Addition to Oconee County Home
Made from durable, natural materials, this exquisite addition to a creekside home in Oconee County provides the residents with a transitional space between indoors and outdoors. Consisting of an upper deck and lower porch, as well as an interior living space connected to the kitchen, the addition is a space for entertaining guests in any weather or season. The addition is designed to blend into the surrounding landscape through selection of building materials, use of open space, and glass enclosures.
Skill Set: Custom Woodworking, Metals, Stone, Tile
A New Take on the Back Deck
The task here seemed simple: design and execute an addition that dovetailed with the surrounding natural environment, yet was still attractive and luxurious by modern standards. The addition had both indoor and outdoor segments need to flow naturally into the existing house, augmenting those existing spaces with extra light, room for entertaining, and increased functionality.
Designed by JBRS Architecture and built to specification by Thompson Construction, this addition is an elegant and functional new take on the traditional back deck.
The outer deck is cantilevered to provide extra shade and weather cover for the lower porch. The addition is useful even in inclement weather since the bottom porch is covered, yet still open to the natural world.
The openness of both the top deck and bottom porch allow residents and guests to have a clear line of sight and sound to the creek shoals located right down the hill from the house. You don’t have to go upstairs or downstairs to get out for a breath of fresh air, since both stories open onto the addition.
The columns supporting the upper deck were made with a limestone base and bodies of natural fieldstone to integrate the structure into the surrounding landscape.
One can see the impression of strength and durability given by the composition of the addition, as well as the abundance of natural light and air, even on the bottom porch. The addition serves as a transition between outside and inside, rather than simply being part of the house or part of the landscape.
A significant part of this image is the slate flooring, which gives the bottom porch floor a timeless appearance that compliments the natural stone that comprises the columns.
This addition includes significant custom woodworking, from the upper deck to the ceiling of the bottom porch to the latticework.
The lattices were handmade from cedar specifically for this design, as were the arched cedar frames that support the lattices. These lattices help strike a balance between the desire for shade and the need for natural light.
One of the most fascinating features of the addition is the design for the water drainage system. When water pours down on the upper deck, it leaks through, but is collected and drained away to downspouts by cedar soffets that are integrated into the ceiling of the bottom porch. Residents can entertain outside, even when it is raining.
Defining the Space
To prevent the top deck from being a plain, open space baked by the sun, the design called for a cedar beam arbor. This arbor is the space defining element for the outside deck area. It also provides some shade for the outer deck, balancing natural sunlight and the heat of the Georgia summer.
The cedar arbor echoes the filedstone columns that supports the upper deck. As the addition increases in height, the materials become more organic to blend in with the surrounding landscape.
The outer walkway of the top deck allows residents and guests an unobstructed view of the trees and creek shoals behind the house. The walkway surrounds the addition on three sides to provide an omnidirectional view.
For safety, durability, and aesthetic reasons, the railings on the upper deck are made from a combination of Newell post, stainless steel, and cable. They are inobtrusive, yet strong and durable, without obstructing light, breeze, or sound.
The addition flows out onto a deck made of ipy (or ipe) wood, also called ironwood. Ironwood is incredibly hard, dense, and heavy. The deck flooring is fastened from the bottom so that there are no screw or nail holes on top, causing the upper deck to resemble the deck of a ship.
When water penetrates the deck, it is collected by the soffet system attached to the ceiling of the lower porch and drained off to downspouts.
Interior Living Spaces
The interior living spaces incorporated into the addition design are constructed of a combination of glass and cedar to take full advantage of the natural light and extraordinary view. Down the hill from the house are the creek shoals, clearly visible from the addition.
Each “wall” of glass can be partially opened to extend the available outdoor space, but can be closed when the weather is cold or inclement. The interior columns between the glass “walls” echo the cedar arbor on the outside deck.
Transition from Inside to Outside
The addition extends from the kitchen to the walkway around the deck. The old kitchen window is now a serving window into the new room created by the addition. The added interior space serves as an entertainment area that provides access to both the kitchen and deck.
From kitchen to outer walkway, the addition provides an attractive, functional transition from indoors to outdoors. It allows residents and guests to take advantage of the indoor features to enhance their outdoor experience.