This Screened Porch and Deck in Potomac, MD Spotlights the Exotic Beauty of IPE

You may be thinking about adding a hardwood deck such as mahogany or tigerwood onto your home. There are a number of fabulous and breathtakingly beautiful hardwoods on the scene. Not only do some of this hardwoods take advantage of the natural beauty of the wood, some of them boast durability as well.


This photo by Archadeck of Maryland shows the clipped corners for a panoramic view

Archadeck of Maryland turns back the clock a little to focus on a project we did a few years back for a customer in Potomac, MD. We changed out an existing house wall and made it into a beautiful stone wall and then added a 3-walled screened porch with clipped corners for a panoramic view. We used Ipe flooring and a beautiful clean cedar ceiling, just a stunning combination. We also added a small deck off the outside edge of the screened porch, on the far wall the deck is just big enough for a BBQ. We used a pair of french doors as the exit doors, this added an air of refinement to the addition. To add character and whimsy we installed a cupola on the roof as well.

The house was roughly a 1960’s home in the french colonial style and it had a mansard style roof. The home had a family room with a picture room with doors on either side, this is where we removed all of that and installed the wide opening to accommodate the screened porch. Along with the mansard style roof the home had cedar shakes, we matched the roof of the new structure with the same cedar shakes. Even though this was expensive and very maintenance prone over time, it was necessary to keep the structural integrity of the home intact.

This had been the 1st job we had ever finished a ceiling out with clean cedar, we used a satin finish, which looks even more elegant than a high gloss finish. The choice to use Ipe for the flooring was in part for the beauty and the other would be the extreme durability. Ipe is nicknamed “ironwood” by the industry. It is so hard and resilient you need to use titanium drill bits to drill through it. It will not float in fresh water because of its dense nature. In places where water and long-lasting are used in the same sentence such as floating docks and even the Annapolis yacht club, we have seen it used with much success. We have even heard that the New Jersey boardwalk is not made of Ipe because of its quality.

Ipe is a clean wood as well, it has a dark chocolate palette with variations from board to board. Much is the look of the Brazilian hardwoods. All you need to do to keep that dark beautiful finish is seal it. It will turn a silver-gray, the sealing is only to maintain the color, because even if you choose not to seal Ipe it will not degrade .

John Barrett Archadeck of MarylandThis is just one of the many happy customers we have built structures for of hardwood decking. We have many more options, as well as Ipe. Give Archadeck of Maryland a call today to find out more at (301) 926 – 3001 or email us at


This Deck in Bethesda, MD Shows That “Zen” is “In”

Open design with a "zen" feel

This deck was designed and constructed for some wonderful homeowners in Bethesda, MD. The homeowners have a meticulous taste for decorating, style and design. The goal was to have an elevated deck to gain access to the patio and the house.  The homeowner also wanted to keep the number of stairs to a minimum when getting over to the patio area. The challenge was to make this elevated deck appealing to the owners’ meticulous eye for design and personal taste but unobtrusive and with a modern feel.

Design rendering that was not chosen by the homeowners

We were up to the challenge of turning this backyard into a haven for relaxation for these Bethesda customers. We met with them and drew up a few design renderings to give them a feel for what the structure would look like when it came to

Rendering from above, this was the chosen design for the deck

fruition.They wanted a beautifully open look to the backyard and since their yard grades up we decided upon an open deck with a “zen” feel to it.

Detailed view of the beautiful mahogany

The wood we chose is pre-finished mahogany which is a beautiful exotic hardwood similar to Ipe and tigerwood. This particular deck has a variation in the color of the planks which adds to the feeling of being real hardwood. The maintenance for mahogany is the same as any other exotic hardwood, or hardwood in general, you can leave it untreated and it will “gray” out in about one year or you can apply a tropical hardwood oil to ensure color preservation.

Before the addition of the deck

With the homeowners wishes for as few stairs as possible within the structure, the stairs descending down one side were a challenge. These stairs were not considered permanent structures because we were able to build them going down one side. We run into these type of things quite often, so we enjoy coming up with creative solutions. If the deck had been higher than 30 inches we would’ve had to use a rail,  border or benches.

Mahogany deck Bethesday Maryland

Mahogany deck Bethesday Maryland

We were able to blend the deck into the landscape where the back yard gently grades up to leave this open like the homeowner wanted. The finished dimensions of the deck were 20.5′ wide and 18′ deep.

Keeping the “zen” feeling throughout this structure made it open and airy. Many designers would say this deck has good “feng-shui”, we just know it is another structure we enjoyed building to make another homeowners vision of tranquility a reality. Give Archadeck of Maryland a call to design your upcoming outdoor structure.(301) 926 – 3001

Owner of Archadeck of Central Maryland- John Barrett