exterior

The Great Outdoors

We spend plenty of time inside homes, so it's always a refreshing change of pace to enjoy some build-time outside. Creating a 17' x 15' custom deck for a former West-coast family makes the Summer work days even better.

The backyard had one mature maple tree located 14 feet from back door, and the plans called for us to build the deck around it.  The rear of the house had a number of old windows that we needed to replace. The back of the house received a face-lift with new windows, exterior lights, doors, and stucco to match the other three sides of the structure. 

In order to access the deck from the kitchen, we removed a bank of windows and installed a sliding door.

In order to access the deck from the kitchen, we removed a bank of windows and installed a sliding door.

The clients wanted room for  outdoor dining, leading to a deck that extended beyond the maple tree. Our carpenter carefully scribed the cedar planks to the shape of the tree trunk (nicely done, sir!). Just beyond the tree is the 12 foot bench facing the house with built-in LED lights below. 

The clients wanted room for  outdoor dining, leading to a deck that extended beyond the maple tree. Our carpenter carefully scribed the cedar planks to the shape of the tree trunk (nicely done, sir!). Just beyond the tree is the 12 foot bench facing the house with built-in LED lights below. 

A view of the rear of the house and a second bench, this one facing the backyard. The large canopy of the maple tree provides ample shade.

A view of the rear of the house and a second bench, this one facing the backyard. The large canopy of the maple tree provides ample shade.

A view of the finished deck with all new MARVIN windows, planter box, pendant lighting, and door. The transformer for the deck lighting is hidden inside the planter box.

A view of the finished deck with all new MARVIN windows, planter box, pendant lighting, and door. The transformer for the deck lighting is hidden inside the planter box.

The scale of this project almost qualifies as a mini-addition to the house, and we like the way it's connected to the paved patio and green space. It was a fun project, and we expect it will see plenty of use. We hope this family enjoys many good times with new friends on their new deck!  

 

 

 

Winnetka Colonial Chronicles, Part 4

It feels like a decade ago since we wrote about our progress on the gut renovation of a 1925 sanity-tester in Winnetka Colonial Chronicles, Part 3. We have now turned the corner. So much of the gritty but important work has been completed. Demolition, new plumbing, new electrical, framing, insulation, drywall, oak floors, and more. Now we just have to pick tile, light fixtures, kitchen appliances, trim, door hardware, stain, paint colors, and every other finish under the sun. You need to be slightly bent to find joy in this phase. But find joy we will.

Before we go inside, here's a quick look at the exterior before-and-after. In keeping with our design philosophy, we added no embellishments and made no attempt to change the style of the exterior. The colonial is a classic architectural statement. It existed long before us and will outlive us. We respect it. The original construction was sound, even if it had fallen into disrepair.  

Before: the weathered exterior of the home revealed damaged cedar, a cheap coat of paint on the front of the house only (in an unusual money-saving effort?), roof shingles applied directly to plywood, rotted gutters, and more.    

After: new cedar shakes are weaved into the old, the whole exterior has been stained and painted, a new roof was installed, fascia and soffits were repaired, new gutters manage the rain water, and the original wood shutters came back to life with Dutch oil paint.   

Years of neglect have been erased. Some old homes were built to last a 100 years, and this one nearly didn't make it. Only fools like us would attempt to salvage this mess. Others would have been tempted to raze it and build new. The demand for new construction in this area seems insatiable. After all, there are fewer surprises with new construction, and the lot size would have supported a castle. But we're breathing new life into this old home, and we feel good knowing we gave it a fighting chance to endure another 100 years. 

Next month, we'll go inside with Winnetka Colonial Chronicles, Part 5. Thanks for reading along!

Remodeling and Home Design