Replacing a house that was destroyed by the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake, we designed this house in the style of the original while making it larger, adding a second story, and adding a generous curved front porch. The original house was red-tagged by the town as a house that would have to be completely demolished.
While we mourned the loss of a turn-of-the-century Victorian, it did give us the freedom to start from scratch and design a house that made better use of the corner lot. The town encouraged us to replace the house with one fitting the context of the historic neighborhood. Our clients wanted to respect the memory of the original house so we made use of its detailing, massing, and roof forms while adapting these to the size of the new two-story house.
Our soils report showed that the house sat on a narrow but deep layer of sandy silt which was subject to liquefaction during the quake. This helped explain the near destruction of the original one story house while neighbors nearby were nearly untouched by the quake. It also dictated that the foundation for the new house be much different that the original. We used a concrete pier and grade beam foundation with piers nearly 30 feet deep to support this house!