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May 2020 Feature

Cozy Outdoor Living:

Covered Deck With Fireplace Extends Living Space For Westmoreland Family


For many homes built more than a decade ago, a back deck or porch was usually considered to be more of an accessory to the house than a prime living space. However, between East Tennessee’s temperate seasons and the booming trend toward outdoor entertainment areas over the past few years, back decks are getting a much-deserved upgrade.

In fact, rather than being an understated—and often underused—accessory to a home, back porches or decks today are being designed as classy, cozy extensions of a home’s living space.

For example, take the brick Colonial home in Westmoreland that we featured last month with a modernized master bathroom renovation. [See: How McCamy’s Team & Processes Built Trust With Westmoreland Homeowners].

The home originally had a small, open back deck that had some rotting wood, so the homeowners knew they either needed to replace the rotting wood or remodel the deck entirely. As with their master bath renovation, they decided to go beyond basic repairs and redesign the space to be what they really wanted.

The homeowners had primarily used the deck for grilling, which was convenient since it extends off the open kitchen and living room area. However, they knew the deck space could become a much more inviting place where they and their 2 small children could relax and entertain friends.

“We wanted to extend the back deck area to make it bigger and cover it with a vaulted ceiling, but not enclose the sides with glass or screens,” the homeowner said.

“We still wanted the open back deck feeling, but we wanted a roof overhead to protect it from the elements. That way, the new deck could function as an outdoor extension of our main living area inside, which was the main goal.”

An Outdoor Fireplace & Entertainment Area

To really make the new, covered back deck a comfortable outdoor living space that the family would enjoy, the homeowners also wanted to add a fireplace with a large-screen TV above it. They also wanted the structure to integrate seamlessly with the existing home.

The McCamy crew took careful consideration to work around existing windows on the second story of the home, which enabled them to maximize the roof pitch to create a vaulted ceiling over the deck.

Plus, by extending a portion of the roof to cover the door off of the kitchen, the family can enter the porch from either the kitchen or the family room and still be under cover. This design element greatly increases the deck’s functionality, in any weather.

The homeowners agree that it was the many thoughtful design details that make the space even more enjoyable. “One of my unexpected favorite parts is a grill landing that the McCamy crew added,” the homeowner said, explaining, “We grill a lot, all year long, but we didn’t want or need a full outdoor kitchen.”

However, just placing the grill alone under the covered deck wasn’t a good option since the heat and smoke under a roof structure could quickly interfere with entertaining. Having the grill on the ground, isolated from everything else, wouldn’t have been user-friendly either.

So McCamy suggested a secondary grill landing just a few steps down from the main porch. The grill landing area is uncovered for ventilation, yet still close to the entertaining space of the covered deck.

“The additional grill landing turned out to be the perfect solution,” the homeowner said. “It actually looks great, rather than just putting the grill off to the side or on the ground. We wouldn’t have thought of that.”

As they found with the master bathroom renovation process, the homeowners especially appreciated the builder’s app that McCamy uses to communicate daily. Knowing what was done each day, when materials were expected to be delivered, and being given a head’s up about any decisions that were upcoming reassured the homeowners that everything was on track and in good hands.

Plus, while they had McCamy’s crew on hand, the homeowners took care of a few other odds and ends that needed updating. They were particularly relieved to replace the wet bar in the living room that had sported a dated hunter-green Formica countertop, as well as replace the fairly worn front door to the home.

“Everything looks awesome!” the homeowner said, adding that the family plans to enjoy as much time as possible together on the new covered deck this summer and fall.

With endless possibilities—such as hanging bed swing or a covered patio with a stone fire pit and rustic beams, you’ll be ready for outdoor entertaining or relaxing at a moment’s notice. Whatever your dream may be for your outdoor space, we can build it. If you’d like to see other inspiring projects we’re working on, you can find examples of the McCamy quality on our Facebook page, Instagram, or Houzz.

If you’re considering renovating or building a custom-designed outdoor living space or home, we would love to talk with you. Schedule your consultation by filling out this form or give us a call at (865) 247-7068.