From the moment I first laid eyes on the “door to nowhere” that had been installed during the building of our house, years prior to our ownership, my mind began brimming with ideas for the “perfect deck” in the “perfect” location. The door was brilliantly located just off of our “kitchen sitting area” as the extended area of our kitchen would be dubbed. It had been installed and double dead bolted shut since it opened to a dangerous ten foot drop to the patio below. Obviously, back in 2008, when we bought and moved into this house, you may recall, I had more than a handful of 4 year olds who were just entering preschool, a set of 7 year olds and if they alone didn’t keep me hopping, we were also busily filming our show (then called “Jon and Kate Plus 8″) on TLC with speaking engagements and all sorts of other things that kept me in motion literally around the clock. There was no time to think about adding a deck to relax on. Relax? What even is that???? I didn’t have a clue how to relax. My mind and body were a well blended team of constant “planning” and “doing.” It had to be that way in order to stay ahead … And to stay alive. However, even tho I ensured that that door was securely locked (we weren’t even given a key to open it so no worries there!) and I placed a large piece of furniture in front of it, it may have been easy to forget all the possibilities that lie beyond it…… But I didn’t.
Almost as soon as we settled into this house, a perfectly beautiful backdrop for making many lasting family memories together, the stress ramped up. Life became even busier, more stressful, often teetering on the edge of impossible and “just too much” for me to handle. Now mostly alone. Family memories began to mean more to me than they had before. Pool time followed by a grilled dinner, eaten as a family on our picnic table was a favorite. It was difficult (to say the least) due to the logistics of where the kitchen was in relation to where our grill was located. And since I was the “grill master” AND the lifeguard, I’d often make dinner while the kids swam….made sense, but it wasn’t practical. And so, we didn’t really grill as often as we wanted to….
For all the reasons above, I naturally began to envision that “dreamed of deck” — in vivid detail — each and every time I’d walk into the kitchen and look out the windows into our back yard. I didn’t do it consciously. My mind just wandered there. I began to secretly save money whenever I could to make this deck dream come true for our family. A little here. A little there. I didn’t tell the kids I had started saving, but I did start to muse out loud how wonderful it would be to be able to open that door and walk out onto the deck and grill dinner. Then sit there together until it was dark outside, watching the stars in the summer sky twinkle down at us! Ahhhhh! After musing, at the beginning of each new year, I began “declaring” that “this year we are getting the deck put on,” but as my kids would tell you, that got old. After about 3 years of my “declarations” they stopped believing me. Ha! I rarely say something and then don’t follow through, but I just longed for it so much that I guess I couldn’t help myself! And then, in January of 2015, I said it again… And the kids laughed. “Yeah, sure we are mom!” But this time I had meant it. The kids are getting older, having friends over more, and quite honestly, we are out of “personal” space in our house. And our stress hasn’t decreased and because of that, it’s made me relish the “little things” in life: memories. Happy times together. It was time.
I sat down and drew a rough sketch with rough measurements (using one of the kids school rulers! Ha!) and since I’m no artist, it was a lame attempt, but it was enough to get me started. I had no idea who to turn to… Who builds decks? How much do they cost? What if it turns out to be a huge expensive disaster that I regret spending money on? I really had no idea where to start. It was overwhelming. Randomly, I googled deck companies in my area, and immediately found Breyer Construction. Their one line on their website said it all “Some construction companies build decks. Decks are what we do.” — or something like that. I looked through their 200 and some testimonial photos on their website and my imagination went completely wild! I had NO idea there were SO many choices and so much ability to custom design the deck of my dreams! I was now a bundle of excitement in overdrive!
I drew my sketch on a Sunday afternoon and called them Monday morning…. We set up a date to meet and go over my vision. Right then and there I chose my TimberTech decking and railings (see below for the specifics on what I chose and why) because the quality and beauty of their products almost literally jumped off the page at me immediately.. Not to mention that there is little to no maintenance required which is a huge must for a single Mom running a busy household of 9! To add to the beauty of their products, TimberTech was helpful, knowledgeable and enjoyed helping me create my long awaited addition! Helen, from Breyer Construction, laughed at my ability to choose so quickly. What she didn’t realize is that I had pictured this deck for seven long years! I knew how I wanted it to look, and she had great advice and stunning samples to choose from! I know when I know. And I knew what I wanted right away!
Once the project was scheduled, I showed the kids the TimberTech samples and told them the project was a “GO” and received the most amazing cheers of joy and 8 smiles to match! They all agreed that the color, and style would be a perfect compliment to our home! Wait, they ALL agreed on something? That may be a first! After a few more efficient meetings with Breyer Construction and more decisions made, construction began shortly before school started this past fall.
Everyday, the kids would race home from school and run out to the backyard to see “how far they got today.” The kids knew all of the guy’s names in no time and would go out back and say, “Hey James! Looks good! When will the deck be done?” Sometimes, the boys would line up on the sofa just inside and watch them build for hours — to get a “birds eye view.” The guys were here working for close to a month and to say they were the kindest, most wonderful, flexible and helpful company I’d ever hired would be an understatement! Along with the deck, they expertly helped me design the outdoor kitchen straight out of my wildest dreams complete with tons of beautiful stone top counter space, and the perfect storage cabinets for all of my outdoor cooking supplies and dishes. AND, to be clear, they didn’t just “build a deck.” They constructed a beautiful canvas where our family will make endless memories that will last a lifetime. They set the stage, so to speak, for countless cookouts with plenty of beautiful space to entertain our many friends who have stood by us, helped us, supported us and loved us over the years. They created an outdoor peaceful oasis where we can sit alone to view and listen to nature when our house gets way too loud and we need a little time away from it all. They gave me a chance to breathe fresh air and observe nature all while I’m making dinner — YEAR ROUND — only now I am conveniently only steps away from my kitchen yet still near my kids while they do their homework either on the deck or just inside the door, and while they swim, on my newly elevated “lifeguard perch!” They created a new sunny spot for Shoka to sun bathe and a new door for him to guard :), and an outdoor jungle area for Zorro to visit on summer days (in his cage, of course!). And, looking — hopefully very far — into the future, they unknowingly gave me a natural “play pen” for the umpteen grandchildren I no doubt have coming my way…. But only AFTER the weddings that will take place on our deck and in our back yard, of course!
This deck addition was a financial investment that worried me initially, but it turned out to be the best investment I’ve ever made in our family’s health and wellbeing. When phrased that way, it may sound a bit dramatic, but it’s not even a slight exaggeration.
During our first family dinner on our deck, sometime in October, there was nothing but happy chatter and peace around the table. We discussed our future as a family and that their children — my grandchildren — would someday be playing right here where we are sitting. It brought tears to my eyes. I couldn’t help it. Much to my kids relief, that emotional moment passed quickly because just then a huge flock of birds, hundreds of them, decided to begin serenading us from the trees nearby, fluttering about in patterns overhead, while we ate our dinner. We sat out on our deck until it was dark that night, no one wanting to go inside.. But finally we did after listening to an owl quietly “Whoo-ing” his goodnight routine to us. The love and the peace that we all felt that night was undeniable. As a result, we ate some breakfasts and most dinners outside until it got too cold and too dark to do so on school nights.
The deck is calling … Hurry up, Spring!!
***Because I know I’ll be asked a million times WHO built our deck and WHAT company is the manufacturer, and because I’m literally over the top impressed with both companies and the end result (in case you missed it the first 100 times I said it above!:), I’m adding this….
•Installation- Breyer Construction
•Manufacturer– TimberTech http://timbertech.
-The Decking that I chose was from the TimberTech Legacy Collection in a Pecan color. It’s a warm reddish brown color with earthy streaking so it nicely compliments the stone on the back of our house. My favorite aspects of these deck boards are the color variations that make the boards look like real tropical hardwood and the unique surface texture that resembles hand-scraped indoor flooring!
I was thrilled to learn that TimberTech decking is capped on all 4 sides which means better protection — it won’t rot, splinter, split or be eaten by bugs! Yay!
The railings are from the TimberTech Evolutions Contemporary collection. I chose a warm brown color which adds to the calming monochromatic “natural” look and feel to our deck.
The sleek metal balusters I chose provide a clear view of our surroundings which was very important to me because our back yard view is amazing!
AND, finally — drum roll please — There is NO sealing or staining needed on the deck OR railings, at all, ever!
And, because this says it all, I have to add TimberTechs motto. It spoke to me :)…
TimberTech decking = Less work. More life.