Scaly Mountain, N.C., is known for its picturesque mountain setting. Summers are filled with visitors hiking the trails and relaxing in the great outdoors while winter brings snow tubers and other winter sports enthusiasts.
One area house enjoyed spectacular views of the mountains but lacked an outdoor space to take advantage of the setting throughout the seasons. Warth Construction Inc., based in nearby Highlands, N.C., was charged with replacing an existing deck with a larger one suitable for barbecuing and hosting large parties year-round while making the most of the view. David Warth, president of Warth Construction, had worked with the client several times in the past. “They had always talked about taking on this project and making their deck an additional room for their home,” he explains. “When they came to us to say they were ready, we were eager to help them.”
A Personal Panacea
The owners were clear they wanted to use the outdoor space throughout the year but engaged in many conversations with Warth about the most effective way to meet that goal. “The owners had a sense of general placement and knew they wanted premium materials,” Warth reflects. “They were always open to suggestions and liked to be involved in the creative process. The owners knew from the beginning they wanted to be able to use this deck as more than just a stopping point. They wanted to be able to entertain, grill outdoors and have a tranquil space. Our clients wanted it to flow smoothly from the house and feel as though it was always meant to be there. The homeowners wanted an authentic North Carolina feeling.”
The North Carolina Highlands were settled in the 1900s when people fled the cities to escape tuberculosis. “The homeowners wanted the space to look as if it was steeped in history,” Warth remembers. “Our goal was to evoke the feeling that originally brought people to the Highlands. The mountain air was believed to be a cure for tuberculosis. The porch serves more of a personal panacea for the homeowners.”
The homeowners also wanted the outdoor space to replicate the home’s interior rustic feel. They requested a large dining area that could seat eight, living space, covered grill area and a picket-design railing around the deck that would not obstruct the view. In addition, they wanted a large masonry fireplace that would serve as the center of the space. All of this was necessary while maintaining the proper flow and function of the area.
A Custom Job
Warth designed custom-bowed iron balusters to accomplish the picket design request. “The homeowners liked the idea of belly-bow pickets but thought they would be too European for their mountain home,” Warth explains. “Our designer drew the pickets and we had our machine shop fabricate them. We’ve seen the design mimicked several times since. It’s like they say, ‘Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.’”
Warth used stone flooring and heavy cedar-louvered shutters to achieve the rustic aesthetic. Warth also chose to use copper gutters for their durability and longevity, as well as maintain the design theme. The bottom exterior of the deck, which is elevated above ground level, is stuccoed, which saves money and gives the homeowners the option to install stacked stone in the future.
For the cooking area, Warth Construction installed a grill and hood vent, under which they created a storage area for grilling accessories. The grill surround was created using reclaimed barn wood. A copper vent in the roof above the grill allows for proper airflow.
The large custom-built masonry fireplace that serves as the space’s focal point provides warmth year-round, even in temperatures that sometimes dip below freezing. The firebox is 6-feet tall and 5-feet wide. To protect against fire concerns, the flooring in the entire covered area of the porch is constructed of flagstone, which also accommodates easy cleanup. The flagstone was an aesthetic consideration; building codes dictate 20 inches of noncombustible material around a fireplace. There is no hearth. “Not having a hearth actually increases the visual appearance of the fireplace and added usable floor space,” Warth explains. “It’s a trick we like to use in many of our projects.”