Introduction: Entry Fence, Entryway

I want to stress. This is was a design project, not something that I built. My wife and I designed the entryway and had it built by a local contractor in Tacoma, WA.


Step 1: Entryway Project

My wife and I developed an exterior plan for our house and I built decks of Ipe on the lower two levels of the house but this upper floor construction project was more than I wanted to take on since it involved a lot of structural concrete, so we designed it but had a local contractor build it.

The statuary is a piece we have long admired from a local artist Karen Miner.

The Ipe decking is natural color with just an oil preservative applied, as are the railings.

Step 2: The Existing Deck and Its Challenges

These pictures show the old deck/bridge to the front door. Our lot slopes down 45 Degrees from the street so the Entryway is on the top of the three floors of the house.

The task was to replace a failing entryway deck of 30 year old cedar. The old deck was giving way as the supports rotted and it was so lightly built that it vibrated when walked on.

Challenge #1: The old deck had 4 steps down to the front door right in front of that door. Since these steps finished about 4' from the front door they created an unwelcoming 'well' right by the door which accumulates leaves etc. It also means that we look out the front door window at about knee-level of people walking towards the door. The design challenge was that we did not want the new steps to be right before our front door we wanted to push the steps as far away from the front door as possible.

Challenge #2: We also had to deal with a side door to the garage which, if we pushed the steps very far, would mean we would need separate steps up again to the garage door. We also wanted a wider space and a modern approach that (when the exterior of the house is renewed next year) would make this 1987 property look ready for the 21st Century- using natural products and aiming for a clean look.

Challenge #3: Is that we needed to incorporate a propane tank storage locker into the deck. We fuel our Kitchen range from portable propane tanks which are plumbed to a "deck box" that is not visible in the above pictures. We wanted to eliminate this deck box and instead build the storage locker into the deck itself.

Challenge #4: Is that the house is at an odd angle to the garage wall along which the deck runs and the angles are jarring to the eye - not very feng shui!

Step 3: Finished Deck

These photos show the finished deck.

The steps have been pushed out almost to the street and are poured in concrete and have LED light strips embedded under each step.

The deck is widened by about 3'. In the second and third picture the white unfinished area next to the front door shows where the original deck railing was anchored.

A raised portion of the deck forms a walkway which leads to the Garage door and draws the eye to its angle with the steps and the front face of the house, rather than the odd angle of the garage wall.

The raised walkway conceals a propane storage tank with a lift up lid that is just visible in the 3rd picture. It is simply cut from the same Ipe plank as the decking.

Step 4: Construction Photos

These pictures just show the stages of construction.

Step 5: Fence

The project is finished off with a fence that provides privacy and makes this space inside much more usable. The fence is also made from planks of Ipe, ripped at about 1.5" with a black stain/sealer applied. The gate is a hanging sliding "barn style" gate.