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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Family

Pandemic projects: Father and son team up on shed, deck repair

By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

COVID-19 prompted many adult children to fly home to the family nest.

That proved true for Rex Watson, whose son and daughter came home for the holidays last year, only to find their job opportunities vanished when it was time to leave.

With his kids’ household goods taking up room in his garage, Rex found himself in need of a garden shed. In addition, he’d long wanted to re-do their aging deck.

Thankfully, he had help on hand.

“I wanted some projects to do,” said Rex’s son, Chase Watson.

They tackled the shed first. Chase, a mechanical engineer, designed the 8-by-8-feet structure on his computer.

By May they were ready to get dirty.

“We had a lot of fun building it from the ground up,” Rex said. “We poured the concrete pad ourselves, then we worked on it every day.”

Along the way, they added little touches like, plexiglass transoms to let in natural light, and a metal roof with a copper glint.

“The shed is visually appealing. We put a lot of thought into its appearance,” said Chase.

Neither of them had ever built anything like this, so the experience was a bit of a learning curve for both of them.

“We decided to make the door, instead of buying it pre-made,” said Rex. “We learned a lot from our mistakes but we are very happy with the final results.”

Chase said he made a lot of trips to Home Depot.

“One thing I learned is wood is never straight,” he said. “But I like problem-solving and figuring things out. It was nice to have projects to occupy my mind and my time.”

With the shed completed in July, the following month they started the deck.

The original deck was made of fir and had rotted through in places. This time around, Rex used weatherproof composite decking material. They followed the original design, but enlarged and deepened it.

“We assumed the deck would be quick and easy, but it turned out it took a lot longer than we expected,” Chase said.

Many days, it was simply too hot to work on the project, so they’d take time off and resume when it was cooler.

“We custom-cut the steps and added additional steps on the side to make a shortcut to the garage,” said Rex.

His and Chase’s personalities and skills sets blended allowing them to create well-built projects.

“I’m kind of a perfectionist and he’s more or a realist,” Chase said.

Rex laughed.

“There’s a strong probability that we over-engineered everything, and the shed and deck will outlive the house.”

If the Watsons ever move, the new owners will know exactly when the garden shed was built because father and son etched 2020 on the concrete pad.

Rex is proud of their projects, but the finished results aren’t what he enjoyed the most.

“The best part was spending time with Chase,” he said.

Chase switched careers and last month started a new job, working as a wilderness guide for troubled youth in Bend, Oregon.

He’s looking forward to coming home for Christmas and seeing the shed decked out with Christmas lights.

“I’d been out of Spokane for almost 10 years,” he said. “It was cool to spend lots of time with my dad, and give back a little while adding value to the home I grew up in.”

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