Building From the Bottom Up

This house on Eigleberry Avenue is being raised to make room for

Accountant begins unusual remodeling project
Gilroy – Walking down Eigleberry Street one immediately notices something awry. The 1,500-square-foot Victorian house at 7527 Eigleberry St. is seemingly floating 10 feet off the ground.

Steven Schrepfer is raising the floor. Literally.

For the past 19 years he has run his accounting business from that 109-year old house on Eigleberry Street. But to double the size, Schrepfer is doing something a bit unusual. Instead of adding from the top, he’s building a new first story.

“It looks pretty strange right there up in the air like that,” he admitted, looking at the house.

Closer examination reveals two steel beams suspending the house. Wood beams prop the outer edges while ropes attach the building to nearby trees.

Last week,, the house was lifted using four hydraulic jacks . Schrepfer and his employees watched from lawn chairs as their office was lifted skyward. It took three hours to raise the building three feet.

Schrepfer thought of the idea more than two years ago.

“Initially I was thinking I could just remodel the basement … but the idea grew on me,” he said.

The house is painted gray with dark finishwork and scalloped shingles on the roof. A large bay window with red stained glass sheets adorns the front. Now, three bedrooms with three bathrooms will occupy the first floor.

To preserve the old home, Schrepfer decided against leveling it.

Despite enduring more than a century’s worth of earthquakes and storms, the house was only 3/8 of an inch off of level, Schrepfer said.

“It’s incredibly well built for the time,” he said. “If it wasn’t perfectly built in the first place, I probably wouldn’t be doing this.” It took him two and half years to get building permits.

The accounting office is still open despite the construction. Next week the cement foundation should be poured. The house will be lowered in about three to four weeks.

“This is only half the project,” Schrepfer said. Behind the house, he is building a three bedroom two-bath home in the backyard.

“I don’t know of anyone foolish enough to do this,” Schrepfer said grinning.

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