Rebuild the deck and stairs and create a patio with access to the walkout basement below.
The house is wood construction with painted wood siding. It was built in 1996, and is generally in good condition except for the deck. The footings for the deck supports have shifted over time, and the decking material has not been properly maintained. The picture of the house from the back shows that it is very tall. It has 9' ceilings and the basement is also quite high. The current deck is 18'x12'. The new deck should be no smaller than this.
Our goals are:
1) Replace the deck, which is in a bad state of repair.
2) Put some sort of shaded cover on at least part of the deck, such as a roof or an awning.
3) Create a patio area for additional outdoor entertainment space.
4) Have a place for the gas grill that is easily accessible from the door to the breakfast nook (kitchen) area.
5) Improve the look of the house by breaking up the "line" and the massive vertical reach.
6) Maintain egress to the walkout basement below the deck.
7) Ensure that any additional roof line does not create maintenance issues (rot, ice dams, etc)
8) Think of additional elements, like plant boxes for herbs, area for a swing potentially, etc
The rear of the house faces south, so is exposed to direct sunlight. This makes the current deck almost unusable during the hot summer months. Therefore we would like some part of the deck to be shaded. It should be noted that we frequently get high winds. We realize that a roof or awning will be difficult to design given the current windows to the living room. We would consider replacing or modifying these windows, since the main window has lost its seal and is just at the outside of its warranty. However, these windows provide a significant source of light to the house, so we would not want to remove them completely. Or if there is another design besides a roof or awning that provides shade we'll consider it. Pergolas look attractive, as long as they offer shade. Another consideration is splash creating maintenance issues where the deck attaches to the house.
We are open to a very different deck configuration for the deck and stairs, such as spiral stairs or relocating them on the side of the deck. An innovative design might even consider closing in the space below the deck and creating a 3-season sun room or a screened porch area. We are also open to a multi-tier design.
Although the basement area is not currently finished, we would like to retain the option to finish it at a later stage and create a small apartment living space. The logical place for a kitchenette in the basement apartment would be near the walkout doors, so it could be used for entertaining on the patio. Please note that the basement remodel would be a longer term project, given the substantial cost.