When we were at the tail end of the completion of our cottage remodel our mission was to design a front gate for the entrance to the courtyard which leads to our front door.
For design inspiration we went on many-a-walk about in the neighborhoods surrounding our cottage and in neighboring towns, checking out all the varied and inspirational gates people had designed.
There were designs with wooden pillars.
Designs curving up like happy faces.
Sweet designs that had peep holes or a trellis for plants to blossom.
I've heard it said that, you only have one chance to make a first impression, and the front gate is the first chance you have to enter the courtyard to the cottage. I probably weighted it with more importance than it actually has; but that's the OCD way I do.
We wanted our gate to blend in with the arch we designed over the entrance to our home. The arch is an architectural detail present in many of the historic buildings in our little beach town. The train station has one, several homes and restaurants have them; our art district which used to be an agricultural district of quonset huts has them but, the most riveting fact is that, The Belly Up, (where my husband took me on our first date) has one. So, we decided it would be meaningful to us to arch our entry, cause we're just romantic like that.
(Addendum to post: Prince Harry recently visited The Belly Up with some friends. He is stationed here in San Diego for a time, and by all accounts he is enjoying himself immensely!)
For us, the arch is a welcoming site and protects the front porch from sun and rain as well as gives it grace and beauty, (in my humble opinion). Our desire was to have a gate which would be sturdy and strong while at the same time be as low maintenance as possible. We hoped that it would look like it has been there forever.
Remember (before) when the cottage used to look like this? To tell ya the truth, I loved my little cottage just as it was. But, man oh man, do I really love it now. There wasn't a gate at all then which, wasn't safe for my puppies. Now they have a secure spot where they can lie out and sun themselves without me worrying that they will run out into the street after a dog or a mail truck.
The process was a long, frustrating and arduous one.
Dealing with construction is never easy believe me. It's how my husband makes a living and it seems that we have always been in some stage of construction the whole of our married life. We have built and remodeled several homes doing much of the work ourselves. Mercy, I do believe we're too old for this anymore!
It gets my Irish up a bit when I talk about construction after so many arduous months of living amongst it, and nobody wants to see that! Mostly I like to think I've moved on. This is a blog of light and blessings and good things. I'd rather we celebrate the glorious outcome which we are relishing today.
What a difference a year makes!
I think all our hard work was worth it, don't you?
This was the first gate built. You can't see it in the photo, but none of the wood matched up at the angles. It was flimsy and despicably and poorly built. After the guy who built it had his shot, my husband tried to revive it and spent about 100 hours in the garage, rebuilding, reinforcing, sanding and painting it with special marine paint. I wanted the top panel removed to we could put glass in it because, I felt too isolated from my neighbors and passerby with it being a solid structure. In a beach community whenever people walk by your house they smile and say hi. Almost always they are sporting at least one canine and at first you get to know each other by introducing your dogs. Soon everybody knows your name and as for me - I always look forward to those smiling faces, familiar or not, who say hey when they walk by.
So my handy hubby used a skill saw and removed the top panels. We ordered some really cool glass to replace the panels which although see-through, was thick and had a beach wave etched in the glass giving it a custom vibe all its own.
When the glass arrived (8 weeks later), it was warped and didn't fit properly or look right. Arghhhh. At that point I had designed a completely different gate in my imaginative little head. So I used all my feminine wiles to persuade my husband to let me have a shot at making the gate something we could love and live with forever. Yes, I did say, live with forever. I'm very dramatic like that. I may even have said, live with until the day we die, or until eternity or death do us part, or that I wanted it to live on for our children and our children's children. Anyway, when that didn't work, I whined and cried, even squeezing out some real sad salty drops for effect, and that apparently did the trick. Because here my friends, is the end result.
Bye, bye, you old, time sucking, bad memory making, piece of junk of a gate.
Hello new gate, you gorgeous piece of
work art which makes my heart sing.
I designed this gate and commissioned an awesome company called "Edwards Ironworks," in Escondido, California to build and install it for us. They were amazing. They listened to my every request and they made my gate the work of art I wished for. They did it all in a timely fashion, unheard of in the construction field from my perspective, but they restored all my hope that things can be done correctly and on time and even turn out better than you'd hoped for!
I used my mailbox for inspiration. The symbol on it is the Irish symbol for eternity. I love my mailbox. Seriously love it. The arch is represented, as well and some of the linear aspects present in the house.
I love the first impression my gate makes now. It says, I'm a little cottage by the sea, with a cobblestone entrance and an old (well, new but made to look old) gate, that everyone is welcome to peek through and say, "Hi neighbor." I LOVE living here, and I LOVE the cottage where I dwell with the people whom I love, and I want to share it with you, so come on in!
My pup is not happy when we are on opposite sides of the gate.
Please excuse him, as he is howling here. When I photograph him he howls, something about the camera stealing his soul.
Isn't she a beauty? Everything I'd hoped for; strong, sturdy, beautiful, and durable. She looks like an old iron gate that's been there forever and will be there forever. And ever and ever and ever!
And now I can sit in my courtyard and say howdy to my neighbors when they walk by. I can soak up the sun and the smiles all at the same time. Have I ever mentioned that I can hear the surf roll in and out from my courtyard?
So when are y'all coming over to have a cuppa or a glass of wine on my patio with me? I'll be waiting, just give me a holler over yawn gate there.
Are you doing anything to spruce up your house for summer? I'm linking up to The Lettered Cottage so you can go get yourself inspired too. Go check out Layla and Kevin's summer mantel and all the other great links. Get goin' now!
P.S. If you are just reading this, you may find that it's a revised edition of a previous post. Being incredibly UN blog savvy, when editing the post in order to link it to one I just wrote, I couldn't figure out how to edit without reposting, go figure. If anyone has an answer to that dilemma let me know, mmmkay?