Like most homes in the south our little abode has a deck in the backyard. There’s nothing really special about it…just a standard rectangle deck. Other than the red color, there was nothing offensive about it. It’s redeeming feature was it’s size (that’s what she said). The deck spans almost the entire length of the house. So, in that regard…nice. However, after spending some actual time living and using the deck we discovered a “usability” problem. This giant deck only had one tiny, crooked staircase to get into the yard.
Let me back up a second and explain why that’s such a big deal. The backyard is a main attraction…an oasis if you will. It’s a fenced in beauty that neighbors have actually admitted to coveting (Yeah, it’s weird). My point being, this deck was actually preventing you from really enjoying and accessing the the yard.
I mentioned it in passing to my dad. Or as he should probably be called “The Deck Master.” This man just really loves building decks…really nice decks. As I was saying, I mentioned my annoyance that there was only one way to get off the deck (unless you were willing to hurl yourself over the rail) and before I could finish he said “I’ll come over this weekend and take a look at it.” Oh, sweet. This was a bit surprising because he was so adamantly against helping us build a TV built-in. “You stick to what you know,” he said.
That weekend he came over and took a look and he didn’t seem too impressed. I could see his eyes judging its inferiority. Then, like fate he was walking down the staircase and the last step collapsed! And if you knew my dad, he’s not a big guy…muy tiny in a masculine way of course.
The Deck Master: “How the hell did this thing pass inspection?”
The Deck Master: “Look at it, it’s crooked!”
Me: “Uh, I dunno. It’s always been like that?”
The Deck Master: “We’ll have to start over.”
Me: “Ooook.” I’m gunna go inside…it’s hot.”
Honestly, I’m not sure how this conversation concluded…but I’m sure it was me going inside. Here’s a picture of the culprit. The death staircase!
Over the next couple weeks we discussed ideas for the deck. Our ideas ranged from simple. Aka, adding another set of stairs and rebuilding the crappy crooked staircase. To what evolved to the epic deck we have today. Whilst we were brainstorming my dad said:
The Deck Master: “You know what’s a shame? That stupid railing prevents you from actually seeing the yard.”
Me: “Huh, you’re right. I hadn’t thought about that.”
The Deck Master: “Why don’t we build it so it doesn’t have railings?
I mean look, he’s totally right. The railing totally separates the yard from the deck rather than them naturally leading into each other.
So, he sketched out an idea…a crazy smart idea. Keeping the base/foundation and size of the deck. But instead of adding railings and 2 staircases, we were going to add a staircase around the entire deck. Brilliant! Keeping safety in mind, we added some built-in seats to prevent people from falling off the corners/ends. Once we all agreed, we started building. By ‘we’ I mean The Deck Master and T. (Not me)
First things first…the boys got to destroy something. Their smiles were un-matched as they took a sledgehammer to the railings. In order to keep the deck usable while it was being built we decided to build it in 2 stages. First we’d tackle the left, then the right. Everything went pretty smoothly. I guess that’s what you get when you work with a Deck Master. The only tiny snafu occurred when they got to the corner (where the staircases had to connect). While they are building this section I came outside to check it out and here’s how it went down (some drama may or may not have been added):
Me: Uh, guys the corner isn’t straight.
Boys: Yes it is.
Me: Um, no. It’s not. (This went on until the next day).
Dad: The next day. I think it is actually crooked. I was aligning it to the original deck.
Me: You mean the one that we are replacing b/c it’s crooked?
Dad: The stink-eye and a smile were given.
Boys: Man, we’re going to have to redo this WHOLE section. Tear it all out and start over.
Boys: All that work and time was for nothing…DAMN.
Me: Um, guys…
Boys: We’ll have to go get so much more wood…
Boys: We’ll have to cut all these pieces and pull up all these boards.
Me: GUYS! Why can’t we just cut this little piece and just pivot the frame?
Me: I’ll be inside if you need me.
After this, the build continued on flawlessly…here are some in progress shots. Because there’s something so fascinating about wood framing. (Maybe that’s just me?)
I would have loved to say that nothing was harmed during this project. However, we did have casualties of construction. We lost three beautiful hostas, sad face. We tried to move them to another location…however we unknowingly handed them to the voles on a silver platter. Lets have a moment of silence for the plants that were lost.
Ok, that’s enough. 🙂 Without further ado, here’s the new deck. Isn’t she pretty?! It’s so functional, incorporated, and modern. It really does link the house to the backyard. We couldn’t be more happy with the outcome! I mean look at it …