Carrying the Torch

New construction

Design professional
Suzannah Tobin, Architect

Erin Parker, PE

The challenge
A lovely 300 ft. site on historic Torch Lake had a very high (18-inch) water table.

The solution
Soil borings and analysis indicated we have really excellent soils, albeit with a perched water table. Collaborating with Erin Parker, PE, we laid a shallow masonry foundation over an engineered stone subgrade. To keep some room in the crawl, we employed 8 in. steel beams in lieu of 16 in. wood beams and poured a concrete slab on deck. This method afforded us the opportunity to install tubing in the concrete pour lending the client excellent, robust and perfectly even in-floor heat. Also the 7 in. thick floor system and 8 in. beams netted out at 15 in. and none of these materials are subject to rot. A similar wood floor system would have been 16 in. wood joists on 16 in. wood girders. The result of this planning is 22 in. clear under the low beams, instead of 6 in. (yikes!). This tailored home sits on a solid, non-combustible floor system with 2.5 times the live load capacity of a wood floor; it's warm through and through and perfectly dry on one of the wettest buildable sites.


870 East Eighth
Traverse City, Michigan

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