Local deck builder wins de­sign award

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian McCul­lough bm­c­cul­lough@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

WEST WHITELAND >> Juan Car­dona doesn’t have to go far to be re­minded of work.

The owner of the Arachadeck fran­chise in Ch­ester County sim­ply gets in his car and takes a drive.

“I like the feel­ing of driv­ing around town and see­ing my work,” Car­dona said of the decks, sun rooms and screenedin porches his com­pany has built in the area. “It’s very sat­is­fy­ing. I’m really glad I did this.”

“This” was leav­ing his cor­po­rate job 11 years ago to pur­sue the deck busi­ness. Car­dona comes by the de­sire to build hon­estly. His fa­ther and grand­fa­ther were both car­pen­ters.

He must have re­ceived their build­ing genes. Car­dona re­cently was awarded Ar­chadeck Out­door Liv­ing’s De­sign Ex­cel­lence Award in the porches and rooms cat­e­gory. The con­test rec­og­nizes de­sign ex­cel­lence in several project cat­e­gories among its fran­chises. The Rich­mond, Vir­ginia-based com­pany bills it­self as North Amer­ica’s largest custom de­signer and builder of out­door struc­tures and spa­ces, with a fran­chise net­work of over 50 lo­ca­tions across the United States and Canada.

Given out an­nu­ally, the Ar­chadeck De­sign Ex­cel­lence Award is awarded in dif­fer­ent project cat­e­gories in­clud­ing deck­ing projects, hard­scape or pa­tio projects and porch and room projects. The winners of those cat­e­gories are then en­tered to win the De­sign Ex­cel­lence Award Grand Prize, which is de­ter­mined by a col­lec­tive vote by the Ar­chadeck fran­chisee net­work.

Car­dona said he won for a project just out­side of West Ch­ester – a porch with a roof and a deck.

“It was a brand new home and there was a 10-foot drop to the yard,” Car­dona ex­plained. “The cus­tomer wanted an out­door space. We de­signed and built the space.”

The fi­nal de­sign in­cludes an open porch with an out­door fire­place and an open deck for loung­ing and cook­ing. Tim­bertech deck­ing and rail­ing was used to cre­ate a rel­a­tively main­te­nance­free space and the de­sign was de­vel­oped leav­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of fu­ture en­hance­ments.

“The main stairs pro­vide ac­cess to the fu­ture pa­tio area, which the clients will add on in the next phase of the project and the sec­ondary stair set pro­vide ac­cess to the drive­way side of the prop­erty,” Car­dona ex­plained.

A stone walk­way was also in­cor­po­rated to pro­vide the drive­way ac­cess.

Car­dona em­i­grated in the United States from Spain when he was 11, not know­ing any English. His par­ents were leav­ing a strug­gling Span­ish econ­omy in the 1960s in search of a bet­ter life, he said.

Af­ter col­lege, Car­dona, 59, worked in sales and mar­ket­ing for New Jer­sey Bell, AT&T and Ver­i­zon.

“I kind of got tired of the cor­po­rate rate race,” he re­called.

At the same time, one of his daugh­ters who worked in the pub­lish­ing busi­ness was re­search­ing a book on decks and en­cour­aged him to take a look at the busi­ness. His ter­ri­tory in­cludes Ch­ester County, the Main

Line, Delaware County and north­ern Delaware.

Car­dona said his fran­chise does 40 to 50 projects a year. The av­er­age price per job is $20,000 to $25,000. Car­dona said he has three full-time em­ploy­ees and uses con­tract­ing

crews when jobs call for it.

“The fo­cus is al­ways on qual­ity projects,” he said. “It seems that peo­ple are mov­ing less and up­grad­ing more and that’s been good for our busi­ness.”

There is one cer­tainty for men in the field, in­clud­ing him­self, Car­dona noted.

“When you get into this busi­ness, the wife just has to have a new deck,” he laughed, show­ing off the cre­ation out­side of his house.

PETE BANNAN — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Juan Car­dona, owner of the Ar­chadeck of Ch­ester County near West Ch­ester, was awarded Ar­chadeck Out­door Liv­ing’s De­sign Ex­cel­lence Award in the porches and rooms cat­e­gory.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The be­fore photo of Car­dona’s award-win­ning project.

SUB­MIT­TED PHOTO

The af­ter photo of Car­dona’s award-win­ning project.

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