Monday, January 19, 2015


We are in the process of renovating the Oakland Plantation. The home is a treasure, standing tall since 1784.  BuildSense is currently transforming the cellar into a wine enthusiast’s playground. It has been a challenge uncovering building techniques that are 231 years old, and shoring up that the house may stand another few centuries.

Renovation work like this is impossible to fully figure out before construction because you don’t know what lies hidden beneath the surface. Proper planning and design drawings are still required, but one must be able to tweak and/or adjust the plan where required when uncovering the unknown. Each day brings exciting new problems to tackle with new design solutions.

The project is far from completion so check back soon to see how the space finishes out.
Oakland Plantation Original House
The old basement was a hodgepodge of materials and chaos
 Before we can build up we must strip down, setting a new concrete slab floor with a proper foundation, insulation, vapor barrier, and water drainage.  Many old homes not only omitted a wide concrete footing, they placed the first coarse of stone foundation directly on soil.  These homes were built to move as the red clay expands and contracts.  It is very different than modern building practices but after 231 years I’d say this house has done all the settling it is going to do and is just fine.
New drainage was set prior to the new floor slab
New vapor barrier was set prior to the new floor slab
The best way to showcase aged rustic materials is by creating a uniform clean edge separating it from the new.  A curb can serve many purposes including a supporting element for the stone walls as well as an additional entry stair.
New floor slab with new edge curb. In this area the curb allows for a final step.
The edge curb uniformly supports the wall and cleans the edge where  the 231 year old foundation wall previously met grade.
The curb cleans up the base of the old fireplace as well.

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