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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

New Treehouse Deck and a Fixer Upper Moment

Thursday, August 11, 2016

I had a Fixer Upper moment today with the construction company building a new treehouse deck on the south side of the house. 

Went like this... picture Joanna holding her cell phone flat in her hand, palm up. Phone ringing.... 

"Judith, this is Joanna. The electrician discovered a problem today while he was installing your new outdoor plugs in your treehouse deck."

"What's the problem?"

"The fuses in the breaker box have tripped so often that they are melded to the box and cannot be removed. Electrician says we need to remove the fuses and replace them with new ones, but we don't know if the fuses can be gotten out of the electrical panel."


... as I thought about the project and how the old deck looked... 

The old redwood deck with its sloped door threshold and steps going down to the deck had needed replacing for several years. Worn out wood was not the only issue. Since we were replacing the deck, we decided to make the deck more user-friendly for family and friends with mobility problems. 

From a distance the deck just looked like it needed a good cleaning with a power washer, but the worn, cracked, and broken boards had become a safety hazard.

A local contractor had some good ideas about how to remove the old deck and to raise the deck level to the French door threshold. 

The old steps that ran the entire length of the deck were wasted space and the deck design needed some updating. The old steps did serve the purpose of not needing a safety railing which allowed the view from the house to the woods to be uninterrupted, but that space could be better used as decking at the same level as the deck instead of as unused steps. 

Step one was to remove the old deck and sloped threshold completely. The original exterior electrical outlet would also have to be raised since the new deck would be higher. 

Previously, the deck design was a two-level deck that wrapped around the house with steps that joined the two levels. Last fall the east deck was replaced, and the plans for the new south deck called for it to be at the same level as the east deck. 

Everything was moving along. The old deck was removed and hauled to the dump leaving a nice clean area for a new deck and new electrical outlets. 

Old gutters and trim boards were removed, new gutters ordered, and new gutter installation scheduled. 

The new decking is looking good. Raising the level of the deck two steps higher than before makes it feel like being in a treehouse deck. The trees seem so much closer. Everything is progressing on schedule. 

The electrician installed the new outlets... 

That did not work. 

Several trips into the garage to the main electrical panel and inside the house to check which circuits were working revealed the frozen melded fuses in the electrical panel.  


"So, Joanna, what do we do?" 

"We have a call into the master electrician to come this afternoon to look at the electrical panel to decide what to do. We will let you know what he finds and how much it is going to cost." 


The master electrician came, removed the old melded fuses, installed new fuses into a different open space in the electrical panel, and... 

... the new outlets work! 

Just like on Fixer Upper. 

Of course, Joanna and Chip are not doing my deck remodel, but it sure felt like a Fixer Upper moment today. Just substitute my contractor's name for Joanna. 

The new treehouse deck should be finished by the end of the week, and then the fun begins with arranging the new space.
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