The line between remodeling and new construction is often a blurry one — and our renovation of a faded 1958 Sears kit home definitely crossed that line. Situated on a beautiful treed lot in Zionsville, the home’s foundation was solid enough to give us a starting point for extending its footprint to create the dream home our clients envisioned. Here’s how we did it.
Draw Twice; Build Once
There’s an old saying in construction that highlights the careful preparation needed to minimize wasted materials and time: “Measure twice; cut once.”
During our initial interview and design phases, the owners expressed a desire to keep the home’s existing basement and build out onto the lot from there. Our team needed to fully understand not only how the new construction would fit with the surrounding landscape but also how it would connect to and extend the space. So we engaged an architect to create a drawing of the current structure, then we worked with our designers to overlay new architectural drawings onto it.
The extra drawing was our “measure twice” planning step, not only providing us with a thorough, detailed picture of where we were starting from but allowing our team to refine our vision of how to best use what we already had in place to get us where we wanted to go next.
Taking a Strong Foundation to a Whole New Level (Literally)
The new construction needed to nestle down into a sloping lot. Gary Nance Design created a blueprint for a multi-level home reminiscent of boulders growing up out of the landscape. Because we wanted excavation to begin before demolition was completed, we phased the demo to start with the parts of the existing home that abutted the new foundation and crawl spaces. We preserved only the basement itself — all other contact points (columns, etc.) were replaced to eliminate any questions about the structural integrity of the construction. Great care was taken by our construction partner’s skilled machinery operators to do as little damage as possible to preserve as many of the surrounding, mature trees as possible.
Once excavation was completed, the construction team framed up the foundation and poured concrete into the forms, creating a gentle, stair-stepped footprint that more than tripled the size of the existing home. After the concrete cured, they removed the framing and prepared for the next steps. We like these photos because they capture how the different zones of the new house’s design follow the slope of the land, down and away from the original structure.
Framing Up the Home’s Foundation for Future Success
The construction crew leveled the surface before pouring and smoothing the new concrete foundation and crawl spaces. Finally, they framed up the flooring, and up we went from there!
The end result was nothing short of transformational. Although many home renovations involve adding onto an existing structure, the complexities of this project — retaining the existing basement, designing for the slope, preserving the property’s mature trees and natural beauty — challenged our teams to take our planning and execution processes to a level of detail that was both exciting and rewarding for us.