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Designing a Back Deck

Here is the view from the garden, looking back at our house. I hate, hate it. But we’ve left it to be one of the last renovations as it’s the least necessary in order for us to live comfortably. Over the last 8 years of living here though, the deck has worn away and is evidently becoming a priority for a few reasons (safety is number one – but the second reason may be because of my sheer hate of this part of our house)

Processed with VSCO with 5 preset

Eventual Plan
The eventual plan would be to take down the deck and make it span the full width of our house.  It currently doesn’t span the width of the house presumably to allow for the entrance to the basement (you can see it in the bottom left of the house). We don’t use this entrance as it goes into a short awkward storage room and as it is – the door is blocked on the inside with shelving. So it’s a unusable door and, we get more use out of that room being storage (accessed from inside) than we would get via having a basement entrance.  The plan that I have would be to just build the deck straight across so it closes off that door. The dinner table conversations about it, Aubrey thinks it’s a selling feature to have access to the basement but from my perspective – we aren’t likely going to be in a position to lower the back room (financial) and I’d rather have a bigger back deck for our family than a possible selling feature for when we plan to sell. (Which isn’t even on our radar. We’re not moving. I love our house)

So here is what I don’t like about this current deck
– Too small of a landing to really properly use it as we would like to (eating at a table in the summer)
– It’s rotting. And gives you splinters if you even look at it.
– It’s super high. Which we can’t fix, but we could potentially do a few “levels” so it’s not such a straight up and down staircase.

Rotting Back Deck

Rotting Back Deck

What we need to figure out 
– Design (I think I need to get someone to help me out with this design as it likely would be multilayer)
– Materials (Lumber or Composite?)
– Cost (The material and complexity would change this)

Some Design Ideas
Here are some images that I’ve saved that are inspirational but none are really 100% what I’d like to do. Or I should say, not one is 100% of what we could do.  It’s weird space and I really don’t want a straight down staircase into the garden, instead I’d like wide open stairs that could be used as seating in our outdoor parties, and be more welcoming.

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via Decks.com

Or how about these by Platform Studios. Look at the multi levels and how they incorporate concrete (love!) and greenery on the deck.

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Platform Design Studio

Platform Design Studio

While we’re on the topic of the back of our house, the “jackpot” wish would be to either paint out the siding on the back of the house or, do a new siding in a stone veneer or, B board for more of a beachy look.  But the deck itself is the main priority and I think we could do the revamp in stages (as in, we don’t have to do both at the same time, in order to do either properly)

Pinterest boards you may like that I’ve been compiling ideas in / Composite Decks , Deck Design 

In Renovations

Garage Build, Painting our exterior doors

I’m back from lovely Mexico! More on that later. For now here’s an update on our garage…

We got our doors and I proceeded to paint with my paint sprayer, in this paint that Aubrey picked up – recommended to him for exterior doors. 

I spent a TON of time prepping and then got to work spraying. 

Looking good right? 

No. Not looking good. When I went to peel off the painters tape, the paint started pulling off in sheets!

This is when started cursing. And texting angry things to Aubrey about how I hated the door. 

I sanded and peeled the door and right before leaving for Mexico I primed it prepping for a second paint attempt. But this time NOT black. When I stared at the doors, in all their peeling glory – black was too harsh of a colour to go with. So it’s back to the drawing board. 

Im not sure why the doors peeled. The paint was paint + primer in one – which is never my favourite but I thought I’d give it a go. Fingers crossed the next attempt works out better.

In Renovations

Garage Build – Designing from scratch


I haven’t written much about the design process behind our garage so I thought I’d take a post to babble on about it and share my “ah-ha” moments that helped me along the way. Having never designed something from scratch I’ve fretted about design decisions for this build through each phase. Mid way through I realized that I had to separate details of what I loved vs. liked, looks of buildings I thought were fabulous – and ones I knew were appropriate (and affordable) for us. Once I compiled ideas (and, in the end, choices I was sure of) I would communicate them to Aubrey (sketches / sending him Pins) and he would then work with the engineer on drawing. It’s like a puzzle – trying to find inspiration of builds that would look good in our space, yet tweaked here and there as no two properties are the same. Here was my process, which isn’t much different than a process for interiors.  

STEP 1: FINDING INSPIRATION
Search for images of inspiration – without really looking for inspiration.  Weird, I know. But here’s the thing – don’t focus on the specifics of a picture, but if you like it – save it. Eventually as you’ve collected images of inspiration, you’ll start to see a pattern of things that you like.

 STEP 2: NAME YOUR STYLE
I started to realize that my vision for our garage was very Hamptons or, Nantucket. Who knows if those are proper design terms, likely not, but still – it was a keyword that helped me in my search.  By adding “Nantucket” into the search, opened a world of inspiration images not otherwise coming up in my searches. Perhaps your look is modern, country, classic, the terms don’t have to be “proper” but find a term that summarizes your style. In the end the common denominators in my photos were the combinations of shingles, board and batten exteriors and gray siding. Three major pieces to the puzzle that were decided having searched pinterest for hours upon hours liking photos. 

STEP 3:  GETTING SPECIFIC WITH DETAILS
So knowing those three things I liked helped – 1. The siding (Board and Batten) 2. Cedar shake shingles incorporated into the peak of the roof and 3. A gray exterior paint. Then it was time to communicate that to our builders. Turns out the shingles are an additional cost, but I think – well worth it. We’ve asked them to be left untouched so they weather as we’d like. Then the build of the garage, in board and batten (vs. traditional siding) is once again an additional cost once again (the story of my life) but I think it will look more classic and, true to the beachy look I’d like. An expense that I think is well worth it and hard to fake, change later down the line. So, that was an additional expense we went with. (It wasn’t astronomical – I think $400 extra) But then 3. the gray paint we had to narrow down, and that is what we did this weekend:

[MY DECISIONS FROM LEFT TO RIGHT] Board and Batten / Shingles at the top of the peak / Gray Exterior 


The board and batten and shingles are in the hands of the builders but the paint colour is in my hands. So this weekend I set out to pick a colour. And stressed over it for days. 

At first I liked Collingwood (OC-28) But then it seemed light and I gravitated towards Revere Pewter. 

Aubrey, annoyed at how long this is taking.

In the end I chose Revere Pewter. I did a search on Pinterest to see how exteriors looked with it, and I’m feeling optimistic.  It seems to have some warmth to it – which I was looking for, vs. a stark, cold gray. It also seems to be a rather popular colour for interiors – so I’m hoping it works well outside as well!

 

Anyhow, just some sharing of the process! The guys plan on building this week – so I’ll be back with updates. 

xo Linds