restoring structural integrity to a community with community.


the deconstruction process begins...

Deconstruction at Frankie & Erika's is moving so fast that this post is a long overdue.

(Looking from their old porch on down to the Holding House.)

Before more pictures, we feel it's important to describe the decision to shift from a renovation to a decontruction/rebuild.

As the crew began peeling back wallpaper and sheetrock they realized that the house had no studs and was supporting itself by distributing the weight of the roof across the interior and exterior walls. Given that news, the renovation began to look more like a foundation-up job. But that wasn't destined to be either.

After determining that the foundation repair would come at a high cost/low guarantee that could potentially undermine the quality of Frankie & Erika's new home, the crew set out to systematically deconstruct the house, storing each piece in a backyard staging area where it has been separated into reuse, recycle and trash piles. All of the pieces in the "reuse" pile will go into rebuilding the house, including wood siding and a sink that is to be refurbished.

Today's pictures should give you an idea of the "outside-in" approach the guys have taken. In this first, you can just barely see Kenneth and Michael as they take down the roof, beam by beam.

From the inside...

From the outside...

Into the backyard staging area...

In other news...

Benje takes a moment to relax; Vivian goes red-orange for fall; Jevon trades his sneaks for steel-toes in a concerted effort to avoid the emergency room; and Embrike reminds us how incredibly important it is for everyone to make their voice heard in the upcoming election.


a bit of history

Back in the Spring, Benje dug up a good deal of history on the development of Jubilee Park, and on platting in particular. Below is a plat dating from the late 1800's with details about land ownership and lot numbers written out by Mr. R.W. Grigsby.

Congo had not yet appeared, but begins where the creek turns South on the property marked "Jerry Crawford".

they're in!

Last week was a whirlwind!

Final site inspection.
Touch-ups and sweeping and bill-paying...

Green tag bestowed! (link HERE for a quick run-down of the inspection process)
Appliances purchased.
More sweeping...

Oncor and Green Mountain Energy cross wires (figuratively, at least).
Appliances installed.
Electrical gets uncrossed and lights turn on for the first time!
Frankie & Erika pack up.
Boxes and bed-sets move in,

and dancing begins!


moving day approaches...

Frankie and her daughter Erika will be the first family to move into the Holding House this Thursday, October 2!

Way back when this started, the decision about who moves in first, second, third went solely into the residents' court. There are 5 families (some with 8 members, some with 2) and 5 houses (some in need of renovation, some in need of ground up new construction) leaving loads of details to consider. Those details and discussions with residents led us to believe that the family of 8 would go first, but things have shaken out in a way we feel will enable each family to get the best quality design and construction: with a crew of 6 and funding set to come in the new year, it is better to take on a renovation project than a new construction project.

Kenneth, Embrike and Michael are here!

We're 'Lucky' to have an incredible AmeriCorps office here in Dallas that always comes through so we can keep folks paid for the wonderful work they do.

Case-in-point: early last week Benje, Jevon and Steve were joined by Kenneth, Embrike and Michael Lucky - cousins who are helping to finish out the Holding House and will move on with the crew to renovate Franke's house. They'll post over the next few weeks, so check back in for the introductions!


2008 AIA Dallas Design Awards

To all who swung a hammer, drew lines, cooked eggs, taped and bedded, blasted music, hauled lumber, poured concrete, bent re-bar, sat to visit...


Last evening, Thursday, September 18th, the Holding House / CONGO STREET INITIATIVE was honored with not one, but two awards at the 2008 AIA Dallas Design Awards celebration. The Holding House received both the Sustainability Award (.pdf) and the Community Design Award (.pdf). (Check out this video clip - Thanks, Curtis! - and mention in the Dallas Morning News)

Each and every one of you should be incredibly proud of your role in the project and the evolving process of the INITIATIVE - "your input is vital".


metal siding

This post is dedicated to our brave soldiers Kevin Rodriguez and Stevie Joe Wallace who have sucessfully completed the task of installing the metal siding. Congratulations, and thank you : ) Jevon has been drafted a few times as well.

ikea-white bathroom


After days of crumbling sheet rock, dust, coughhing, sneezing, paint, crusty rollers, sour necks, etc. - the sheetrock is finished. Hooray!


roof / insulation / siding

We successfully received a mechanical and framing inspections. The rafters are painted and the windows are fully installed.
Today insulation was installed but we had a little trouble with the inspection. Steve will contact the inspector to let him know that the main roof rafters are 2X8 not 2X6 as he had thought. The porch is built which makes it very easy for anyone interested to be able to walk through the house at any time.
The roof is done - black comp shingles; looks great. Sheet rock is going up in places where insulation is not an issue and Frank has been showing us how to put the metal siding panels together on the back of the house.
We are almost a week behind schedule at this point but everyone is willing to start coming in early/leaving late, or to come in during a weekend.
Brent brought a few guests today and they were all impressed with the house which of course made us feel really great about the project.
Tomorrow the sheet rocking and siding continues.