The Permit

March 13th, 2020

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.


The Permit
March 13th, 2020
The Complaint
March 26th, 2020
The Cave
April 14th, 2020
The Supports
May 1st, 2020
The Rebar
May 21st, 2020
Volunteer Work Day 1
June 7th, 2020
First Inspection
June 29th, 2020
The First Pour
July 3rd, 2020
Volunteer Work Day 2
July 12th, 2020
The Bamboo (fun video)
July 22nd, 2020
Second Inspection
August 15th, 2020
The Second Pour
September 9th, 2020
Volunteer Work Day 3
October 10th, 2020
Volunteer Work Day 4
October 11th, 2020
Volunteer Work Day 5
October 17th, 2020
Video Tour
October 18th, 2020
Volunteer Work Day 6
October 18th, 2020
More Rebar
October 23rd, 2020
The Staircase
October 29th, 2020
The Steel
December 21st, 2020
Final Pour!
March 13th, 2021
Second Entrance
June 15th, 2021
Bathroom/Wet Room
July 15th, 2021
Rain DeGrey and Shay
August 7th, 2021