It was back in April of 2018, that I first began a discussion with an architect and structural engineer regarding a foundation replacement and dig out of the crawlspace basement beneath Black Thorn. It was mostly crumbling dirt and packed clay down there with an assortment of miscellaneous objects and random, forgotten things long abandoned, littering that shadowy space in dusty heaps.
The foundation replacement was much needed as the current one could be easily crumbled in my hands. My options were to either replace the foundation with another crawlspace basement or pay more, a lot more, to dig it out and create open, usable space. Possibly biting off more than I could chew but excited by the prospect, I decided on the latter.
On Friday the 13th, in March, after having worked on the drawings for nearly a year and a half, and waiting for over two months for approval from the City of Oakland, we finally got our permit! That was very exciting news. Three days later on Monday, the 16th, city government shut down, and the first shelter-in-place order was announced. We slid, by the seat of our pants, under a closing door and had barely made it.
By Monday, a crew of eager construction workers were masked up and already hard at work digging out trailers full of dirt and broken foundation pieces. It was an encouragingly productive, disturbingly strange, and confusingly uncertain beginning that was now unfolding around us.