Kilcrease Deck ProjectA cantilever deck of ipe... with hot tub!
My clients, Laura and Worth Kilcrease lived in a relatively new neighborhood in Austin, Texas with the house located on the side of a canyon overlooking a greenbelt at the rear of the property – an exceptional view. The structure was about 10 – 12 years old, and the cedar deck on the back was beginning to show its age – even early stages of rot in some areas. The owners decided to repair, modernize and expand the structure to both cantilever over the canyon, and accommodate a new hot tub. It’s funny how quickly things need updating these days…
They hired Scooter Cheatham, a former professor of architecture and author of the encyclopedia Useful Wild Plants of Texas to design the renovation. A creative mastermind in combining structural and aesthetic design components, Scooter was able to produce an elegant and innovative plan for achieving just what my clients wanted.
Fortunately the sub structure of the old deck (beams and joists) was of treated pine and still in excellent shape, and while the new configuration required that we remove much of what was there, we still were able to save and re-use a fair amount of the existing framing, especially the part that tied into the house.
Because of the cantilever, all of the new beams were of fabricated steel with welded joist hangers precisely placed to create a furniture quality construction, both attractive and functional. The hot tub required a heavy duty concrete base located close to the edge of the canyon wall – a difficult job because of the lack of access to the site.
The deck boards were of ipe, a beautiful and extremely dense South American hardwood, for which it was necessary to pre-drill a pilot hole for every stainless steel fastening screw. We also installed concealed built-in storage bins and custom built stairs of ipe between deck levels and down to the existing surrounding grade. Our welding contractor fabricated a steel handrail that was both simple and stylish. The hot tub was the crowning touch – turning something already quite cool into something delightfully relaxing and functional as well.
Ipe is also sometimes referred to as Brazilian walnut!