For the Lairds, the struggle is how to deal with the radically altered look of their historic home. "For Jed and me, the key is to make it feel as much like our old house as possible, rather than drawing attention to the new elevation," says Christine. They are leaning toward camouflaging their concrete-block piles with brick veneer salvaged from the house's original foundation and installing breakaway lattice or louvered panels in the areas between them.
Shown: Concrete-block walls, which can be veneered with brick, stone, or clapboards, have connectors that are engineered to come apart under extreme pressure. Vents allow them to withstand mild storm surge.