deck renovation

This post has taken way too long to write and given that it’s prime deck building season, it’s about time I wrote about the very first big reno that we did to the house.

A new deck.

I’ll try and let the pics do most of the talking.

When we bought the house and we knew the existing deck had to go. Not just because it was hogging up space and a poor design, but because it wasn’t up to code. Failed our home inspection with flying colours.

Initially when we were calling contractors we by fluke called Paul Lafrance‘s company Cutting Edge Design from the now very popular HGTV show Decked Out. This was before the pilot had even aired on TV and we were calling as a normal potential client to get a quote. Long story short, our budget didn’t allocate for a new deck design to appear on the show.

And that was just for Season 1. Never mind Season 2 which is more like ‘Pimp My Backyard’.

For the record, as a woman, I love seeing Kate Campbell on the crew. She’s inspirational to a lot of women, including myself, who seriously wishes shop class had been available to me when I was back in high school. Who knows if that would have taken me in a completely different career direction. It’s one of my goals to be able to learn to build – maybe not a deck – but small construction projects. Like a toy box or a bench.  She’s showing a lot of young girls they have more career choices than they may realize. So kudos.

Back to our deck.

Neither James or myself were about to build a second story deck without prior experience. I like DIY-ing, but not when it comes to things that my kids need to be able to walk on without me fearing it collapsing. So we began to work with my husband’s colleague who has a contracting company and he did the upper deck and stairs for us and James, brother-in-law and Father-in-law finished the bottom one.

First. Here they are.

The “I didn’t plan to have a blog therefore they’re not composed”


The only thing holding up the stairs, was that wooden beam.

Do I really need to explain why it had to go? Is it a shed? Is it a shed holding up a deck? Is it holding up the stairs? Is it even attached to the house?

Let’s get on with it then.

Got the permit. Got the dumpster bin ready.


Then after all that was dragged up our stairs, into a dumpster bin, a funny – right, funny – thing happened. Notice how the photos are dark and dreary looking?

That’s because it started to rain.

Then it really rained.

From Mid-May to Mid-June.

Every day.

With maybe 2 sunny days to get the concrete posts in. Only to learn the home builder cheaped out and didn’t put in weeping tile and the concrete posts wouldn’t harden because of the rain and pooling water. So. A nice little additional expense of getting that in.

We felt terrible for our contractor because this pushed back a lot of his deck projects as it was supposed to be a very quick turnaround time.

Which it was. Once the sun came out.

When it did, this happened.


And it’s done.


Then we added the bottom deck several months later.

Then moved the bbq and furniture around.

And finally added the small side 4 x6  Jardin shed from Home Depot next to it.

This is it currently.

Even in a 1960’s filter it looks sweet.

I don’t think we had a single dinner indoors the entire summer after it was finished. I’m telling you, people in the suburbs do not take proper advantage of their backyards. Not sure why.

I hope maybe we can inspire you otherwise.


  • Reply
    June 24, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Oh man… I’d be livin’ out here! This is all “decked out”.. literally and figuratively! Good grief this is nice. I know you are just loving every minute of it and congrats on getting this major project done. Loved all the before pictures and the build up to this gem. SUCH FUN! And the 1960’s filter does look SWEET! HA!

    • Reply
      June 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      I haven’t had a backyard in 21 years so I could probably unroll a sleeping bag and make it my bedroom out there. And the Picasa editing features are horribly addictive. Makes me feel so uncool for not posting Instagram etc. LOL

  • Reply
    the mommy files
    June 25, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Love your deck! I was just saying today that I wish I had an “outdoor space” where I can relax and have friends over. I have a huge yard and lots of space but no $$ to build an outdoor “room”. We still enjoy our yard just not as much as I would like to. Great job on the deck. I’m sure your enjoying every minute of your time outside.

    • Reply
      June 25, 2012 at 5:42 pm

      Thank you so much! It’s been a long overdue backyard. If it makes you feel any better, we have a basement that desperately needs to get finished and it’s not done b/c we need to save more. In the meantime our hardwood floors are getting a severe beating from my kids in the ‘living’ room. As long as you have a backyard, grab some chairs and beer and everything becomes better!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2012 at 11:10 pm

    The deck is so beautiful and you guys made such great use of the space. Nicely done!!

  • Reply
    June 26, 2012 at 9:36 am

    What a great space! I’m not surprised you ate out there every day – it looks so sunny and inviting.

    • Reply
      June 26, 2012 at 3:26 pm

      There are days I wonder if my neighbours would hate me if I pulled out some binoculars…probably..

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