am emotionally scarred by distinctly remember when we walked through our house for the very first time (before we even had any remote interest in buying this hot mess), the Texan and I stepped out onto its rickety old deck. After the requisite brief moment of panic that it was about to collapse under us, we were able to somehow, through our mortal terror, imagine that it could be a pretty sweet spot if you weren’t busy worrying for your life. Some might even venture so far as to say that the vision of what that back deck could be was the very thing that sold us on the house.
This was the scene that we saw on that fateful first walk-thru….charming, isn’t it?
That was five years ago. We have trudged through all the other, more important, renovations, and the deck has sat at the bottom of the list, collecting cobwebs and dropping mystery screws all the while. We would stare forlornly out at it from the safety of our house. We would forbid the dogs from walking on it (because there was nothing more terrifying than seeing the way that thing shook and swayed from just one dog ambling across it). We would scream “NOOOOO!” in true horror film fashion when an unsuspecting guest would let themselves out onto it. I have become truly gifted at photographing around it so that it never really showed up in my blog posts. It has been our dirty little secret.
I was hoping, through this photo, to be able to convey the spectacular sagging slope of what should be a flat deck. This photo doesn’t do it any justice. It was seriously slanted.
Despite our best efforts, this truly was the dogs’ favorite sunning spot.
I will, however, miss the weathered, beaten decking–it moonlighted as a background to my photographs frequently. Never fear–all that scrap wood will be put to good use. Never. You. Fear.
We always knew we would get to it eventually, but we just never really knew when. Then suddenly, about a month ago, from out of nowhere, the stars aligned. We pulled the trigger. I still can hardly believe it.
Millie and Eloise join me as I stare, overwhelmed, at the lumber that I have to sand, paint, and stain for the rest of my life. The tears are happy tears. I swear.
My view every single day for a month. You like my work boots?
Chance stays cool as he helps me paint (by soaking up paint dribbles).
The Texan single-handedly demo-ed the deck. I have never seen such enthusiasm; he was up there hopping around, tearing things apart like a deranged orangutan. And laughing. There was a lot of really disturbing laughing.
When the white dog came around the corner and discovered that her beloved deck was gone, she was sad….so, so sad….
Chance hides in the plants to avoid doing any actual work.
The white dog anchors the dirt pile for us. You know….in case of a freak windstorm.
The morning after demo, this was my view out the kitchen screen door:
What’s more dangerous than a wobbly deck? No deck. Sketchy. Even Millie-bird is concerned.
Fortunately, the new deck started going up immediately.
The inaugural piece of white header board goes up. Dang, I really need to paint the trim on those downstairs doors and windows so they match the upstairs….the old deck was such an eyesore that it distracted from my procrastination.
Abbie and Chance test the new concrete stair landing for dryness. It was dry. No dog (or chicken) tracks in this pad, despite their best efforts.
The main posts go in. Did I mention that the new deck is going to have a pergola over it just like the front deck? Thus the mega-tall posts.
Millie and Chance take a break in the shade.
The end of the first build day.
My view from the kitchen screen door the next morning:
A little better….but still sketchy.
By the end of work day two-ish, we had decking down….I would have to walk a little further than the kitchen door to plummet to my death.
The pergola structure goes up….this was terrifying to watch, I’m not going to lie. Those beams were not light. Not even remotely.
Once the decking was up, the dogs were strictly forbidden from being on it until we had railings. A certain yellow dog lives by his own rules, apparently.
The Texan and the white dog survey the scene. You can see where our ‘no dogs on the deck until there is railing’ policy probably went wrong.
It probably goes without saying….but, despite what it seems in these photos, when the actual demo and construction was going on, our animals were all locked safely out of harm’s way. Please don’t let your pets stand under you when you are demo-ing your deck. Also–learn from my mistakes….don’t wear flip-flops in a construction zone. Trust me.
Also, though we did a large portion of the work ourselves, we did it under the guidance of a licensed contractor (and dear friend–THANK YOU does not cut it to him and to his family for all their help–YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!! You are the very best!). Thank yous also go out to our neighbors, who came to assist with the myriad heavy lifting and painting, and who put up with a lot of racket for several weeks. It truly takes a village (says the village idiot).
For now, this is all I’m going to show so that I can do a grand reveal (soon!) of the finished deck. Is it finished? As of this morning, I have about a dozen screw holes to patch, sand, and paint, and then, YES–the deck is finished.
The Deck of Death is finally the Deck of Destiny. True story.