DESIGNI NG green Covered Dining
ow you see it, now you don’t. That would be the sun I’m referring to. That elusive ball of Vitamin D that we ‘Wetcoasters’ dream of daily. My favourite architectural way of dealing with this affection for light is to create our gathering rooms adjacent to, or right out into the outdoors. Now you don’t see the light, the table is set and company is arriving and the sky is raining cats and dogs? All the more reason to create that all weather all season room we call the covered deck. Whether on the main floor or second, make sure it’s big enough. The magic dimension is 12’ across in two directions minimum. That provides full seating and the ability to walk around and serve or be served. Anything smaller is always a disappointment.
Make it open onto a feature view, a pond, a landscaped garden, a vegie garden for access to ingredients or a mountain or pastoral view. If it’s an ocean view, be sure you allow for quickly changing winds and that cooling off effect we are accustomed to. Try hanging glass screens, large sliding glass panels or simply face the West instead which has the early evening heat we are more comfortable with. Timbering is all the rage these days especially with outfits like MacDonald and Lawrence creating elegant timber frames throughout the valley. These may be cost prohibitive to some but they offer height and large spans which help to shelter while still providing light to enter. They are also often massive in proportion which comes as a welcome feature once out of doors. The scale helps to balance with our surroundings, the tall
Douglas Firs and nearby mountains. Once created, they are strong enough to hang chairs, hammocks and large lighting fixtures along with hanging glass screens. The large vaulted shape even allows for wood or gas fired ovens, barbeques and even open fire pits if you provide the necessary clearances. And even second of third story decks can have these amenities. I recently completed one overlooking a year round fast running creek here in town. Complete with ’man kitchen’, suspended bar (to avoid those pesky legs for the not so sure footed), lounging space gathered around a second story open gas fired pit and elegant evening light that washes the underside to the timbering to give a sense of cathedral. What’s that about a home being your palace? The deck surface is finished in continued on next page
Old To Fabulous!
ne of the most popular and quick to catch on trends in design these days is the art of re furbishing old furniture. The process has become so easy with the new clay based paints on the market, such as Canadian made Cottage Paint. With this product you don’t need to go through the nasty and dirty work of
sanding, stripping or priming your piece of furniture prior to applying the paint. What could be easier? I often hear customers say they have a piece of furniture with”great bones”, or a ‘wonderful provenance ‘ or just that it holds many sweet memories from their past. Then the challenge becomes how to save the past in ways that make them appropriately beautiful and current in our homes today. The first step is to make sure your chosen piece of furniture is in good condition. It must be worthy of the time and effort you are going to be putting into it. For me personally, I never work on anything that isn’t solid wood.
After that, (and I often tell my students this is the hardest part of the whole process) you must choose the colour and type of finish that would be suitable for the project. Step two is to clean all dirt and grease from the surface. Any good grease cutter should do the job but for some finishes I use TSP and rinse well. Now is where the fun begins! Go ahead...load up your brush with your chosen colour and start applying the paint. Always brush in the same direction as the grain of the wood. In no time you will be so amazed at the difference already! Cottage Paint will dry quicker than most latex paints on the market so after
about one hour you can apply the second coat. In most cases this will be enough coverage. When you are satisfied with the coverage and your final coat has dried completely, you can manifest a slightly worn appearance by gently rubbing with a damp cloth the areas that would naturally have shown wear and tear. Corners, edges and the feet are good places to rub. Stand back from your project and try to imagine where natural aging would have occurred. The final step in the process is to seal the paint with a protective coat. There are many choices here.
Valley Voice Magazine - Your Monthly Guide to Living in the Cowichan Valley
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For those who like to eat, live and play in the Cowichan Valley