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Remodeling and Home Design


On April 2nd 2012 we purchased a 2 bedroom 1 bathroom house on Alberta Street, a funky vibrant retail street in Portland, Oregon. Our goal was to create boutique, short term rentals in the commercial hub which we adore. Creating a rental that was as unique, sustainable, and as creative as Portland is, was & is the objective.

The first question was what to do with the house……we wanted to yield the maximum sleeping space out of the current square footage. This meant we had to make the decision, if we should dig out the basement, or jack up the house, so that we could access a comfortable head height for a second rental in the basement.

We set out by meeting with various sub contractors who raise houses, dig out basements, pour retaining walls, foundation wall, etc. After getting initial estimates, that information showed that digging out the house would cost roughly $25,000 and jacking it up would be $40,000. The pros of going down was that it would be less expensive. The pros of going up would mean more of a garden view feeling, less chance of moisture problems, and more overall light. Was that worth $15,000?

In the end we jacked the house up….why?? When we set out to sign the contracts with the subs a series of questions for digging the basement came to the table and ultimately their original estimates where no longer valid as they really didn’t include the full scope of work. Although financially frustrating we felt that going up was the ultimately the best so we went forward with raising the house.

How does lifting a house work? Well first you have to strip the area clean- take out the electrical, water, furnace, (we took out the old brick chimney chase and saved the brick to use as a wall in the finished living room). Then we had Ram Jack of Oregon come in and set the stage for the lift. They brought in rail road ties, steel I-beams, and a hydrolic lift for the project.

Ram Jack of Oregon - 866.472.6522


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