The Kuppersmith Project 2: Foundation

Danny Lipford goes over the plans for the Kuppersmith house with architect Pete J. Vallas.
Danny goes over the plans for the Kuppersmith house with architect Pete J. Vallas.

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We’re tackling the interior demolition work along with building a good foundation in our extensive renovation of a 1926, Tudor-style home. After our remodeling of the Kuppersmith Project is complete, the house will have been transformed into a beautiful and practical home any family would love to call their own.


With the demolition work on the outside of the house completed, we began gutting the interior of the house so we can start our remodeling with a clean slate. I hope to preserve as much of the unique character of the house as possible, so the heart pine floors and stone mantel were covered to protect them from damage during renovation.

Since the paint inside the house contained lead, precautions had to be taken to protect the workers and dispose of the potentially hazardous material properly. This included wearing protective clothing and respirators as well as encasing lead contaminated material in plastic before disposal.

Removing the old plaster and lath from Kuppersmith home.
Removing the old plaster and lath from Kuppersmith home.

In addition to removing the old doors and windows, the wood lath plaster walls were taken out to allow for installation of new insulation, wiring, and plumbing.


The first step in the rebuilding process was to layout the foundation for the new garage and the master bedroom addition. Trenches were dug for the poured concrete footing that will support the raised foundation on the addition.

The garage foundation had a monolithic slab construction with the footing around the perimeter that supports the weight of the walls and the slab for the floor poured at the same time.

Pouring the concrete foundation for the Kuppersmith garage.
Pouring the concrete foundation for the Kuppersmith garage.

With the concrete for the new foundation poured, the next step was to check the floor in the existing house with a transit to see if it was flat and level. Several low spots needed to be jacked up and repaired, and rotten wood from moisture damage under a window replaced.

Interior Framing

With a solid foundation under the floor, we turned our attention to the interior framing of the house including:

  • Reinforcing the headers over doors.
  • Replacing the floor joists under the upstairs bathroom.
  • Enlarged the doorway into the kitchen.
  • Adding framing upstairs for closets.
  • Reconfiguring the location of bedroom doors.
  • Removing part of the staircase landing floor.

Siding and Window Removal

The exterior walls of the house were next on the list, with the removal of the old cedar shakes and leaky wood windows. The sheathing on the outside walls of the house was covered with housewrap to prevent moisture and air infiltration which can cause rot and heat loss.

Garage Construction

The new garage was framed up using 2×6 studs, due to the height of the garage walls. Laminated wood veneer I-beams were used as joists to eliminate the need for supporting columns inside the garage.

Walls for the Kuppersmith garage going up
Walls for the Kuppersmith garage going up!

The plywood subfloor on the second floor room above the garage was glued and nailed to the joists to prevent squeaks and provide added strength. The roof on the garage was framed with steeply pitched rafters to match the look of the main house.

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