When we moved into our apartment in 2003, we loved that it had a roof deck--we thought it was huge and spacious and lovely, and we enjoyed it thoroughly for years to come, even though the pressure-treated wood decking was splintery and warping in places and really should have been refinished. We didn't care--we grilled and grew plants and had parties and watched the fireworks and loved it. We did upgrade to a better skylight back in 2007, because the old one was leaky and difficult to climb out of anyway, but otherwise we didn't really do much to upgrade anything. When Marcus came around, we got a sand table for his first summer, and we added a baby gate (the only one we've ever owned, actually) separating the deck into two sections, one with the grill and the gap in the railing near our skylight, and the other with his toys and outdoor sisal carpet to cover the splinters. Last summer, though, the condo association decided to get an entire, much-needed new roof on the building, which meant we had to have our deck disassembled for the roofing project. Disassembling it and then having it rebuilt with the exact same materials after the roof job was done would certainly have been the cheapest option, but this seemed like as good an opportunity as any to get an entirely new deck, so that's what we did. We hired DiPierro Construction, who do lots of roofdecks in the South End and really know the codes and are used to this kind of project, to do our deck, and while the disassembly happened in the fall of 2010, because the condo roofers were slow and sloppy, and then because we had almost two full months of solid, roof-burying snow this year, our new deck didn't actually go up and get completely finished until April of this year. Since then, we've been putting some final touches on ourselves, and really enjoying it already. We had it extended back so it's quite a bit larger, and we got a nice non-splintery composite decking material plus wrought-iron railings.
This was the deck a week after we moved in, October 2003. One of the cast-iron sinks was already there, used as a planter, and the other we moved up when we ripped out our kitchen, and turned into another planter the following summer.
This was the deck last summer, with our dining table in the far back left corner and Marcus's sand table in the far right, and plants and water barrels and the gril up at the front.
This was the roof in December, after the new roof was finally installed and with our old deck disassembled and hauled away. We just left our stuff in a big pile on the roof for the rest of the winter because there was no way we had anywhere else to store it.
We'd had our deck guys coordinate with the condo roofers and drop off all the decking materials on the final day that the condo roofers' crane and police detail were here, so that we didn't have to pay for those separately later on. The materials stayed all bundled up on the roof throughout two months of snow, but none the worse for it as far as we could tell.
By March, when all the snow cleared, the deck was up, but we had to wait a bit longer for the wrought-iron guys to fit us into their schedule to finish the railing.
This is the front of the deck, though minus two adirondack chairs and footstools that I hadn't yet moved up there.
This is the middle of the deck, complete with railing covering that previously annoying opening next to our skylight, and with a great little dining nook perfect for our table and chairs.
This is the back of the deck, with the blackboard and Marcus's little kids-sized picnic table and benchesWe don't need the carpet anymore because the deck surface is so smooth, and we didn't bother with the baby gate at this point. I added solar lights all around as well as plastic chicken "wire" to cover the bottom of the railing on Marcus's side so that small balls and pieces of chalk don't go rolling off the deck.
Here's another view of the front of the deck looking back (that big smokestack is the unused chimney of the former piano factory, now artists' lofts and a theatre behind us on Tremont Street). In a couple weeks we'll pick up our tomato seedlings from Verrill Farm, add some herbs, and get our garden up and running, but until then we've still been making good use of the deck. Marcus sometimes puts his helmet on and uses his balance bike back and forth across it, and of course he loves helping Robert grill. He's not as big a fan of the chairs--"This chair is TOO BIG!" he said, grunting as he tried and failed to extricate himself from it. It should be a beautiful summer!
[Edited 7/7/11 to add the following: Here you can see the front of the deck with our herbs and tomato plants, with everything growing strong.]
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Created: 5/9/11. Last Modified: 7/7/11.