Monday, July 4, 2011

Deck Extension on Keepers House

When the keepers house at Swallowtail was leased as a bed and breakfast, a wonderful cedar deck was added on the southern side with access from the house through two patio doors.  The deck was only accessible from the western side and while some people did walk up on the deck, to get to the lighthouse it was necessary to walk back around the northern side of the house.

Beginning the extension of the deck on the keepers house.
This winter while restoration work was being carried out at the keepers house and boat house, the deck railing on the eastern side was knocked over by the wind during one of our northeast gales.  Although the railing was stood back up again and secured, the next gale took the railing and shook it so violently that all the pickets and rails were taken apart and flung onto the ground.

Joining the old and new decks.
It was then that I decided that forces beyond us were giving us a message - the railing had to go and the deck extended so people could walk across the deck to the lighthouse or come back over the deck to the keepers house.  This would more closely mimic the board walks that had connected the keepers houses (both old and new) to the lighthouse.

The rock outcrop was incorporated into the deck extension.
The deck is sculpted around the rock to match the observation deck.

Bench incorporated into the deck under construction.  The deck
extension allows access to the lighthouse from the southern side of the keepers house.
 Because the ground was frozen we had to wait until the spring to build the extension.  We also needed to make it strong enough to withstand the ferocious winds so it didn't get stood on end as the old boards walks were after an October hurricane in 1963.  We skirted the side facing the north to reduce the amount of wind that could be forced under and the deck, hopefully reducing the amount of uplift and keeping the deck in place.  We incorporated a bench instead of a railing so people could enjoy the views.  Because of a rock outcropping, the deck had to narrow as it extended to the east.  To match the observation deck, the deck was sculpted around the rock.
Upended board walk after an October 1963 hurricane.

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