Decks, Center City, Kitchens, Philadelphia

it's grilling season up here...

Most people who love the summer, I believe, don’t work outside. Especially on roofs.

Now don’t get me wrong – building roof decks, even if that’s all we did, would keep me very happy. I love them. Yet once the mercury hits 80 degrees down on the pavement, tempers topside start to flare. Productivity plummets. Also the wistful ruminations about graduate studies not pursued start to creep in (which, once we hit air conditioning, thankfully dissipate from our collective consciousness like a forgotten dream).

The lesson I’ve taken is: build ‘em in the cooler months, enjoy ‘em in the warmer.

We built this roof deck between last Thanksgiving and Christmas. Although the wind was biting at times and there was a grey pall over the city’s skyline, our concentration never faltered and the cold served as motivation to keep moving.

As usual, we framed the deck from the house’s side wall to side wall, using the masonry below as structural support rather than the roof. The spiral staircase, leading from an existing balcony outside the master bedroom, was custom-built of galvanized steel with diamond plate step treads to prevent slipping.

Federal_rail detail.jpg

We chose pressure-treated wood for the decking and railings to keep material costs more reasonable than composite, allowing the homeowner to add several“bells and whistles.” These details include built-in planters with a fixed bench, horizontal plank railings and a 6-foot privacy fence.

But the deck’s true gem is the fully functional prep kitchen and grill station. The cabinetry was custom-made by our lead carpenter, which he milled out of a felled cedar from his own property. We retrofitted a granite countertop leftover from our clients’ recent kitchen renovation and reshaped it to fit our purposes. We ran electrical outlets both for general use and to the permanent refrigerator. We also installed a working sink with hot and cold water.

OK OK I admit it – by the time we hit the last week in December, I was grateful to be wrapping up. It was starting to get a little too damned cold. It's funny, how some springtime weather and fresh flowers help you to forget.

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