wooden slats onto which our sub flooring and final flooring will be added. So, below you can see the foot print of the added den and kitchen and where it attaches to the existing house. February 9, 2017.
Below: Notice the difference? These are the exterior and garage addition areas. There is no need for crawl space or HVAC or plumbing space below the ultimate stone and concrete flooring, therefore, these areas are given a dry barrier and plenty more Rebar for structure and support in preparation for another thick concrete pour.
These are the steps that lead from the kitchen mudroom down to the breezeway and towards the garage. February 9, 2017.
Here we are on the breezeway looking towards the garage. February 9, 2017
Below you can see the added covered and uncovered patio space. Bunker’s office to the far left will have an uncovered patio. There will be added French doors between the two existing windows in the dining room (right picture) to open onto the covered patio. The new den will also have a door to allow access to the covered patio. February 9, 2017.
Below we are looking over the new patio from the East side of the property. Here you can see the uncovered patio space (closest to us in the picture) and the covered patio space (directly attached to the interior addition). February 9, 2017
Below: Second concrete pour day! Look how much coordination and quick team work it takes to pour and set solid level concrete. February 10, 2017.
And here are the completed foundations, with our names inscribed into the garage floor and all. February 14, 2017. It was a very happy Valentine’s day! Thanks to Bunker for giving time and thought to our house and thanks to him for these magnificent documentary pictures that break down the many small steps necessary to produce a solid foundation. It is these small daily changes that go almost unnoticed, but they are the essential elements needed to build a strong house, life, family, city. Make sure these small changes are solid, safe, positive, and thoughtfully connected to the larger life around it; this is the way to make our ever changing lives strong, fulfilled, stable, and meaningful.
Love and hugs,