A Deck Makeover & Cozy Outdoor Lounge Area

Four years ago, when we bought this house, it came with a large front deck and a paver patio.  Without adjectives, both spaces sound lovely.  I’m sure the paver patio was beautiful, but the lack of maintenance, weeds, and tree roots took a toll.


Replacing windows and siding was a priority, but before that could happen, we had to excavate a foot of dirt back here, build a low deck, and only then could we hang siding.  In home remodeling, each project seems to hinge on another aspect being ready.  Though we didn’t want to tackle landscaping first, it did give us a baseline to seamlessly transition siding.


None of that is new, and has been featured several times before.  But, there’s another deck that hasn’t been shared since move in, until today.  Before getting into the afters, here’s a look at the condition the front deck was in when we took ownership:




In a word, woof.  The railing that was so far from code/safety requirements, benches along the edge were uncomfortable and took up useful space, rotting/spongy joists, and splintered deck boards didn’t exactly make this space enjoyable.  It certainly had potential, but thanks to other more important projects, we just got around to rebuilding it last summer.  Due to the technical aspects, this isn’t a deck building tutorial.  Rather, it’s the kind of television makeover before and after without the work, sweat, and wait-surprise!!


Clearly, a lot has changed.  Everything, in fact.


We completely demoed the structure, rebuilding to meet or exceed code standards to ensure longevity.

Update: A reader emailed me, wanting to similarly cover an outdoor space, asking if/how much light the solid roof blocks?  Since others might have the same concerns, here’s my answer and our rationale why covering the deck was worth it.  This entire deck fronts the pool house, not our normal living space.  Since it is a pool house, it has 8 skylights, normal windows, and four sliding glass doors that flood the space with light, so the deck roof hasn’t changed the lighting too much.  Yes, it’s a touch darker, but totally worth the added usable outdoor living area and not becoming the human version of a roasting marshmallow.  That said, I don’t think this is the perfect solution for all outdoor spaces.  Before adding a cover, consider the size and orientation of the windows/doors and the room(s) it will potentially darken.


Redwood deck boards are smooth and splinter free, the railing is not only safe, but offers more privacy, not only to the deck, but the (currently nonfunctional) pool inside.  At 36 inches tall, the railing still doesn’t block the city/mountain views.  Instead, it hides just the street and houses across, even when seated because our house is on a steep hillside.  Thanks to the southern, full sun exposure, we decided to add a full roof, keeping the area as cool as possible.  When we swapped the dining door placement, we created a four-foot wide walkway off the front.


Over the long weekend, thanks to awesome sales, we picked up two World Market sofas (only $204 each!!) to create a comfortable lounge/seating area.  Until this point, this 900 square foot deck housed two grills, the bench in the background and that’s about it.


Last year, while we were rebuilding the deck, I started my search for outdoor furniture and came across a pair of linear wood frame chairs:Wood-Frame-Outdoor-Chairs

That screenshot has been on my phone for nearly a year, and for the life of me, I cannot remember the source.  But, I do know that I was instantly smitten, and wanted the same look.  Imagine my surprise when I was wandering around World Market and stumbled upon the Praiano set.  At $400 per sofa, it wasn’t a bad price, but I wasn’t ready to pull the trigger.  Fortunately for me, my patience pair off and I struck when the price dropped to $239.99 plus a 15% off coupon.


After patiently waiting a few months, I became impatient and bought, assembled, and lounged within 24 hours of getting the coupon in my inbox.


Those sleek lines have my heart.


And closely resemble the railing.  Haha, I guess I have flock to a distinct style.


The cushions are firm, but not uncomfortable.  However, the arms need some cush, so I pulled some indoor pillows from the linen closet to soften the hard wood frame.


For additional greenery, I added two potted Arborvitae trees in the corner of the center bump out.  The green seems so much more vibrant against the dark gray siding.


I’m still trying to track down chairs to round out the grouping, since these are standing in from our old, seen-better-days patio set.


Then there’s this sad, mostly empty corner.  Again, these pieces are standing in until we have time to build a dining table.


Ben and I have differing visions/layouts for the deck.  Mostly because he’d love to build an 18 foot long Last Supper style table to take place of the current lounge area.

Napa Style Residence

While I think that’d be really cool, I think we’re better off putting this corner to use as an extension of the adjacent indoor dining space.  Adding an overhead fixture to this area would also be pretty easy with the attic overhang and access.  Time will tell, but I’m thrilled to have a cozy place to escape the house to enjoy a book.

Oh, and the deck desperately needs a good wash to get rid of the dust and pollen.  In the above photo, the darker area between the furniture is the real color.

Eventually, we want to ‘build in’ the gas and charcoal grills to hide the stands for a polished look.

23 thoughts on “A Deck Makeover & Cozy Outdoor Lounge Area

  1. I would love to see a picture of the deck from the road in order to see the added roof line. I want to add a covered (screened in?) deck to the back of my house but you might have me sold on the idea of opening it up more than that.

      1. Because of where it would be coming off my roof, anything I do would need to be a gable. I’m just super interested in how the new porch roof looks coming off yours. Your house is so very interesting to look at.

  2. Looks great! You guys rock. I, too, am anxious to see the view from the road. Your house is so drastically improved – it’s amazing.

  3. Wow, looks amazing!! I really like the black tile behind the grills and the lights above. And the couches make the whole look very cozy. I also would love to see the view from the street. Your house really is such a wonderful transformation- I bet living there is SO satisfying!

    1. Hi Ashley!

      The tile is a great, heat proof backng for the grills, but we love that it looks nice, too. It is so satisfying now that we’ve remodeled most of the spaces. It’s great to actually enjoy the rooms, rather than looking around, seeing all of the work that’s still ahead. 🙂


  4. What a beautiful deck! It all looks so comfortable!
    The house we moved in to last year had a west-facing open deck (in north MS), which was so hot it was pretty much unusable. When we replaced the roof on the house, we had a roof added over the deck. It’s made such a difference in the way we use that space now!

    1. Hi Peggy!

      I bet it made a huge difference! Our covered deck feels about 20 degrees cooler now, becasue we’re not roasting in the sun. It’s great!!


  5. Haha, I was so confused when I saw that first photo on Instagram (huh? that’s not their house). NBD–you just rebuilt a whole deck. Ha! Love it!

    1. Hi Anne!

      Ha, NBD, just a summer’s worth of weekends slaving away in the heat to completely build a deck from the ground up, just the two of us. I like to play it cool. 😉


  6. I always thought the balcony and sliding door addition the the master bedroom was a bit off but seeing the whole house from the street picture, it was definitely a good call. I can’t believe you guys did this and kept it a secret. Beautiful work. I thought your photo on instagram was just your inspiration picture. Couldn’t believe it was the same space. Now kick up those feet and enjoy the summer in the shade!

    1. Hi Megan!

      I know until now it didn’t fully make sense, but having this deck (with similar door and ‘balcony’ type area in front) balances everything. We’ve already been enjoying time out there, just relaxing. It’s such a big difference to not fry out there-haha. Thank you so much for the sweet compliments and encouraging words. 🙂


  7. Wow, that first picture looks like an advertisement! So clean and inviting. Bonus to having the solid roof over the patio is being able to cuddle up and listen to the fall/winter rain. Great work.

    1. Hi Rebecca!

      Ha, I’m going to guess that’s a good thing?! It’s so much more useable now that it’s all shaded. In fact, I watched/listened to a thunderstorm roll in two nights ago. 🙂


  8. Wow! Never really noticed the deck on that side of the house before now – what a great spot to have! I am a huge fan of chunky wood but did you ever think about doing glass panels or even wire for the railings so your amazing view isn’t blocked? And have you done anything with your pool? DYING to see how that space turns out!

    1. Hi Liz!

      As much as I love the look of glass, I knew it’d look dirty and wouldn’t work for us. As for the cables, we did talk about something like that, but we obviously decided against it. The reason being, our house sits relatively close to the street (about 30 feet back). Now, it’s not a particularly busy street, but we wanted to add a bit more privacy to this front space. Not only is it more private on the deck, but the pool just inside. When that’s finally functional, we think that will be a nice addition when using the pool.

      As for the views, it’s probably hard to tell in photos, but our lot is incredibly steep, quickly rising about 12 feet up from the road. The basement adds another 5 feet of height, then the main level (and this deck on top) which brings the railing top to about 17 feet above the street level. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that the height of the deck is above the houses across the street, so the views are still 100% open. Even when seated either on the deck or inside the pool house. Without a doubt, the views were the biggest selling point, so we wouldn’t do anything to compromise that. Long response, but other people might have the same questions. The pool is still nonfunctioning. There have been some changes with project priorities, so I’m not sure when that will start at this point. 🙂


      1. I hear ya! I didn’t think about the privacy aspect – especially with the pool!
        Soooo envious of your view!!!

        1. Hey Liz!

          I know how it can be hard to get the full picture through snippets shown in blog posts. Even though we can’t use the pool yet, there are projects we have to tackle now that won’t fully make sense until everything is completely finished. Thanks so much for pointing out that issue and allowing my long winded explanation. 🙂


  9. Wow! Who would have ever thought that the before could ever look like the after?! I guess you guys did! 😉
    Fantastic work Amanda!!

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