Captain’s Log: Two Concrete Pours & Interior Design

Rendering of Reverend Walkers Home from the Street

Welcome back, dear reader, to my captain’s log! This is where the story of Reverend Walker’s Home will be kept for posterity. My hope for this journal is to provide an accurate account of my crew’s efforts to design and build a rather unique home. It should gladden you, dear reader, to learn that since my last entry, the team has been able to pour both the slab and the column footings, allowing us to be free of the famous West Alabama mud for some time. The next step will be to raise the pavilion roof which will provide us with protection from the summer sun and afternoon showers while we work on the volumes underneath.


Concrete Slab
finished slab

Reverend Walker’s Home invests heavily in the initial infrastructure. By providing a large, continuous slab foundation, a homeowner can rapidly build an addition, if desired. After earthwork and plumbing, the crew began setting the slab perimeter formwork. With our teams’ expert board physicists, we pushed, pulled, and leveled the boards until we had a square and level rectangle to hold the concrete.

Students Set Formwork for Concrete
setting formwork

While we finished up formwork, our modest order of 88,000 pounds of gravel was delivered to the site. Upon completion of our forms, the gravel was spread within the formwork with the help of the Myers’ Home Team! We were rather fond of the gravel mounds and found it bittersweet to move them. We also owe the Myers’ Home team our gratitude and more than a few milkshakes. After the gravel was in place we stretched out the vapor barrier which will prevent ground moisture from infiltrating the slab.

Under-Slab Vapor Barrier
vapor barrier
George set a form box around shower drain
stub-out formwork

With the end in sight and spirits high, we made quick work of setting perimeter rebar and laying steel mesh. The slab is extra-enforced which will hopefully work to prevent any major cracking in the future. The last step was to pour concrete! On a particularly dry Tuesday, and with the help of Clyde and Jimmy from Toews Bros. Inc., we poured and finished 27.5 cubic yards of concrete to form the slab. But we couldn’t rest yet, dear reader, with the wind at our backs we aimed to have the column brackets cast in footings by the end of the week. 

Students Laying rebar mesh
rebar mesh
pour and finish


The grand feature of Reverend Walker’s Home, the large pavilion roof, is supported by twelve 8″ x 8″ solid sawn columns that are set into Sturdi-Wall® wet set anchor brackets. The greatest challenge in making these footings was the very low tolerance of the column to truss connection. Our goal was to create a system where the brackets could be set and held in place by formwork prior to pouring concrete, which would allow for very precise alignment and measuring. My team did mock-ups of three versions of the bracket jig, each one getting progressively more simple and effective. After our final test, we decided we were ready to move on to the real thing. Rebar ties were added to the brackets, 18″ diameter holes were augured, the formwork was built and reinforced, and the brackets were placed and secured. We were then ready to pour.

students discuss pier jig with professor
discussing the jig with our professor, Steve Long
student bends rebar
making rebar ties
student fastens rebar ties to bracket rods
the ties work to prevent pier blow-out
student augers holes for column piers
Addie the professional augerer
Finished Bracket in place
finished footing
Brackets Set
ducks in a row


Alongside sitework, we have been developing interior finishes for Reverend Walker’s Home. In such a small home, we want to reduce the amount of clutter on the interior design. We also are committed to creating an environment which does not dictate or imply a certain type of lifestyle. Like the exterior of the home, the interior should be a springboard for the creativity of the client, and encourage many lifestyles. For now, the interior is made of cork flooring, plywood and drywall for the core area, and drywall for the overarching enclosure shell. This design work is still in progress and will continue to develop as we begin to build the space.

rendering of kitchen interior
render of living interior
living area
Potato Head the site cat
Taterhead: Self Portrait

As you might have gathered, dear reader, our journey is fraught with exciting challenges, and each day brings a new opportunity to push my crew and the design of Reverend Walker’s Home to heights yet unobserved. After all that I’ve found in my travels around I can scant recall a home so lovely. Alas, this is where I must leave you, for naptime beckons me, and I believe I will choose my favorite sun spot for this day’s occasion. As always, I will continue to act strictly yet thoughtfully as I lead my crew to success.

With regards,