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YAHT: House foundations... and house design

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YAHT: House foundations... and house design

Old 03-17-08, 12:15 PM
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YAHT: House foundations... and house design

Two completely seperate questions and trains of thought. Here's the first.

1.) Anyone know much about shrink and swell soil? What about Grip-Tite Foundation Pier System? Our house is very near the James River in an older neighborhood in Williamsburg VA. Lots of houses in the neighborhood are on/near the water, and from what I understand shrink/swell soil has been the culprit of some foundations issues.

We knew that going in... french drains were installed to help before we bought the house 9 months ago. We knew there were a couple cracks in the crawlspace in the foundation- none big or of much concern- they did not appear to be recent according to home inspector. But when we moved in, our master bedroom closet door was very tight when opening/closing and our bathroom door a few feet away was fine. Now it's the opposite. We knew cracks around door frames were there and just something we had to live with. Also, we knew that with the cinder blocks holding up the floor joists, a couple of them were not lining up correctly. One has a gap of a few inches between the joist and cinder block. Another has some pieces of wood an inch or so between the block and the joist.

We've got a company coming out for a free inspection, and one of their products is Grip-Tite Foundation Pier System. But I don't know much about it, if it will even help with shrink/swell soil, and what we should do, or if we should just have partial cinder blocks cut to line up, etc. Nothing wrong with sagging floors, windows opening/closing, floor/wall lining up, etc.

2.) What factors into how you design and theme the interior and exterior of your house?

We like colonial look of houses, yard, brick and cobblestone driveway/stoop like in the picture... We especially like the driveway.

Our house looks much like this right now, except it's a 1-story.

But at the same like the look of stucco, caribbean beach house look with a stone pattern driveway and the look that goes with the beach house. But will the cobblestone driveway look OK with a stucco/spanish looking exterior?

Same for the interior... do we have to have the same inside style that we have on the outside? We like the colonial look of the brick fireplace, but also modern/tiled fireplace. We like colonial dark hardwood floor, but also cream or terracotta or pattern tile and light colored hardwood.

We've got Colonail Williamsburg/Jamestown/Yorktown design touches and trinkets, and the same with shells and other items from when I lived in Bahamas. Can you have one look inside, one look outside? Would a driveway like one the picture clash with stucco exterior, iron handrails and railings and caribbean house style accents? We've been clearing out the yard, the driveway is cracked and needs to be redone, the siding is aluminum and old and needs either painting or replacing soon, so we want to decide what look we want before we begin anywhere. On one hand we like and embrace the colonial look/design (note we are in a colonial area, older nice neighborhood, about 70% of houses are colonial- a few contemporary, modern, etc) but also like caribbean beach house design and look.

Anyone have any advice? Any pictures of a yard/exterior/interior you've redesigned/remodeled? Any suggestions? Any websites with tons pictures of different interiors/exteriors without buying a dozen house/design magazines?
Old 03-17-08, 12:27 PM
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I have a Victorian on the outside with the parquet floors/mahogany inlays and Victorian architecture but no Victorian design on the inside. I love certain elements of the Victorian era but NOT the design with the fru-fru lace and gaudy antique furniture.

sorry for just answering one question.
Old 03-17-08, 12:35 PM
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I would consider resale.

I don't know if it would be desirable to have the only stucco home in the area.

With that in mind, I would keep the exterior more traditional, and do the inside how you want it.

As for foundations, I don't know. I am used to having full basements.
Old 03-17-08, 12:44 PM
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Originally Posted by jonw9
I would consider resale.

I don't know if it would be desirable to have the only stucco home in the area.
Good point.

The neighborhood has probably a few hundred homes. Most of them are colonial. However many of them aren't. There's a handful of them that are contemporary, modern, brick non-colonial, and a few that we've seen that are stucco. And we haven't driven down each road in the neighborhood yet. While resale is something we are thinking about, it's not a cookie-cutter neighborhood with each house looking very very similar.

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