A collection of handcrafted custom gate ideas.
Our three children were in college when we built our Alabama Stone Cottage. The framers asked (more than once) why I didn’t want a door at the top of the stairs. I explained we had a dreary basement in our last home of 20 years – this one has a lower level. Closing off the stairs would make a big dent in this open and accessible feature. Fast forward six years, through graduations and a wedding. As soon as DD2 announced she was expecting, and the Eclectic-Gender Neutral Nursery was ready, thoughts of his and future grandchildren crawling, walking and running around the house started a search for gate ideas. The stairway is wide and the opening is arched to mimic the kitchen entrance to the left. The coat closet is directly across from the stairway and the wide door going to garage is to the right. I searched the internet for pre-built wooden baby and pet gates, but everything I found that would fit would stick out like a sore thumb. I wanted the gate to blend in with the rest of our home. I considered numerous options to rework: a pair of vintage shutters, cutting down a vintage door, repurposing an iron gate, decorative metal sheets, metal scissor gates and vintage elevator doors. It was sort of like The Three Bears — pieces I found were either too big or too small, never just right.
Then along came Larry. I emailed him pictures of rustic garden gates, and he promised he could build us a sturdy and safe gate using salvaged wood and copper piping that would keep Baby J upstairs, but still be pet-friendly allowing our three cats slip downstairs for their daily naps. A perfect gate would have been able to slide to the left when opened, in front of the wall. As luck would have it, the wall is not quite wide enough. Larry came up with a great solution – build a gate that appears to be a pair of gates when closed, but is hinged so it folds against the wall when open. He used old hinges for their patina. It’s mounted just above the baseboards to give the cats space to slip under. We’ve gotten in the habit of leaving it closed 24/7 and I really like the secure feeling it gives when going out to the garage. I’ve already started watching etsy for the perfect set of vintage strap hinges and/or decorative handles. The hunt is part of the fun and I’ll update the post when they are discovered. Dubya and Coco [top] approve of Larry’s handiwork. Baby J will be walking soon, and our first granddaughter, Baby E, is due in June.
Here is custom pet-friendly iron gate that keeps the dog out of the cat food bowls. We contemplated a similar design that spaced the copper pipes to allow the cats to walk-thru… but two of ours are rather large and we decided the gate would not be baby friendly.
Custom gates are an easy addition to new construction and pre-built homes. This gate features a small wheel underneath the end that swings open, which helps keep the weight evenly distributed. The sliding hinge mechanism on the gate allows it to be easily removed when not in use.
This homeowner simply cut down a wood panel door, similar to a Dutch door but without the top half. We had a stairway like this in our last home. Stairs that led to an attic eventually led the way to an added master suite. The door was removed and the stairway was left open. Be sure to check your local building codes, as we were told this was considered a hazard during a fire emergency and, therefore, against code. That said, it is a charming option in the right location.
A more rustic version looks like a simple panel that swings open. Knowing the owner, none other than Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic, she spotted it during one of her antique outings when shopping for The Prairie B&B.
This contemporary wooden slat gate is reminiscent of a MCM slat bench.
The wrought iron motif of the hand railing is repeated in this custom wood and iron gate. Designing a gate might take awhile with all the hand forged metal art and decorative parts, balusters, and panels available.
This one is very simple, and lays against the wall when not in use. One concern I had in our space was that no one coming in or out be fooled by the gate. I didn’t want it too low – afraid that someone might lean to far and tumble over the top. We found that chest high was much better than waist high.
Great example of modern, yet traditional. If you can dream it, someone can build it.
Continuing staircases need more than one gate, and sometimes adjustments to the existing railing as well. Here, blackened steel tubing and mesh panels were created and attached with custom hardware.
While I like this design, they must have dogs instead of children… as the first thing I think of is a child climbing up and over the horizontal bars. This gate also has a wheel for operational ease.
A colorful Piet Mondrian style design is sure to please art lovers and children. This could be fashioned from painted wood or transparent colored plexiglass sheets.
Although we all want our homes to be beautiful, of course we want our family, guests and pets to stay safe. If you are adding a baby or pet gate to your home, be sure to read the suggestions at Safety Gate Standards at ASTM.org.