Friday, April 20, 2012

The Deck... pt 2

Let's see here... where did we leave off?...

oh yea...
WOW! Looking back on it now, we got a LOT done in one weekend! I guess thats what happens when you have 4 Yanniello men and one manly Blake friend helping out!

Week 2 is all about the stairs and pergola...

Since I have been dubbed the "boss" of this little extremely large and costly project, Chris let me chose options for the top of the pergola (aka how much light would be let in)...

Option 1:
Option 2:
Basic outline of the pergola...
I decided to go with option 2, since I still wanted the space to feel open, and not like we had an extension of the roof over the deck... which would feel a little too "closed" for me.

Chris liked Option 1, but since I pulled "Boss rank" he agreed to go with Option 2... ... ... and the boss is never wrong. Ever. (spoiler alert: maybe I was on this one... but more on that later)

So that weekend, we started...

Oh did I mention that Blake came back? (even after all the torment and hours of labor we put him through in the first week)... Yea he's a good guy... we love him.

Our buddy Jared also came up from Ft Hood where he is stationed since he came back from Iraq... (sidenote: Ladies, he is also single, tall, funny, and is pretty good at bar games such as "Big Buck Hunt"... thats a winner in my book if there ever was one)
We bought these pre-cut stair guider's at Lowe's when we went to pick up more wood and MAN, are they useful!
Since our backyard isn't 100% "even", they required a lot of time raising, hammering, and leveling but totally made the job 10,000x easier than it would have been trying to make our own stairs...
Chris and his dad were hard at work building the stairs...
While Blake and shirtless Jared finished up the railing...
In case you guys didnt know, Blake is a rocket scientists... Im not joking (on his company webpage, it's listed as "Research, design, development, manufacture and integration of advanced technology systems, products and services. Specialties include aeronautics).  This being said, Blake was our go-to man on this deck for anything that had to deal with precise angels and measurements... aka making sure the railing was perfect.
While Chris's dad took a break from the Texas pre-summer heat (we are already well into the 80's), Chris and Jared finished up the stairs...

The above picture should be entitled "Men: Doing manly things"

And just when we thought everything was smooth sailing... we hit a bump.

Not really a bump, but a kink in our plans regarding the pergola.

We had "planned" to do one large pergola over the entire bottom portion of our deck.  However, we couldnt make it too tall due to this ugly thing:
Yep, that would be our power line and our main source of electricity to the house.  It cuts all the way across our yard where it hits the middle back part of our house.

I hate it and it's ugly.... and I've told it that MANY times.

The problem was that the lower deck was 8" shorter than the top deck (we did this since our yard in on a slant and would have been WAY too high to all be on one level)...
 And hence the lower deck Pergola would have been too awkwardly low for the top deck...(our tall friends could have hit their heads walking by it)
 What to do, what to do?

And then, because he's brilliant, Chris's dad suggested a two step pergola.

GENIUS I tell you! GENIUS!
This way, when you round the corner and step down, the pergola will be nearly 12 ft high and the lower, little secluded part will still feel nice and cozy with a 9ft+ pergola!

This also worked out perfectly since we have 6 posts and could easily make the pergola two different, yet even, halves.
Ummm I'm going to LOVE it...
The hardest part about getting started? Drilling the holes...
I know it doesnt look too daunting, but you have to remember we are drilling through about 7"-8" of solid wood... and thats not easy.  Honestly took about 15 minutes to drill ONE hole. (Insert inappropriate joke here)

While Chris drilled away at the hard stuff, I drew a pattern for the edges of the pergola... I wanted to go with something like this:
photo from here
See how the ends have a bit of a sassy flare? 

I drew it with pencil on one of the planks as a tester and asked Chris's dad cut it with a jigsaw for me...
Here's Jared modeling the finished piece...
Is it me, or does it kinda look like Tennessee?
Thank you Vanna Jared.

Once we cut one on an actual Pergola plank, here's how it looked...

Rocky even came out to visit and express his satisfaction as well...
So now that we knew what we were doing... more planks went up...

And for the first time EVER, we had functioning stairs...
Everything really started to move along... mostly due to Jared hammering and laying away!
I love having handy friends...

So at the end of week 2, here's where we stood....
I know it doesnt lookt like a HUGE difference from week 1, but the truth of the matter is we have stairs, finished railings, cut out pergola planks, and a two level pergola frame!...

Here is the sequential progress from where we started...
Seriously?... Im about to pee in my pants Im so excited to show you week 3... Its amazing. Seriously, these pictures will change you life... well, maybe not YOUR life, but they definitely changed ours!

I would love to get your feedback!  What part do you like best so far? Do you have super handy single friends that you also exploit for cheap labor? Are you excited to soon see the kinda finished product?


  1. Looks great! Can they come to my house next!

  2. It's looking absolutely fantastic! Y'all are so lucky to have wonderful friends and family to help out with the project. How great is it going to be to have a big party celebrating them when it's all finished!?! Can't wait to see how the two step pergola turns out, very cool.

  3. We have a wrap around deck from the side of our home that winds around to the back. because of the slope we ended up with two levels of decking. I love it.

    Don't have a pergola though. tell Jared, if he works for food, he will be well looked after up here in Ontario, Canada :)

  4. Samm! First thank you for showing my bench love today and the sweet comment! Coming back over to check you out- and MAN you got a great looking blog and fun fun projects! Loving this deck! It's going to look amazing! Can't wait to see it all said and done!! You are awesome- and are my 100 GFC follower- THANK YOU! {gave you a nice shout out on FB} Thanks again, and oh I will be BACK! :) Jen

  5. The deck is looking great, can't wait to see it finished. Man, a few different bloggers have deck remodels going on and it really makes me want to own my own home again. But... not until we are done moving around, so goes the Army life. Someday!!


  6. I have to comment again- yes I am back- told ya! ;) Part 2 of your deck- HELLO!!! {I think i peed too, so no worries} Oh my Gosh is this coming along amazing! I can't seriously wait to see part 3! No joke!!!! My favorite part would be just the overall difference, and I can just picture you back there already with some nice furniture, drink in hand..oh man- you are almost, almost, there!! YEAH!

  7. Men: Doing manly things.

    I love you, and I love this blog! I was telling my friend Brittany about it. She and her husband just bought a house and are gutting the interior. So proud of your hard work!

    Love you!

  8. My fav is the pergola, that is going to be so neat looking!

  9. This is amazing. Lucky you to have friends and family to help you.

  10. Lol! As someone who has done many projects which involve pergolas in Dallas; thanks for reminding me how much fun it can actually be!


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