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All decked out

Posted July 10, 2013 in Norwalk
Anders and Barbara Thomsen stand on the deck that is attached to their Norwalk home and is decorated with potted plants and planters that hang on the railing.

Anders and Barbara Thomsen stand on the deck that is attached to their Norwalk home and is decorated with potted plants and planters that hang on the railing.

Each morning when the weather allows, Barbara Thomsen walks out the patio door of her Norwalk home onto her back deck, sits in the glider and enjoys her coffee.

It’s a ritual Thomsen has enjoyed since she and husband, Anders, built their house three years ago. The house had a small 12-foot-by-12-foot deck that was standard to the house and others in the development.

But the Thomsens enjoy their outdoor space so much — and like to look out onto the fountain and pond behind their house — that they decided to expand the deck.

DSC_0020“We wanted more space to have a seating area, and we wanted to expand it toward the pond and fountain,” Barbara says. “When we had them design it, we did glass panels instead of rails so you can see through it better.”

The fountain is lit up at night, and the couple likes to sit on their deck, talk and look at it.

Barbara says the family, which includes son Christian, 13, eats many meals on the deck. She thinks they’re one of the only families that utilize their deck to the extent that they do.

The Thomsens have decorated their patio with potted plants included several containers of potted herbs: basil, oregano, thyme, chives and parsley. Planters hang on the railings. Deck furniture sits in the corner closest to the pond. Barbara’s glider sits right outside the patio door. A grill is available for outdoor cooking.

The new addition of the deck wraps slightly around the backside of the house. Anders says it’s an area that remains shaded most of the day and is a nice relief from the hot summer sun.

Barbara says the new addition also allows for more privacy and is almost like a little cubby hole, where she can sit alone or with Andres and be shielded from the rest of the world. Two chairs sit in the secluded corner.

“It’s just kind of my own little area,” she says.

The couple sits outside on the deck daily even into the cool weather season. With their patio heater, “we can stay out here until the first snowfall,” Barbara says.

It’s not just the human members of the family who enjoy the deck. The family has two house cats who like to lay out on the deck on nice days and soak up the sun.

The Thomsens like to host grill parties and use their deck to entertain friends, as well as their lower deck and outdoor bar, and an outdoor patio that walks out from their basement. Anders recently placed tile over the concrete slab to create a nicer surface. He also plans to build an arch for shade and add a trellis with flowers to dress up the area.

Lakewood man enjoys casting line from his lakeside deck
Robin Risbeck jokes that she and her husband, Kent, have his and her decks on the backside of their Lakewood house. However, Kent spends most of his time on the lakeside deck at the edge of their property on Lake Colechester.

It’s from the lakeside deck or the couple’s boat that Kent casts his fishing line almost every day in good weather. And it’s from those spots that Kent says he has his favorite view of the couple’s lakeside home.

 Robin and Kent Risbeck of Norwalk on the waterfront deck of their Norwalk home.

Robin and Kent Risbeck of Norwalk on the waterfront deck of their Norwalk home.

That deck was built to be able to better enjoy the water and because Kent is a big fisherman, Robin says. It has a picnic table, and holes have been drilled into the railing to hold fishing rods.

“He just thinks life is a lot better if you have an opportunity to let your line every day,” Robin says of Kent.

They recently hosted family for Father’s Day and held their gathering at the lakeside deck, which has a large concrete slab next to it with a covered canopy.

The couple started out with a deck on the west side of their house. However, it was so hot in the summertime, that they built one on the east side of the house that they could move over to when it got too hot on the west side. They added a sun awning on the west side that can be pulled out for extra shade.

The decks are connected in the middle with a walkway and stairs that lead down to the backyard. Robin says they’re called “his and her decks.”

The Risbecks primarily use their back decks when family visits or they host a party. Robin says the couple prefers to sit on the private balcony off their master bedroom. It’s big enough for just two chairs and is comparable to a hotel balcony.

“We use that in the evenings if it’s a nice evening and the sun’s about ready to set,” she says. “It’s a nice place to end your day.”

Under cover
Brian and Lisa Allen used to be limited in how often they could use their back deck.

The family’s Norwalk house was built in 1993, and a deck was constructed on the back of the house that leads down to the backyard. However, the heat of the afternoon sun made it difficult to enjoy it.

Lisa and Brian Allen sit on their Norwalk deck. About five years ago, Brian built a roof for their deck so the couple could more easily enjoy it in hot summer afternoons.

Lisa and Brian Allen sit on their Norwalk deck. About five years ago, Brian built a roof for their deck so the couple could more easily enjoy it in hot summer afternoons.

“It was almost unusable with the summer sun,” Brian says.

So Brian built a roof over the top of the deck about five or six years ago. Now the family can sit out on the deck almost daily. Their children also like to hang out on it with their friends. The family recently sat outside one evening to look at the “Super Moon” in late June when the moon was at its closest point to Earth this year and occurred at the same time as a full moon.

The deck has patio furniture, a grill, and the Allens have added a shade that can be pulled down for additional screening from the late-day sun and privacy. A large tree provides some extra shade.

Lisa says the benefits of the covered deck also extend into the house. The temperature in the kitchen dropped by about 15 degrees once the afternoon sun could no longer shine into the patio doors.

Love of decorating extends out onto couple’s back deck
One of Cheryl Doll’s hobbies is decorating. Her husband, Fran, jokes that their basement looks like a Pier 1 décor and furniture store.

Fran and Cheryl Doll sit on their Norwalk deck. Behind them in the gold fish pond and fountain that Fran built.

Fran and Cheryl Doll sit on their Norwalk deck. Behind them in the gold fish pond and fountain that Fran built.

So it only makes sense that Cheryl’s love of decorating has extended to the back deck of their Norwalk home. She describes the decorating style as eclectic; Fran says there is no theme.

The deck was on the house when the couple bought it, but Cheryl has added lots of potted plants and planters on the railings, and a wide range of décor from a baby Buddha sitting on an elephant to water features to metal suns that hang from the house. Recently, the couple added lighting to the deck.

“It looks really cool from the street at night,” she says.

The Dolls spend a lot of time on their deck, either to eat meals and relax or to watch their grandchildren play. Fran enjoys gardening and has constructed a gold fish pond and waterfall in the backyard along with berms and other landscaping that is visible from the deck. The couple has three grandkids and put up a fort play set in their yard for the youngsters to enjoy.

She says the couple has discussed enclosing the deck but decided they enjoy it just as it is.

“Once the winter is done, we want out there,” Cheryl Doll says. “In the summer, it’s really an extension of our house.”





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