All Hands on Deck

Decks are places for sitting on warm summer evenings, contemplating the mysteries of the universe. Decks are places to gather with friends, to exercise your culinary imagination on the grill, to feel fresh breezes wafting over your skin. Decks connect you to nature, yet keep you out of the dirt. Like I said, I love them.

Decks can also transform useless, wasted spaces into inviting retreats. This:

Photo by Trey Freeze
Photo by Trey Freeze

is much more inviting and useful than this:corner deck beforeThe deck outside the back door to our mid-century ranch was small, shabby, and deteriorating. Continue reading “All Hands on Deck”

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The Hole in the Ground

I confess to being ambivalent – in the true sense of the word; I feel strongly two ways – about swimming pools.

On the one hand, nothing enhances a back yard space more elegantly than a well-appointed pool. Add a water feature – a fountain or a waterfall, for instance – and you can have your own small slice of paradise. Here is a pool that we put in the back yard of a house that we built (as opposed to remodeled):

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(The rose mallow hibiscus blooms were as big as your face.)

On the other hand, pools literally are holes in the ground that you throw money in. Even if you hire a service to keep the chemicals in balance and perform periodic maintenance, they are a pain. They immediately add 20% to your electric bill and they are magnets for leaves, twigs, strange-looking bugs, and heaven forbid that you have crepe myrtles anywhere on your block. Continue reading “The Hole in the Ground”

Raising the Roofline or From Humdrum to Hello!

So. The problem was the low-hanging eave that stretched the entire length of the house, making an already-below-street-level structure appear fit for hobbits. Here’s a reminder:

6844 Brants 001Not only is your eye drawn downward by the roof, but the entry looks like a cave rather than a doorway. Nothing says “Come on in!” or “Glad to see you!” or “Nice, friendly folks live here!” Continue reading “Raising the Roofline or From Humdrum to Hello!”

Energizing a Tired Mid-Century Ranch

The first transformation we’ll walk through was a kind of tired, low-roofed ranch built in the mid 50s . The house had seen lots of wear and tear but we felt from the minute we walked in the front door that it had also been the site of good times – laughter, love, and happy children. I don’t want to get too woo-woo on you, but houses carry the vibe of things that have gone on inside them. Haven’t you ever felt creeped out, just walking in someplace? You might write it off to weird decor or a lack of proper HVAC but sometimes it’s that the place, itself, gives off a sinister air. This place was on the other end of the continuum from that. But it was tired; a bit frazzled. Kind of in need of a spa treatment.

Here are a couple of views of the outside of the house to show you what I mean: Continue reading “Energizing a Tired Mid-Century Ranch”

Transformation Adventure

6844 Brants 001

This house will keep out the wind, rain, heat, and cold. With a little vision, though, it can be much more.

6844 Brants After 001

Even before the landscaping, this house went from just shelter to a place you want to live.

Almost any house can be transformed from simply shelter to a place for living. Debra and I love making that transformation happen. She provides the creative and design genius; I provide an occasional good idea (and lots of not-so-good ones), some labor, and a lot of enthusiasm. (Never underestimate the power of enthusiasm!)

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Recognizing potential, listening to your imagination, having faith in the process and your abilities, and staying within budget – that’s the challenge and adventure of transforming spaces.

Watch some of these transformations with us. Share your ideas; let us know what you think of our work. It’ll be a blast!

Dan