Monday, June 7, 2010


Just about a year and a half ago I turned the big 50. My wonderful husband Steve told me to pick any project around the house and he would happily complete it for my milestone birthday.

Hum...what would it be? I wanted so many things around the house...a chicken coop, an outdoor shower, a gazebo...all extra fun things. Ooohhh, what a wonderful offer. I spent many moments dreaming about what I would choose for my special birthday project.

But everyday coming and going out our back door I was face to face with the UGLY, UGLY back steps. In Feng Shui terms, I know that coming and going everyday through a dismal, energy draining space is a big NO NO.

Finally Steve asked for my birthday decision.

What would it be...the outdoor shower that would make me think of Cape Cod every time I used it?

The chicken coop so that I could finally try raising chickens in the city?

Alas, I chose the practical. I asked for new back steps with an adjoining deck. I thought that we needed a place where we could just travel a few steps and have a cozy place to read the morning paper or somewhere to sip our evening glass of wine while we share the day's events.

It's a year and a half later and THE DECK IS FINISHED!!! YEAH!!! WE LOVE IT!!

I thought that I would take a few minutes and share with you our journey to the new deck.

Honestly, at times it has been challenging. We are two strong minded designers with very different styles, coming together to agree on what will be best for our modest little home.

See the original back steps that someone cobbled together out of a combination of block, brick and concrete. SOOOO UGLY. No amount of paint could fix these.

As I began dreaming about what the steps and deck would look like, I searched for inspiration in books and on line. I found the above picture and thought it would be a nice detail to incorporate.

The area above our garage doors cries for something, for some kind of detail to jazz it up. We could add brackets and some small structure to overhang the garage doors (see picture above) and then turn the corner and tie this into the new deck structure.

Steve calls this scope creep.

I saved a few of my sketches. Our house is very close to our neighbors and at times I long for a little privacy. We even share a portion of the driveway with them.

By the way - our neighbors are VERY NICE.

Pictured above is one of Steve's preliminary renderings of what the deck and steps could look like. (Shhh, don't tell him but I wasn't wild for this.)

Another view of Steve's initial rendering of a deck idea.

Here is the before picture. Note the birdhouse above the door. The same bird family has lived there for many years. Every spring I hear peeps from the new baby birds. They drive the Jax the cat absolutely wild sometimes.

See how the garage doors need something. Then there is the problem with the funky little overhang at the door. It's a future project.

Ta Da. Here are the back steps today. It is so much better. Steve built the deck over a few weekends and with many trips to the store for wood.
Who knew you could get all that wood in my station wagon????

There was some negotiating about the design before he started. Eventually Steve convinced me to RELAX and let him have some fun with the design. And...he did have fun!

View down the driveway before the deck (and before my arborvitae tree binge.)

View down the driveway after the deck and the new plantings. Doesn't it feel like the deck really "belongs" there??? That's good design.

Another view of the steps and deck. Note the curve on the vertical members. What a great detail! It adds visual interest and just feels good.

Another view of the curved verticals.

Note how the front and sides meet. Perfect connection.

A view from on the deck. What a great feel it has. It's very comfortable and private without feeling too closed in. Steve used a combination of materials and finishes to add interest and contrast.

Turned out great...don't you agree?

Alex has been playing guitar on the deck and loving it.

Steve is on his way home as I write this and I know that a half hour from now, I will be sitting in one of these chairs, sipping a glass of Chardonnay, and talking over the day.
I think that I chose well. The new stairs and deck provide a wonderful transition from the outside world to the comfort of our cozy home.
The spaces are both function and esthetically pleasing to the eye. That's good design.
Happy Belated Birthday to me!!!
Please let us know what you think of the deck...we would love to hear your comments!!

1 comment:

  1. I LOVE the new deck! We will have to have a nice fresh lunch from your garden and a glass of wine later this summer. I will probably have a 1 year old date with me too!


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