The owners of this handsome old residence,
located on a quiet, tree lined street, had two
main objectives. With two small children and a
love of entertaining, their need for a first floor
powder room had become intense. They also
longed to replace their home’s deck which, in
addition to being awkwardly designed, had been
neglected by previous owners to the point of
being structurally unsound. Most curiously, the
deck offered no access to the large rear yard.
While cost would be an important factor in
addressing these goals, the owners also
recognized that respecting the style and
character of this fine old home was crucial.
It became evident early in the design process
that carving out space for a new powder room
from within the existing first floor was
impractical. But while the home’s original rear
porch was too small to be very useful,
enclosing it yielded a space that was just large
enough to accommodate a powder room and a
small vestibule that serves as a coat area and a
buffer to inclement weather.
The existing deck was clearly an afterthought,
and its odd layout, crude details, and
uncomfortable relationship to the home’s very
tall rear facade made it a singularly uninviting
The new deck presents a significantly more
welcoming impression. An open pergola
shelters the dining portion, while also reducing
the apparent height of the existing brick facade
and imparting a comfortable human scale to the
entire composition. Simple carpentry details
reflect Craftsman influences found inside the
house, and premium-grade treated lumber was
specified for its enhanced durability and a
handsome, natural appearance. A graciously
proportioned stairway flows from the deck to
the rear yard, where landscape improvements
will soon be underway.
Other planned future improvements include the
construction of a detached, 2-car garage at the
rear of the property. This, in turn, will allow the
existing tandem garage (so narrow that it is
essentially unusable) to be converted to an
exercise room. The existing garage door will
then be replaced with french doors leading out
to an intimate patio in place of the present
driveway turnaround. A complete renovation of
the master suite is also planned, and will
feature a separate dressing/sitting area and a
spacious master bath.
|Mt. Lebanon Deck and Powder Room
The new deck, with the former rear porch now enclosed as a
powder room and vestibule. Ribbon-coursed cedar shingles lend
to a tailored appearance and a pronounced horizontal emphasis.
The garage door is to be replaced with french doors and sidelites.
A pergola shelters the dining portion of the new deck. It reduces
the apparent height of the existing facade, imparting a
comfortable human scale. Beyond, a trellis offers privacy from
the neighboring property, and will soon support flowering vines.
A graciously proportioned stairway flows from the
deck to the rear yard, where landscape improvements
will soon be underway.
View from under the pergola into the Vestibule beyond.
The existing deck was
clearly an afterthought,
and afforded no access
to the rear yard.
The looming height of
the home's rear facade,
made for a singularly
The relationship of
the existing deck to
the original rear
porch was awkward
The character of the
existing deck was
austere, and its
The powder room is flooded with natural light, making it appear
more spacious. Simple yet thoughtfully conceived carpentry
details echo the Craftsman flavor of the home's original interior.
Completed project photos by Rebecca Droke.