This deck is all about the view, especially at night. In fact, the first thing you see as you approach the curved staircase leading up to the deck is the broad expanse of the lower Hudson Valley and the distant Manhattan skyline off to the southeast. To optimize views from the deck, we lowered the outer half of the upper level to create the effect of a disappearing edge as you look over it. The two-sided bench that defines the edge of the upper level forms amphitheater-style seating for the lower level. Stainless-steel cable railings leave the view wide open.
To extend the homeowner’s New Jersey deck season into the colder months, we added a fire pit to the lower level. Besides introducing the comfort of a warm fire to complement the view, it’s an inviting feature that encourages the use of the lower deck—an important design strategy for any secondary deck area. The lighting is subtle so you can navigate at night, but not so overpowering that it blots out the night sky and city lights.
The decking is ipe that has been fastened to 2x10 framing with countersunk screws and then plugged. We used Azek PVC trim for the fascia, and meranti for the rail posts, top rails, and benches.
Bob Kiefer owns Decks by Kiefer in Martinsville, N.J.