Monday, 7 December 2015

Curb Appeal : building new wooden gates part 1

Wow it's been a busy weekend! - So tired I can barely type, and yes, I know it's Monday and not the weekend, I took an extra day. And here's why :

We have two gates - a large double set of farm gates at the main car entrance, and a small single garden gate at the front of the house. Each of the gates is on the edge of the canals that surround the house, and have fences that slope down to the water. They  are  ( were!) cast iron that has seen better days. They have rotted through in so many places that the last owner strapped chicken wire to them to hold them together. That works if your hound is a spaniel, but with Luca now 6 months old and rising, the day he decides to challenge the gates they will collapse in a shower of rusty shards. We had a quote for having new gates made and fitted, but despite being trying very very hard to choose a simple and plain design,  the quote was quite terrifying. W decided it was time to put his skills to the test, and suggested that he would make our new gates - out of wood. Well, you can't turn down an offer like that, can you?

I've been scouting around for designs on Pinterest and found these images :

This main gate is made in a talented woodworking shop in the US, so unlikely that I could get it over here in Holland commercially, without lots of taxes and delivery charges. But I completely loved the style so I tagged the image.

I also loved the idea of having a rose arbor over the front gate - I have a lot of extra climbing roses from our last plant shopping spree and it's been a dream of mine for years and years. These images inspired a look for the front of the house.

The final piece of the puzzle was for the fencing along the sides  and this picture gave me the last inspiration 

Saturday dawned  and was a rainy and blustery day so we ran around town on a final 'buy everything we need' trip. Of course, it never works out that way, but we made progress in our aspiration of reducing the number of DIY shopping trips whilst executing a project. Sunday has been equally windy and cold so  W & IDD wrapped up warmly and headed out to the stables to get started. I honestly didn't expect a lot of progress on the first day and stuck my nose in around noon to see this : 

The frame of the first gate was up! This was super exciting for me - I have to admit to a tiny little bit of nerves beforehand but seeing this on the table was like an electric jolt of happiness. 

The boys worked through the day and got both the main driveway gates cut and ready for glueing by the end of the day. They glued one, before the light faded so much they had to leave it for the night. 

Here it is in the morning once the glue had had time to set : 

You will notice that the shape isn't quite the same as the one in the picture  : I relented on having curves on the gate since it's W's first big project. And, I am really happy with how it looks anyway - it's much nicer than your normal plain farm gate, that's really only designed to trap sheep and cows, not exploratory Great Danes!

Today, they finished glueing the second main gate and started on the gate for the front entrance. We did some design changes on the fly - I really wanted to carry the diamond theme across so that we would have consistency around the house, and hence more curb appeal. 

They measured and sawed and domino'd and cuss'd a little as the day went and as darkness locked in this is what we have for our front entrance : 

It's a little hard to see from the angle of the picture - they managed to keep a little bit of a curve at the top of the gate to give it a little bit of extra character. It's setting overnight and tomorrow they start on building the trellis and pagoda for the roses to grow over.

I'll leave you with a picture of the boys tucking into a nice cup of hot soup - more to come as the work progresses.

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