THERESA AVE

Theresa Update 1 - Unconstruction by Trey Farmer

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Theresa aka Theresa Passive aka The Johnson House is well under construction now. Our pals over at CleanTag have gotten started working their magic - demo is now complete and we are on to framing and foundation. Trade Ready Deconstructors did a great job clearing the slate. They removed the old garage (see the hole in the jungle below?), and all of the main house except for the front porch, the floor and wall framing, and the concrete piers that were put in 15 years back (they were cedar posts for the first 88 years!).

Here lived a tiny garage that was great habitat for local natives (but not our cars).

Here lived a tiny garage that was great habitat for local natives (but not our cars).

The 104 year old house had a lot of little framing irregularities that are getting resolved and brought up to today’s standards - as the new piers get laid out, dug, rebarred, and poured.

What issues?

  • The floor framing was nearly an inch out of level over the span of the building.

  • An area that used to be an outdoor porch has floor joists that are 2x6s with 2x2s on top of them to match the 2x8s everywhere else.

  • The original windows and doors were framed without jack and king studs or headers.

  • The framing around the chimneys was a little wonky.


Headers? Who needs headers?! Blake’s new office is in the background and has a great sunset view.

Headers? Who needs headers?! Blake’s new office is in the background and has a great sunset view.

Funky framing - exploring the forensics of an old house with many stories to tell.

Funky framing - exploring the forensics of an old house with many stories to tell.

This Old House (Pt. 1) by Trey Farmer

Theresa Ave, known as the Johnson House to those in the neighborhood who have been around a bit, was built in 1914. It was part of the Washington Heights Development and is within a NRHD or National Register Historic District. The City’s website has more info on NRHDs here, and you can see the extent our our specific district below.

WEST LINE NATIONAL REGISTER HISTORIC DISTRICT

WEST LINE NATIONAL REGISTER HISTORIC DISTRICT

It also means that there is some fun history to hunt for. This clipping is from 1942, special thanks to Cara at the Historic Preservation Office for finding it and sharing.

The Austin American (1914-1973); Oct 11, 1942

We also like decorating with roses and ferns…

Another way that we can peer into the past is through the Sanborn Maps that can be accessed here with an Austin Library Card. The maps were originally used to estimate fire insurance and provide a great way to see a city back before Google Maps was around. Below is the plat for our block and the composite key map that is used to locate the “zoomed in” sheet. I also included the key below, there are some great little secrets it has to tell.

Austin’s 1935 Sanborn Map - Sheet 33

Austin’s 1935 Sanborn Map - Sheet 33

Austin’s 1935 Sanborn Map - Composite Key Map

Austin’s 1935 Sanborn Map - Composite Key Map

Sanborn Company Map Key

Sanborn Company Map Key

Theresa Ave by Trey Farmer

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We have lived in a beautiful old (for Austin) house in an amazing (and terrible) location for the past 7 years. Much of this blog will be dedicated to a major renovation/addition that is about to begin, and the why’s, how’s and what’s of all that goes into such an endeavor. We will get into many aspects of this project in the hopes that it might help others avoid some of the mistakes we have made, and learn some of the things that it took us a while to learn, and to give some insight into our process and priorities. Some of this will be specific to Austin, some specific to historic remodels, some to humid climates, some to high nosed architects, some to city living, and some to homeowners.