This is the first sketch of a design for a custom home to be built in Jacksonville, Florida on the Atlantic backwater. The owner is concerned about rising water and swells during hurricanes and decided that they wanted to be 11 feet above natural grade.
How to do this without it looking like it is sitting on a hill?
We will be building up 5 1/2 feet to the top of the turnaround in front. Then another 5 1/2 feet to the main entry and finished floor.
The garage will be about 1 1/2 foot higher than the turnaround and behind it will connect to the main house at the side via a ramp, required for a relative that will be using a wheelchair.
At the rear we are very close to wetlands and the owner wants the house right against them which means we will have to deal with a retaining wall 11 feet high and need to soften that look.
There is another retaining wall at left on the property line as the owner will be pulling in a boat trailer and looping back around.
At the front there are two terraces on either side of the main entry stairs with 'battered' walls. They will be clad in limestone to match the same used on the entry porch.
The house will be raised on concrete block and the first floor will also be concrete masonry units. The second floor is typically framed in wood. The second-floor system will be a series of 2 ft. wood trusses and the roof trusses pre-engineered. The roof will consist of flat concrete tiles to emulate a slate roof.
The alternative to berming up to the house would have been to have the ground floor be a garage, storage, and rec room, etc. with breakaway walls for a typical "V zone" here in Florida.
See example below of a Venetian style home built on the Gulf side with no berming and the ground floor on grade.