Cotton Exchange and Sweet Olive get a facelift!

Well, let’s be specific and say, “Two of Azalea Inn and Gardens’ favorite rooms just got a chin lift.”
The decks were torn down and completely rebuilt to accommodate the tree that grows right outside the Cotton Exchange and up past Live Oak Canopy. The tree had the deck going all katiwhumpus and the nails holding all together were groaning to be released from the pain.
My brother Sean arrived on Saturday afternoon, and by Sunday afternoon, must have been bored silly and offered to fix the decks.  Now Sean is a perfectionist when it comes to carpentry, so it would be no other way than tearing it down and rebuilding it, using all the same materials just re-purposed with the addition of composite decking boards which NEVER need painting!


Cotton Exchange before:                      Sweet Olive before:
Cotton Exchange BalconySweet Olive Balcony

Day 1:  Tear down the old decks.  The decks were down before I thought to take pictures so the ones above are actually two years old and have just barely begun to show the signs of creaking – except for the very visible sag in Sweet Olive’s decking.

The next day was nerve-wracking.  Sean discovered that the entire back side of the building rode in and out like waves on a beach.  Until he did a lot of trim and level work, the deck could not go forward!  Oh, the curse of a perfectionist.  But wait, there’s more!  The two balcony doors were not set in properly and were projecting out an inch further than the common door.  Some of the siding had rotted from improper drainage when the original deck was built.

Day 3:  It appears Sean has worked out most of the kinks, but wants to change the plan slightly.  OMG.  I tell him about our check-in guests and the weekend check-in guests, and … well you can imagine.  “Do you want it done right or do you want it done?”  he said to me.  Sweat broke out on my brow, and I felt my knees go weak.   “How long with right take?”  I inquire.

Day 4:  Deck frame is up, stairs are going in.  “The Depot” ran out of our composite lumbar.   We find a better lumber yard and they have what we want, better price, but we have to wait until tomorrow for delivery.  In the meantime, I am now on Day Four of laryngitis.  Of course, I can’t fully voice my frustration!  Oh well, good thing I’m not in charge.

Day 5:  All cutting is moved next door to minimize the impact of sawdust and noise around the pool.  Guests can get in and out with ease as the steps are completed.  Guests for Sweet Olive and Cotton Exchange arrive today!  Thankfully, they are quite jolly about the decking and tell us to continue.  I drop a bottle of Champagne in each room and call it good.  The deck is taking shape.  Suddenly the sky opens up and RAIN chases us indoors.  Okay, it wasn’t the rain it was the thunder that rolled on for what seemed like three days and the lightening that cracked down behind it.

Day 6:  The only thing remaining is to put up the handrails.  I had spent the previous two days putting primer on posts and exposed wood, and was only too happy to see the previous rails popped back into place.  Re-purposing is ecologically sound!  Oh dear.  The new deck in front of Cotton Exchange is slightly larger and so we don’t have enough railing to go around!  Sean again to the rescue.  He cuts and trims, nails and pounds, and we now have a new railing around Sweet Olive.  And, I have a large task ahead priming and painting.  But, as you can see, it is so worth it.