“Leaf stain” usually refers to unsightly dark marks on pool and house decks, sidewalks, patios, etc. caused when leaves that have fallen from trees are allowed to sit long enough to discolor the surface. However the delicate silhouette of a leaf or leaves is sometimes attractive and intriguing like a fossil discovered in a stone wall or patio. In this case leaf stain needn’t detract from the beauty of exterior surfaces. Sometimes the delicate silhouette of a leaf or leaves is so beautiful that it deftly sheds the nuisance mantle and assumes the found art mantle.
It’s a matter of perspective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?
And so I was pleased with I received a message and photograph from Eric Crowningshield yesterday.
“Just wanted to check with you before sanding this off? […] This must have been a leaf that sat on the deck. Not sure if it would stay after staining or not but definitely cool if it did.”
Of course, we kept it. It’s exquisite!
We’re grateful to Eric for noticing and preserving the leaf stain, a subtle gift from nature that will hopefully remain visible after the new garapa decking is oiled. I presume that you see the leaf stain in the first photo in this post, but can you see it in the second photo? What about this larger perspective?
That’s a little trickier to discern. But if you look carefully, more-or-less in the middle of the photograph, you’ll see the leaf stain. It’s eight decking boards to the left of the black grate. See it? What about in this perspective?
From this perspective the location of the leaf stain is eight garapa decking boards to the right of the black grate about 2/3 up from the bottom of the photo. It’s pretty well camouflaged, but I love the idea that somebody, some time will notice it. A little surprise. Like the many fossils that are hidden (in plain site) in our stone walls, it will be be fun when friends and family happen to note the natural art.
Oiling the Grape Decking
Although Hroth Ottosen finished installing the of the garapa decking a couple of weeks ago and Eric’s team wrapped up installing and sanding plugs more recently, the final step of this project is to seal the garapa decking with oil. Here’s the progress so far.
What magnificent color and grain the oil brings out! That is almost exactly how the decking looks after a soaking rain, so we’ve been able to get a preview several times during installation. And this is actually a sort of IRL déjà vu from the winter of 2008 when the deck was installed for the first time. In fact, despite the exciting freshness of the redecking project, this is actually a repeat of the installation that marked the final significant project in our original Rosslyn rehabilitation. I’m planning to compose another post soon that highlights the original decking project, and another that showcases this summer’s 2022 redo. (If you’re wondering why the first deck only lasted about fourteen years, you’re asking the right question. Answer will be forthcoming soon, I promise.)
This is the third project that Eric Crowningshield has worked on for us, the most ambitious of which was his first, a 9-10 month epic remodel of ADK Oasis Lakeside. When we decided to purchase and remodel a second vacation rental adjoining ADK Oasis Highlawn in the middle of the pandemic, everyone thought we were nuts. How in the world did we expect to transform this property during such challenging times, especially given that we’d be in Santa Fe for many of the most challenging months of the remodel?
No sense revisiting that monumental undertaking here, but suffice to say that it never would have happened without the able leadership of Eric Crowningshield and Pam Murphy. Underpromise. Overdeliver. Every time. These two are a formidable team in and of themselves, but this summer we were even more fortunate to bring in three close friends to transform this overdue, languishing, pain in the @$$ project into a success story. Susan’s cousin, David McCabe, a carpenter/contractor in the DC-area brought decades of experience. Ed Conlin, a high school friend of Susan’s who quickly became a close friend to me (and everybody else he’s ever met) over two decades ago brought decades of construction experience. Our friend, Hroth Ottosen, a skilled carpenter who has worked for us on some singularly unique projects at our home in Santa Fe, signed on to captain this crew through the redecking project. Tony Foster, who joined our team during the ADK Oasis Lakeside project, brought his perennially flexible, impervious-to-hard-work-and-scorching-heat endurance, and upbeat demeanor to the redecking project. And Brandon, our savvy problem solving electrician rounded out the team. Actually, I’ve failed to mention some of the hardest working members of the team, the carpenters that work for Eric: Matt, Justin, Garrett, Jason, and Andrew. But I’m getting ahead of myself…
I didn’t mean to get in so deep on the re-decking crew, not yet, but my enthusiasm got the better of me. I’ll be dedicating a full post to this dream team soon, so I’ll abbreviate this postmortem for now by acknowledging that we’re profoundly grateful to work with such conscientious, communicative, creative people. Such GOOD people. Great work ethics, but also just decent, caring, people with integrity and positive demeanors. Thank you, all!