From the front, the 1935 cottage at 4302 Avenue D looks very much as it did in 1935, but underneath and inside, big changes are happening.
Garland Turner of WoodEye Construction and Design Inc. has raised the 504-square-foot home and built a complete basement underneath it.
While construction is still underway, it will be one of seven homes on the annual Historic Hyde Park Homes Tour, which also includes the Elisabet Ney Museum, on Nov. 10.
The home is one of two Calcasieu cottages on this lot. These cottages were created by Austin’s Calcasieu Lumber Company, which would create kits for homes that could be put up quickly. The home next door was remodeled with an addition some years before. This one was in its original configuration before the remodeling began two years ago. Turner has experience with these homes, having lived in one himself earlier in his life.
Originally, the home’s configuration was very broken up, with a small kitchen, small living room, bedroom and bathroom. That was it.
Owner Tyson Tuttle, who originally lived across the street and owns both Calcasieu cottages on this lot, says the home was increasingly becoming difficult to rent out.
"This home was in need of modernizing," he says. Also, it was pier-and-beam with nothing below the floor to stop the critters from coming inside.
He wanted to keep the integrity of the original home but bring in more light and create a usable space. The new home will include just an open kitchen and living room upstairs. The kitchen will feature custom-built cabinetry and custom stainless steel counters and sink. It will exist along the wall across from the staircase leading to the new basement. To make the most use of the living room area, Turner designed a space to hang a TV on the staircase wall.
Upstairs the floor will be white oak. All the original windows have been kept and restored to be more usable.
The back wall is the biggest change upstairs. It is now a series of glass doors and windows that open to the backyard. A new porch is being built.
Downstairs, Turner is keeping the look of the concrete walls with the rebar structure inside. The floors are concrete with flecks of color added.
A half-bathroom sits underneath the staircase, but a full bathroom with a shower and large tub and the washer and dryer is inside the master suite.
Because the space does not allow for a closet, a built-in wardrobe will take up one wall.
Turner added a lot of light downstairs by creating windows that double as escape hatches and a glass panel in the floor to draw light downward.
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The basement is as much an addition of space as it is a solution to any water collection problems for the lot. Multiple pumps keep water from pooling along the basement walls.
A steel apron around the home and corner siding that slants up also helps keep water away from the building.
Turner is hoping the home will be completed by Christmastime.
The goal has been to make it something special that honors the home’s history but makes it livable for a modern tenant.
"This is fun," Turner says of the home.