Monday, September 23, 2013

Doin' The Deck...It's Done!

This post has been a long time coming.  If only because we spent so much time, sandpaper, paint, sweat and tears on our deck.  Not actual tears.  Just the kind that you shed when you look back at the cost of the fixes and lipstick you were putting on a pig.  In our case, it was a rotting pig.

Well, that rotting pig is gone and there's a pretty fancy one in it's place.

Before: Circa 2006
After: 8 Years Later

Yeah, I can't believe I live here.

I shouldn't be that shocked - it's not that we didn't have a plan.  It's just how incredible the plan came to life.  The execution is flawless!

Especially when you consider where we started.  Which was here.

Well, not really.  Before here, back in 2003, there was no railing at the end of the deck and the high railing on the right wasn't there (we're a key lot, so we have 6 neighbors in our backyard, 4 of them to the right).  We added both in 2006 when Jake was born, along with a gate attached to that far railing that fell apart.  We did all this knowing the deck itself was rotting.

Then we painted it last summer for the VERY LAST TIME, knowing it was done, the rot was too much.  Then we decided to renovate the house.

Adios Rotting Pig

The slider dictated the location and size of the deck.  Fixing the old one wasn't worth it because it had rot so completely underneath...oh and look.  No footings.


We spoke to our neighbor about replacing our shared fence.  Which he agreed was a good idea since it was literally being held together by the overgrown vine that was taking over the garden.  We decided to bite the bullet and replace our entire fence because all three sides were like that - falling down.


The old fence didn't have proper footings, so we made sure to put them in.


I did a ton of research and ended up using MicroPro Sienna, which you can find at Lowe's here in Toronto.  It's a treated wood, with a color that looks more like cedar without any staining required.  Eventually it will turn a warm tan color and then finally grey.  All of which we are happier with than the regular pressure treated "green" wood, and the cost and upkeep of cedar.

The guys went to town tearing out that jungle.

The Wall

When our neighbor's deck was complete (yes, he jumped in on a deal with our guys to replace his rotting deck, too), the wall went up.  Before you gasp, this is what we're blocking.

Neighbor's Shed

Our neighbor was totally ok with the height.  And happy that we put that wall up in general.  See, our old shed used to butt up against his shed.  But once ours came down, it exposed some bad aluminum siding on the back of his shed.  It wasn't in his interest to make it prettier since he can't see that side anyway.  So instead, we built the wall to block the siding and tied in with the height of the cedar planks on the exterior of his house.  Win-Win.

Then they got busy on our fence.  

We went with horizonal slats that are positioned about 1/2 inch apart, just to let some sunlight through.  Then, for a little detail, and because the fence is the highest where our neighbor's barbecue sits on his deck, we added thin cuts for extra privacy.  Now there isn't any awkward eye contact that has to be made without needing to peer over the fence.

And then this happened.

Road Trip

We left for our month long summer vacation to Wisconsin.  I left the deck mid-construction!  But my better half went back home for work and told me it was in good hands.  Really good hands.

Because then I came home to this.

Ok, ok, I staged that.  It didn't look like that after we drove 10 hours home from my brother's house.  But really, that's how it looks now.  Those CB outlet pillows and all!

We decided on a sectional for maximum seating.  And this one from CB2 was perfect because of the 2 level built in ledge at the back for plates or drinks or books.  The frame is made out of eucalyptus wood (sustainable & eco-friendly) and should weather the winter without problem.  It's a modular sectional, so we'll most likely stack them on our porch and tarp it to ease the snow to wood contact.

I love the view from our kitchen now.  Such a difference.


Oh that pergola!  The original reason for being was to provide a bit of shade from the afternoon sun.  We had a retractable awning since we moved in.  But having lived with it, we knew how it became a complete sun block.  So the kitchen was either blasted with sun or in a dark shadow.  This was an attempt at providing at least a bit of shade without losing sunlight completely.  So far it works well.


We had the pergola match the height of the exterior brick on top of the transom.  So you can see the top of the pergola from inside.

So where's our storage now that we removed the old lean-to shed on the left and decked to the fence?


This is the beauty of being able to have a professional 3rd party think things through for you.  This is a table with serving top (it will be a stainless steel counter - still in production) on one side...


And a storage area on the other side.  It's hard to call it a shed anymore because it's less than 5 feet tall and not very wide.  But it holds everything our tiny little postage stamp of a yard requires.  The biggest item being a push mower - ha!

So there you have it.  The "4th room" on our main floor, which we love.

All Black

I should mention, we decided to paint the exterior of the 2nd floor windows black.  The white up there and black down there wasn't working.  And we also moved the eavestrough to the side of the house where it empties onto a concrete walkway that was poured to carry water away from the house and out to the street (did that back in the basement reno days).

Yes, there is still garbage in our torn up backyard.  And no, it doesn't always look like this.

For Real

That's more like it.  Except, add a blue tarp over that uncovered chair.  When we got the sectional pieces delivered, we changed our minds on the configuration, so we exchanged a couple pieces...only to find out they were out of stock on the corner cover.

Guess who needs to take a sewing lesson or two...before winter comes!!??


  1. Looks lovely! Are you planning on adding a list of contractors and resources when you're done? I bet many of your readers (me included) would be interested in seeing you who recommend.

  2. It looks incredible! Great that your neighbour was able to make some improvements too.

  3. Hi Kat - sorry, I didn't receive your comment until just now. Since our project is finally complete, I will be putting together before & after posts...with all the details and resources for anyone who's interested! :)

  4. Love the transformation of your house. Did you design everything/ new layout etc? I would love to do this for my house. It needs an overhaul from top to bottom and a new deck too. Can you redesign my house?

  5. Thank you!! We used a designer for the entire main and 2nd floor renovation, along with the backyard deck and pergola. Her name is Kirsten Marshall of Palmerston Design Consultants. She's amazing!