Pergola Progress

Not quite sure where this week went. Last time I checked it was somewhere around Tuesday, and then BAM! Friday!

Hey, I’m not complaining, but I sure do wish I got more accomplished around the house this week.

Here is what we’ve been up to.

The pergola started creeping off paper and into fruition. We made a stop at our local lumber yard and picked up all the wood, including the 12′ pieces. Thanks again goes to El Granto’s Mum and Dad for the car loan.


After some demolition of the current deck’s fence/top posts, a big shout out goes to the previous owner for stripping Every. Single. Screw he used to assemble the deck. Really awesome work… A sawzall with a nail cutter blade later, and a pry bar, and we were rid of them, busted screws and all.

With demo complete, we started building anew.

The new posts were measured, kerfed (to go around the ledger on the wall), and up they went.


Then the front and side beams followed suit.

This was a bit of a scary ladder moment (14′ drop to our new concrete walkway with hands above head holding a 2x6x12), but El Granto took over for me, and got it done.

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Decent progress, but still a ways to go. We have to add the cross beams, which overlap each other, so some careful math and half lap joints are in our future. Then we have to add some more fence boards. This kinda sucks. As our new pressure treated lumber is greener than a 19 year old after St. Paddy’s Day and our current fence/privacy screen has faded nicely. I know you’re going to lay into me about staining the deck. That is a ton of upkeep, and I’d like to ride the bare wood train as long as we can. I bought some Cabot deck wash, so here’s hoping I can brighten up the old bits a little, and that those new PT boards will fade quickly.

Back to the pergola. Our plan for the is to have a large open pergola like our inspiration:

This means not a lot of cross beams for shade, but what it does mean is that we are adding a fabric shade canopy.

We selected a Sunbrella sheer outdoor fabric for the canopy, Shadow Snow. It will filter out the harsh sunlight, but not block it completely. The last thing we wanted to do is remove all the beautiful natural light from our bedroom. The canopy will be loosely draped over the frame, and removable for winter. (Thinking corner grommets and hooks on the top of the pergola.)

Speaking of fabric. Our whole Sunbrella order arrived this week, and I’m super stoked.


Looks like I’ve got a hell of a lot of sewing to do! Anyone want to come help? I’ve got two machines! That or I teach El Granto. I think that’s a damn good idea actually! He’s a great hand sewer. He’s the king of sewing  motorcycle patches to his denim jacket and vest. No, not the gang variety. We’re friendly neighbourhood bikers, not Sons of Anarchy bikers.

Where was I? Busying myself with projects apparently. Looks like we’re going to have another full weekend.

P.S. It was my birthday yesterday, and my awesome husband baked me a gluten free cake. The dog was a bit jealous, but man was it good. Best. Husband. Ever.


Have a great weekend, and follow us on Instagram to see what we get up to!

Author: Kristen

Kristen & her husband El Granto & their Vizsla Odin live in a converted Storefront in downtown Toronto.

6 thoughts on “Pergola Progress”

  1. This looks like a great project! We love seeing creative ideas like these when you think space can be used in a more productive way!

  2. Happy birthday!

    Will the Sunbrella let rainwater through when it’s draped? I love this look — Kev wants to build a pergola, but it keeps slipping down the list.

    1. Stacey, I swear your brain works exactly the same way as mine! So that was my biggest concern. Sunbrella is known to be pretty darn waterproof, and I didn’t want to end up with a pool for a pergola. I got samples of different Sunbrella fabrics, including their sheer fabric, and took them all to the bathtub for a water test. (don’t worry, I wasn’t in the bathtub, and was fully clothed, I don’t want to scare you away with the mental picture of me buck ass naked in the tub testing out fabrics.) Where was I? Oh yes, my super scientific water test. The traditional Sunbrella held water (which meant, I would need to install drainage grommets in the dips in the fabric) however… the loosely woven sheer Sunbrella let water through like a sprinkler. That sealed the deal, and we ordered the sheer for the canopy. I may still even install some tiny grommets just in case we get a huge rainstorm, and it will help with the drainage.

      1. Wow, our brains do work alike, because I also would have taken to the bathtub with fabric samples! Except now you’ve already done that work for me (thanks for that!). We currently have a covered freestanding gazebo-y thing on our deck, and the water catches and pools in one corner. We have to push the fabric up and over the edge after each rainfall to stop mosquito breeding and mold (we’re classy). The sheer seems like the perfect solution.

        Super Scientific Water Test <– trademark, Storefront Life

  3. I adore this!
    We just got a new extra tall fence, next step is the deck.
    A pergola is the dream! Will you have leafy climbers planted?
    I look forward to seeing the results c:

    1. I’m not sure about climbers. The one side is shared with our neighbours, and I wouldn’t want to overgrow their space, and the other side has the daybed. We’ll see when we get it all built!

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