Custom Stairway Gates

stairway gates - custom salvaged wood and copper piping staircase gate - AtticmagA collection of ideas for custom stairway gates to keep children and pets safe at home.

As soon as my daughter announced that she was expecting, and her Eclectic-Gender Neutral Nursery was ready, thoughts of future grandchildren crawling, walking and running around the house began. I started a search for stairway gates. The stairway in my Alabama Stone Cottage is wide and the opening is arched to mimic the kitchen entrance.  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. That’s when I began to consider numerous custom 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, but never just right.

stairway gates - custom salvaged wood and copper piping bifold staircase gate - AtticmagThen 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 and allow our three cats slip downstairs for their daily naps.  For me, a perfect gate should slide to the left when opened, in front of the wall.  As luck would have it, the wall is not quite wide enough. But Larry came up with a great solution: he built a gate that appears to be a pair of gates when closed but is hinged to fold back against the wall when open.  He used old hinges for their patina. And he mounted our gate just above the baseboard to give the cats space to slip under. Our habit now is to leave 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 for those is part of the fun. Meanwhile our gods 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.

stairway gates - custom iron pet friendly gate - Jezroc Metal via AtticmagHere is custom pet-friendly iron gate that keeps the dog out of the cat food bowls.  We contemplated a similar design with the copper pipes spaced so the cats could walk through, but two of ours are rather large and we decided the gate would not be baby friendly.

stairway gates - custom wood staircase safety gate with bottom wheel - via AtticmagCustom gates are an easy addition to new construction and pre-built homes. This gate features a small wheel underneath the open end, which helps keep the weight evenly distributed.  The sliding hinge mechanism on the gate allows it to be easily removed when not in use.

stairway gates - salvaged wood panel door cut down to half door - Holly Mathis Interiors via AtticmagThis 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 which became a master suite addition. The door was removed and the stairway was left open. Be sure to check local building codes. We were told this was considered a hazard during a fire emergency and, therefore, was against code. That said, it is a charming option in the right location.

stairway gates - custom rustic painted staircase gate at Rachel Ashwell -  The Prairie B&B via AtticmagA 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.

stairway gates - custom modern wood slat staircase safety gate - Blue Ant Studio via AtticmagThis contemporary wooden slat gate is reminiscent of a mid-century modern bench top.

custom wood and wrought iron staircase safety gate via AtticmagThe wrought iron motif in the hand rail of the stairwell was repeated in this custom wood and iron gate.  Designing a gate like this might take time given all the hand forged metal art and decorative parts, balusters, and panels available.

stairway gates - custom wrought iron staircase safety gate - JD Stairs via AtticmagThis one is very simple, and sits against the wall when not in use.  One concern I had in our space was that no one coming in or should be visually fooled by the gate.  I didn’t want it too low, in fear that someone might lean too far and tumble over the top. We found that chest high was much better than waist high.

stairway gates - custom eclectic wrought iron staircase safety gate - Martel Fab via AtticmagHere’s a great example of modern, yet traditional — what’s called “transitional.” If you can dream it, someone can build it.

stairway gates - custom iron mesh panel staircase safety gates - HC Metals via AtticmagContinuing 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.

stairway gates - custom modern staircase gate with horizontal bars and a wheel - MILKdesign via AtticmagWhile I like this design, they must have dogs instead of children. My first thought is of a child climbing up and over the horizontal bars.  This gate also has a wheel for operational ease.

stairway gates - custom color block staircase safety gate - Dijeau Poage Construction via AtticmagA colorful Piet Mondrian color block gate  is sure to please art lovers and children.  This could be fashioned from painted wood or from transparent colored plexiglass sheets.

We all want our homes to be beautiful but our family, guests and pets must be kept safe.  If you are adding a baby or pet gate to your home, be sure to read the suggestions at Safety Gate Standards at

For more pet friendly ideas, don’t miss Built-ins For Pets.  Shabby Chic fans should enjoy An Interview with Rachael Ashwell.

(Sources: Jezroc Metal,, Internet, Holly Mathis Interiors, Blue Ant Studio, JD Stairs, HC Metals, Martel Fab, MILKdesign, Dijeau Poage Construction)

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26 Responses to Custom Stairway Gates

  1. laxsupermom May 14, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    I like that last Mondrian inspired one for a contemporary home and am sending a link to a friend who just moved into her nearly completed super contemporary home.

    Love your new gate! I like how it looks like a double gate and can’t wait to see which latches you find for it. Congrats on the grandbaby! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Michele May 14, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    What a wonderful assortment of attractive alternatives to use to protect stairs and other openings!

  3. Scribbler May 14, 2012 at 7:21 pm #

    Wonderful idea! Now if I could just get rid of stairs altogether in my house, I would be very happy.

  4. Brandi May 14, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    Love your new gate. Such a good idea to have it in place for your grandchildren.

  5. RHome410 May 15, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    All of these are wonderful. Such a great idea to build a gate into the house.

    These sure beat the horrible, cheap baby gate we got to keep dd’s little Maltipoo from sneaking upstairs. –Especially since he figured out how to squeeze around the end on one side, and circumvent the whole thing on the other by jumping through the stair railing…So now we’ve added a tall book to block one end, and a piece of large cardboard (meant to cut patterns of fabric on) along the side of the stair railing… All ‘very attractive,’ of course… For another doorway, the ‘gate’ is 2 leaning pieces of plywood. :-/

    • Allison May 15, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

      Glad everyone has gotten ideas from them. ;D @ RHome. Sounds like the gate DH built for DD2. It won’t be seen if/when her kitchen makeover is revealed. It’s started out as semi-square, but got an addition on the top when Sadie could crawl over (long legged dog). That kept her in briefly, as she found out she could crawl her way up/over the counter. It’s a combo wood, chicken wire, plexiglass and a bunch screws… and it’s still unpainted = winner of Ugly Baby/Pet Gate Contest.

  6. Stephanie McKeith August 5, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    How do I get in contact with the builder? I am interested in the swinging gate that splits in the middle!

    • Allison August 6, 2012 at 6:57 pm #

      I will send Larry your email address, Stephanie. Mine doesn’t open in the center, but I’m sure he could build one that does.

      • Amber Sides September 2, 2014 at 8:37 pm #

        Hi Allison,

        Does Larry still make custom dog gates? I need two built for current home.



  7. Heather September 19, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    What kind of latch did you find for the two piece gate that is hinged in the center? I am having one built for my stairs, and can’t seem to find anything that the gate will hold tightly to, and not pull out from the latch.

    • Allison September 19, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

      Heather, we used 6″ hook and eye (like used on screen doors, but larger for gates and shutters) on the back side (so he can’t open). When he gets older, we’re going to add a metal plate to the center, so that it won’t go forward (down the stairs). Not that it’s easily pushed that direction – better to be safe. The flat part of the hinges are mounted on the side of each gate panel (so all you see from the back is the rounded part of the hinge). We also have a strip of wood (same as gate material) screwed to the wall for a “stop.” The stops the gate from going past “closed,” and gives us something sturdy to attach the hook and eye.

      I’d love to see yours. Email me a picture when you’re done.

  8. Devan October 9, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    I’m interested in the wrought iron swing gate. We have the same setup at our house and a little boy running around. It would be so refreshing to have a beautiful solution when baby proofing.

  9. Allison October 10, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    Hi Devan. You should be able to find a wrought iron shop in a local city near you. If not, the internet has shops willing to build and ship, but you’ll have to do the measuring and installation.

  10. paula daddio July 5, 2013 at 8:51 pm #

    I would also like to be in touch with the builder.. I need a wide walk through gate for my front porch so that my dog can hang out with me on the porch and I don’t have to keep jumping over a gate. I have an old house and would like something that looks nice instead of the babys r us version that is there now.

    • Allison July 6, 2013 at 8:38 am #

      I’m happy to email him your address, pjdaddyo.

  11. Lauren September 8, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

    Do you know anyone who makes gates like these in the Chicago area?

    • Allison September 8, 2013 at 7:49 pm #

      Lauren, you should be able to find a metal shop in your area that can build a custom gate using Google or Yahoo search. There is a website called that builds wood gates to your measurements. While I’ve never used them, the pictures in their gallery look well made.

  12. Kevin September 25, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    Can anyone tell me what type of hinge and latch is being used on this one:

    • Allison September 25, 2013 at 11:13 am #

      Kevin, the source/custom builder of that gate is

  13. Kelly Hudson April 10, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    Could you PLEASE have the builder email me?! I have a split level home and that is VERY similar to the picture below you posted. We need a safe and attractive gate to keep babies safe!!! Any help you can provide would be awesome!!

  14. Jane F April 11, 2015 at 5:26 pm #

    Kelly, I will contact Allison and tell her to look at your request. She can verify the source of the gate. But I expect you will need to contact them.


    • Betty May 14, 2015 at 7:16 pm #

      Hello, I am also very interested in the same gate as Kelly, our situation is very similar (dry wall on one side, iron rail on the other). My iron fabricator is having difficulty finding a latch system that does not require drilling into the iron side rail…Thanks very much for these photos!

  15. Lindsay August 14, 2015 at 12:43 pm #

    I am also in need of the same gate that Kelly and Betty are interested in. I have drywall on one side and iron rail on the other. Can I please have the contact info on where this was made??

  16. Jane F August 15, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    Hi Lindsay,

    That gate is from JD Stairs. Here is a link to their site:

    Good luck with your search for a gate.

    Jane F recently posted…Three Belgian KitchensMy Profile


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