New life for family home

When Angela Simmons, Jeff Behmer and family approached us to design a renovation for their beach house on Fripp Island there were a ton of issues that needed to be remedied. The house was built in 1976 and had not been updated since. The house felt dark, closed off and totally 70’s (and not in a cool, vintage way). Worst of all, the house was located in the flood plain, which meant, per FEMA’s rules, that the house would either have to be raised or the total value of the improvements could not exceed 50% of the total appraised value of the house. It needed more work than that, so up she went!

Raise the Roof

(And the rest of the house)

Andy Meloan of A & D Builders was the general contractor for the project. After the building permit was issued, Andy prepped the house for the lift. He had to disconnect all the utilities and all the fasteners that previously anchored the house to the foundation. The electricity was disconnected at the transformer and a new temporary power pole was installed. The chimney was also removed.

Wolfe House and Building Movers lifted the house. Wolfe specializes in moving historic buildings, so lifting a house is easy peasy. Wolfe’s engineers designed the temporary supports for the project prior to the Wolfe team arriving on site for the lift. Once on site, the team created openings in the foundation wall. Steel beams were slid under the house and supported on cribbing. After all the steel beams were in place, the house was lifted one foot with a unified hydraulic jacking system. The first lift was limited to one foot to ascertain if there are any issues. Once the go ahead is given, the house was lifted above the final height and the cribbing is extended to support the steel beams.

Andy then built the new foundation for the house. Gaps were left at the steel beams’ locations. Once the new foundation was completed, the house movers lowered the house onto the foundation, removed the steel beams and the cribbing. The gaps from the steel beams were filled and the house was secured to the foundation. The renovation continued with the reconnection of the utilities and all other work that was planned.



After the house was safely raised, the renovations began in earnest. The house is barely recognizable. The interior walls were taken down to studs, new electrical and HVAC systems were installed. New systems, plus new spray foam insulation means the house is far more energy efficient than before. The existing master bedroom became a guest bedroom and the master suite was built where the garage had been located. A new garage and guest suite was built unattached. The loft area got built-in bunks for the kids. There is ample outdoor living space, including a screen porch. The Simmons-Behmer’s family vacation home is bright and airy, and a place for the family to congregate for generations to come.

Time Lapse Video of the raising the house!