wood deck with steps to backyard patio
Photo: Mark Lohman
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The Real Stuff

Working with builder Robyn Weeden, the Coopers had to decide on several key elements at the outset. For material, they wanted something weather resistant and attractive, and although friends suggested composite decking, the Coopers preferred real wood. After researching various hardwoods with a nice dark look, they ultimately decided to go with red balau. A plantation-grown Indonesian hardwood, it has a rich brown color they could maintain by treating it regularly—every six months, as it turned out—with a clear sealer.

Misha wanted a clean, contemporary design and asked Weeden to build both the deck and deck furniture for a uniform look. She also wanted to raise the deck so that it was on the same level as the French doors that access it. "The old deck had a funny step-down," says Misha.

Using the footprint of the existing deck but starting from scratch, Weeden set concrete footings, added a subframe of pressure-treated lumber, and then installed the deck boards perpendicular to the house, with a hidden fastener system.

Shown: Rosy brick covers a 20-by-30-foot patio area that includes zones for playing and casual dining.
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