Moving on up?

We are thinking about raising our house up above the Base Flood Elevation. This will not be an easy task

Existing house

We are sitting very comfortably now with the house on short piles.

beamed ceilingsemi circle

We love the beamed ceiling in the living area, the semi circle cutout to the stairway, the sunny dining room, the skylight over our bed, the little balcony, and our "new" kitchen.

We have been living on Bethel Island since 1979 and this is "home."

Our lot is at -5 feet. Our first floor is at 0' (zero) elevation. FEMA says the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) here is +7 feet. Contra Costa County requires 2 feet of freeboard above the BFE on the island. So, we are talking about raising the first floor to 14 feet above the ground.

Straight up? No.

I think the house would look very odd if we just lifted it straight up and built new stairs.

We need some way to make the house look as if it was meant to be up high. I made some flimsy paper models to try out various schemes.

1st idea with tuck under parkinglow front deck with one tuck under car spot

My first idea has a raised deck with lattice below and two tuck-under parking areas. The second idea has a lower deck and only one tuck-under parking spot. I wasn't able to make stairways for the models because the scale was too small for my fingers. You will just have to imagine them.

Circle deck10-foot deck

My third idea is a radius deck and a curved stairway. I like this, but I am afraid it would be WAY too expensive to build. The last idea is probably the most practical. It has a 10 foot high deck with stairs continuing up another four feet to the front door. Tuck-under parking can go under the deck.

Side view

Fly Around House

Animated house - not to scale
Sketch done with Google SketchUp after three hours of learning. It is not to scale: that comes in the next lesson.

bird's eye view
Existing plot plan sketch

An interesting thing: Quite a few buildings along the Sacramento River were built with flat roofs behind parapets. You can see some in Isletown. I guess we can consider them "vernacular architecture" in the California Delta. See Isletown Old Town for pictures of buildings with parapets and flat roofs. There are more of them in Locke, CA.
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Created: 1/22/2006 Copyright © 2006 Christine Thresh. Updated: 5/1/2006