A recently completed project, in the Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, extensively remodeled the main floor, added a third bedroom, a second bathroom, and remodeled the master bath. An earlier remodel had updated the kitchen. A large goal of this phase of the project was to open up the house, both inside and out, to its amazing views of downtown Seattle and Elliott Bay. To this end a wrap-around corner window was added at the Living Room, and a roof terrace was added on top.
This latter part of the project proved quite challenging. A (very vague) covenant dating from 1920 limited the height of any part of the house to 17’ above grade. Given the existing main floor elevation, the existing tall ceiling, the depth of structure needed to support the deck load, and the extra depth needed to properly drain and detail the roof deck assembly, this didn’t leave us room for the code minimum 36” high handrails.
So, we didn’t provide handrails at all! – instead we built a 36” deep, 18” tall barrier around the perimeter of the deck. In the end this gave the homeowners completely unobstructed views.
This is a good example of how what may seem at first to be an impossible obstacle, can lead in the end to an even better solution.