Panoramic Redwood
Perched high on a Northern California hilltop, James and Ellie Johnson's home offers spectacular views of the foothills that surround 3,800-foot-high Mount Diablo. When the Johnsons decided to have a redwood deck built along one side of their in-ground pool, they wanted to be sure the structure and its guard rail would not obscure the scenic vista. Two clever details were integrated into the design to maintain the view. First, James suggested building the 500-square-foot free-form deck 12 inches below the top edge of the pool. The lower position makes the deck much less conspicuous when you stand near the house and look out across the pool into the distance. As a bonus, the dropped-down deck creates a comfortable sitting ledge along the serpentine edge of the pool. The second detail had an even greater impact. Contractor Mark Cobb, of Diablo Decks in nearby Oakley, installed a nearly invisible guard rail made of thin steel cables. The CableRail system, from Feeney Wire Rope, consists of 10 stainless-steel cables that run through holes bored in the 4x4 posts. In this system, steel protector sleeves are placed in the holes before the cables are threaded to keep them from chafing the wood. Special fittings at the end posts secure the 1/8-inch-diameter cables and allow them to be properly tensioned. The result is an attractive, unobtrusive guard rail. The 60 linear feet of railing cost about $780. If you decide to use the CableRail system, remember that the end posts must be at least 3 inches away from the house so the fittings can be attached and the cables tightened. Also be sure your local building department approves your deck and railing design before ordering the system.
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