RAIL OR balustrade
This is where so many deck designs go terribly wrong. Flat, horizontal rails are a contemporary default and don’t belong on a traditional house.
The simplest deck is a platform at or just slightly above grade, and it won’t need railings to meet code. Still, a railing or balustrade may help integrate the deck with the style of the house. For rail and baluster or spindle designs, look at the existing details on the house or in the neighborhood: porch components, brackets, steps, even old fences. Any of these may be adapted, but in general they should be simplified—not direct copies or over-embellished. The deck is a secondary structure. Rather than copy a complex piece of fretwork, for example, choose one element as inspiration for a railing.
The enclosure doesn’t necessarily have to be made of wood; on a stone house, stone components may better integrate a new deck.
ABOVE This contemporary deck is well situated at the rear of the house; tucked around a window bay, it gains interest and its apparent size is reduced. The railing and skirt details mimic those of a traditional porch. LEFT Near the back door of an Italianate house, a new dining deck picks up details from the front porch; this exuberant embellishment works on the large, complex building.