Lifestyle » Homes

Decked out

This backyard oasis may have taken MRB Contracting longer than expected to finish but it was worth the wait.

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If these walls could talk, they’d say “ditch the visor.”
  • If these walls could talk, they’d say “ditch the visor.”

It's hard to believe this backyard escape was once the sad backside of a 100-plus-year-old house in the north end of Halifax. Mike Burns, of MRB Contracting, was living in the home as he and his team tore it apart and put it back together, and when summertime rolled he got to thinking about some serious yard work. "I started off saying well, if I'm going to be living in shambles, I want to create a good outdoor space first," he says of the project that ended up seeing him well into the fall. Taking inspiration from the great architects he finds himself surrounded with, Burns followed his imagination. "The idea was to have an outdoor room. It's right in the city so you're kind of squished in there," he says. "It provides some privacy, while blocking the really intense afternoon sun. So it combines privacy and comfort."

Steering clear of pressure-treated materials, as MRB tends to do, Burns looked to Sackville's Heffler Forest Products for custom-milled hemlock that was later dipped in Lifetime, an enviro-friendly, water-based, non-toxic treatment ("so kids and dogs can run around and lay on the deck"). The addition of a massive harvest table---built from leftover rough cuts from the deck itself---and atmospheric lighting that illuminates the deck from above and below, helped to pull the modern addition together, making it a prime spot for summer---or in Burns' case, fall---hangouts. Solitude in the city, four walls with breeze---this isn't just a back deck, it's the best of many worlds.

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