Merit Award: Treetop Whimsy

A poorly built deck is transformed into a timber-screened treetop room able to accommodate up to 20 guests.

Treetop dinner: This timber-screened veranda replaced a poorly built deck and created a gathering space that is comfortable nearly year-round. Judges admired "the whimsy of it being in the trees."

The roofing material is a combination of asphalt shingles (to match the existing shingles) and translucent polycarbonate panels, to transmit a glow of filtered natural daylight and minimize the loss of natural light in the now-enclosed kitchen and dining room.

Because the home is on a steep, wooded lot, the platform is 17 feet above grade. It is supported by 8-foot by 8-foot treated pine posts, braced with steel tensioning cables and exposed turnbuckles. Brushed aluminum railings have horizontal steel tension cables.

The veranda is accessible from the adjacent kitchen and can accommodate gatherings of up to 20 people. All-season quartz patio heaters extend its useable "season" to nearly all year. Brazilian Ipe flooring offers excellent durablity and intense color.

The project's designers are also its builders, in homage to the art and craft of the ancient masterbuilder. They designed the roof shape and exposed timber-and-steel structural system to both work with the difficult existing roof conditions and shape a pleasing room beneath it.

What sold me is the understructure," said one judge. "Detailing this so it looked so simple was a feat," said another judge.

"I think it's a pretty incredible thing," said a judge.

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