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A-hem, first, an announcement: Chicago friends! We hope to see you tomorrow night at the West Elm store opening party in Skokie! Let’s eat desserts, drink Prosecco and hang out. We’ll be there from 6-8 pm wearing our sparkly shoes (well, I might be on my own with that one). See the details and RSVP right here!


Yes, we’re totally the people that put curtains in their garage, and I realize how silly that must sound! To be fair, one) they’re inexpensive drop cloths and two) our projects get really, really messy. This’ll help. We’ll get back to the curtain in a minute, because there’s so much else that we’ve been knocking off of our garage to do list!

We painted trim. Such a small task, but what a world of difference. Add that to the new roof and proper gutters, and the exterior of our garage looks a lot better! (We don’t love the siding, but at least it’s inoffensive.) The photos below were taken from the back door of our kitchen, so getting this view polished up was important to us – especially once our glass sliders are in place. The yard and back patio, on the other hand, need help; next year!


We installed a door and painted it. Look at us, making strides! We now have a proper door threshold and jamb. It’s all new, as the old door wasn’t salvageable. For the color, I used an oops! can of Benjamin Moore’s Swept Away paint leftover from our pocket door. When the salesman first mixed our quart, it was accidentally done at a gallon’s strength. In turn, this color is a bit deeper and more saturated than our pocket door, but it works great out here! We painted both sides, giving the exterior a minty splash, too. The trim was painted using Clark+Kensington’s Designer White, color matched to Valspar Aspire leftover from our front porch railings. (The question begging to be asked: Do we like to make mixing paint difficult, or do we like to make it difficult?)

garage-33 garage-35 garage-36

We finished the cabinet kick plate, baseboards and butcher block top. We tossed around the idea of a hot pink kick plate, but in the end, I (yes, I) chickened out and convinced Scott we should stick to navy. It’s nice and cohesive, and I’m happy I’m such a chicken! The “baseboards” and kick plate were made from our piles of scrap wood, and it helped to streamline our whole set-up. To complete the cabinets, Scott trimmed the extra-long butcher block, and I darkened it up with oil.


And, oh yeah, we hung curtains.  We take on a lot of the dirty work in the garage, using the messiest tools we have on hand – the table saw, orbital sander and spray paint. Even in the cold Chicago winter, we bundle up, stuff hand warmers in our gloves, and we tough it out. That said – especially in the winter! – we easily slip into the Comfort Zone. We leave those messes behind, turn a blind eye and say, we’ll clean it up later! To prevent this, we hung curtains to close off the cabinets, open shelving and tool area to keep them clean. We purchased inexpensive drop cloths and hung them from a 2×4 support beam using Ikea’s KVARTAL track system. Of course this won’t protect all dust (we’ll still have lawn equipment on Side Messy), but it’s a good start. Also, note to self: I promise to not get comfortable.

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All that’s left is putting the rest of our storage systems in place! Hooks for tools, tubs for containing and getting our bikes up off the floor are on the agenda. The garage door – which is missing a few parts and needs a good cleaning – is a wish list item, so we will see.

Fix the leaky roof
Lumber storage
Bike Storage – got it!
Open metal shelving for bins + occasional use items
Wall treatment for cabinet wall (close up exposed studs)
Paint everything – no more bare plywood!
Reconfigure and paint cabinets
Install a countertop
Epoxy/paint the unlevel/cracked garage floor – not this year, womp.
 Cabinet kick plate and finish baseboards
Wall of hooks/hanging storage
New side door
Paint exterior trim

Re-caulk exterior siding
Repair/new garage door
Replace lighting with LEDs

Garage, we never thought you’d be finished before the kitchen, but hey, you can’t plan everything. (Another note to self: Kim, you really can’t plan everything.)

  • Kari - August 18, 2015 - 9:16 AM

    Wow – you two are amazing! These curtains are above and beyond anything I’ve seen for a garage! They fit the space so well (did you hem them to barely touch the floor?) and are so functional. I am truly impressed. The garage is looking great!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 18, 2015 - 9:26 AM

      Thanks, Kari! We took the height of the panels into account when we were hanging the track. These panels were just under 9′ tall, and we did fold them at the top to make them shorter by about 2″. No hemming required!ReplyCancel

  • AnnMarie - August 18, 2015 - 10:01 AM

    What a great idea! Your garage workshop is looking mighty fine. I admit to being just a smidgen…okay, a lot…jealous.ReplyCancel

  • Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus - August 18, 2015 - 12:06 PM

    LOVE that mint green door! Perfect color. Also, I really like the curtain idea. I may have to steal that!ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - August 18, 2015 - 1:03 PM

    Crazy how much difference paining some window trim/door can make! Totally freshened up the space.

    Have a blast tomorrow night!

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

  • Laura - August 18, 2015 - 4:58 PM

    I’m confused… what is the purpose of the curtains? Is it to prevent the messy projects from getting onto your cars?ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 18, 2015 - 6:11 PM

      We don’t park our cars in the garage yet (someday maybe, but street parking is pretty easy for now!), so it’s to keep all the dust and debris we kick up (which is A LOT) from getting all over the open shelving, workbench, tools in the work area, etc. Ideally, we’d pull them closed and work on one half of the curtain, suck up all the wood shavings, etc, and not have to worry about all our storage or things we access frequently accumulating a ton of saw dust!ReplyCancel

  • George SSF - August 19, 2015 - 2:04 AM

    Love the perfect matched color. The curtain is so lovely! thanks for the postReplyCancel

  • Hilary - August 20, 2015 - 7:09 AM

    Love the curtain! We have been wanting to do a similar project in our basement for awhile now. If you are willing to share, how much did it cost?

    Love your blog! Great inspiration.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 20, 2015 - 8:11 AM

      Thanks, Hilary! The track spans almost 20′ wide, so we bought 4 tracks and put them together, plus the accessories. At that length, I want to estimate that it was somewhere around $50 for the entire track, plus the cost of the drop cloths (about $18/ea, and we bought 2). We’re super happy with the tracks! We had to fuss with them where they connect in a few places, but once we got it all figured out, the curtains move nice and smooth.ReplyCancel



We’re in kitchen limbo right now (broken record much?), but good newsOur door is scheduled to arrive next week, and before the month’s end, we should have it installed! (If you’re counting, that would make it 8 months after we initially ordered Door #1.) In the meantime, we’ve spent a few hours on the really little details – photo magnets and decanting all the booze, naturally – and most recently, we collaborated with West Elm to fancy up our vintage hutch, too.

Using their very subtle, very pretty Chasing Paper wallpaper panels, we added a soft layer of pattern to the shelves. We can’t stop saying how cute it is. I finished the makeover in a couple of hours, and color us impressed; the panels are thick, gorgeous and surprisingly easy to install. I’m sharing the full tutorial with West Elm on Front + Main today!

In addition, West Elm has asked us to co-host their opening party for their newest store location in Skokie, IL! What does this mean? (We gave ourselves a good pinch after triple checking to make sure they did, indeed, intend to ask us.) It means this: Let’s hang out!


We’ll be celebrating the store opening with drinks and eats provided by Boutique Bites, and any purchases you make will receive 10% off. Plus, we just really want to meet you! RSVP RIGHT HERE or by clicking the photo above, and we’ll be crossing all our fingers in the hopes of seeing you this coming Wednesday, August 19th from 6-8PM.

So, Chicago friends, who’s in?

  • ann - August 13, 2015 - 12:36 PM

    This is another one of those times when we wish we lived closer to you. Have fun!ReplyCancel

  • Amy - August 13, 2015 - 1:01 PM

    I was so hoping this would be during the first week of September because I’ll be in Chicago for a conference… but alas, no. I will continue to admire the people behind the blog from afar! ;)ReplyCancel

  • Shannon Vincent - August 13, 2015 - 10:44 PM

    I love love love your decanter “vodka” and “gin” labels. Did you make those?ReplyCancel

  • Eileen marie - August 13, 2015 - 11:37 PM
  • Jackie - August 14, 2015 - 12:49 AM

    Hey if those are vintage decanters you don’t actually want to store liquor in them for the long term (i.e. longer than the week within which you will drink it). It can leave traces of lead.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 14, 2015 - 8:23 AM

      Thanks, Jackie! We only store liquor in glass decanters for that very reason. I’m sort of a nut about making sure. :)ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - August 14, 2015 - 12:21 PM

    Aw, wish I lived closer! This is gonna be a fun one. Have a blast!

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent



If there was one challenge that topped the list in the One Tail House (that is, besides time), it was the 9′ expanse that separated the entryway from the Adoption Room. Their goal was fairly simple on paper: An inoffensive gate that they could collapse out of the way for an open flow at events, but could contain beefier dogs (read: the likes of Jack and CC, if needed) from jumping on anyone that came through the door.

The problem is that extra wide gates are really expensive, and if they fall under the “affordable” category, they aren’t that strong. After a lot of internet sleuthing, we found that the most common width for residential use stopped around 72″, and even then, these gates were either held in place by tension, or they were secured to the wall in such a way that they’d be difficult to collapse or move. Scott and I brainstormed, drew up sketches and even asked fellow dog loving friends for advice, and in the end, we realized we’d just need to make one.

Story of our life.

But! While we had originally set out to make something that would be a bit more involved (we were considering a similar herringbone pattern to this past favorite DIY), we ended up finding a very easy solution at the hardware store! Aside from the time it took to paint, we assembled and installed a 9′ gate in less than an afternoon. We imagine this DIY could come in useful for anyone with a large outdoor area that may need to be contained, or like us, maybe you have a need indoors to keep babies and pets separate and/or safe.


2 – 6′ Pre-made fence sections
2″ x 2″ x 3′
2 – Strap hinges (above, top left)
2 – T-hinges (above, top right)
3 – Fence brackets (above, bottom right)
2 – Slide bolts (above, bottom left)
Exterior grade paint
Wood stain (optional)
Wood screws

Circular saw for cuts
Paint sprayer and/or paint brush
Measuring tape
Orbital sander
Paint brush and/or rags for stain/poly

WHAT WE DID. Any gate we made needed to have vertical slats to keep dogs from climbing. When we spotted these 6′ pre-made fence panels at Lowes, we knew we could make them work! Right then and there, we came up with our game plan: We’d create a gate with three 3′ sections that could fold onto itself and swing out of the way. One of the sections would need to be secured on two sides (no swinging!), but it would be sturdy because we could screw it right into the wall and floor. Our plan would allow for a 6′ opening when needed, and no one at One Tail would have to fuss with storing anything away.

First, we sanded the two fence sections down and used our paint sprayer to get an even coat of exterior grade white paint on them:

OTAT-DIY-gate-02 OTAT-DIY-gate-04

While this dried, we moved onto other projects around the Adoption Center, and we revisited the gate the next day.

The first panel would need to be raised off the floor to allow for the other two panels to swing freely, but because this panel needed to be immobile, we used a 2″ x 2″ as a spacer. You can see below that to make our plan work, we did need to screw through our spacer and into the floor a couple of times. To prevent the floor from splitting, small pilot holes were made first, followed with about three wood screws. Should the gate ever need to be removed, the holes will be tiny enough to fill with wood putty and a dab of stain. (To be fair, we ran through so many alternatives to prevent drilling into the floor, but in our particular case, it made the most sense and would provide the most secure environment for dogs and people!)


After Scott measured and re-measured the opening width, he cut the first of the three gate sections with a circular saw, and attached it to the wall and 2×2 on three corners using the fence brackets and wood screws. To do so, after the brackets themselves were screwed directly into the wall and 2×2, we slipped the in the first panel, and it was further secured by additional screws from the sides. (Note: We had studs on both walls that we were able to take advantage of – lucky! If that hadn’t been the case, we would have had to use toggle bolts.)

OTAT-DIY-gate-06 OTAT-DIY-gate-07

The second and middle gate panel was cut to size, and the strap hinges were attached at the top and bottom. This section of gate would now act as the Human Entrance, but it can also fold back all the way if they prefer to leave it open.

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The third and final gate panel was attached to a stud on the opposite wall using the t-hinges. Like most homes, the floor was less than perfect and the drywall was slightly crooked, but we still used a square and level to make sure things matched up neatly. With the gate in place, I took a moment to touch up the freshly cut edges with paint.


Finally, a slide bolt was our lock of choice for the Human Entry, and as an additional measure, we had a second slide bolt go right into the floor of the third gate panel. The floor was touched up with a bit of stain, and if you weren’t looking for it, you wouldn’t even notice the hole! There is still a bit of give as would be the case with any gate that needs to stretch across 9′, but we had Jack and CC purposely jump on the gate multiple times – and success! It’s not going anywhere.

OTAT-DIY-gate-15 OTAT-DIY-gate-17

If there are no pups around, the gate will probably look like this most of the time, giving anyone who comes through the door a 3′ opening to walk through.


For gatherings with a larger crowd – the opening night festivities, for example – the panel closest to the door can swing open, creating a 6′ opening!

OTAT-DIY-gate-19 OTAT-DIY-gate-21

We topped it all off with a tiny WELCOME plaque, because, look! It’s the little things (literally).

PS! Apparently, we love making gates. See a small – but cute! – version here, and check out our exterior side gate here.

  • Ashley@Biggerthanthethreeofus - August 11, 2015 - 6:43 AM

    Way to save extra time by using the pre-made panels – genius! Love the little Welcome sign on the gate. Totally adorable.ReplyCancel

    • Kim - August 11, 2015 - 11:39 AM

      We didn’t even know those pre-made panels existed! When we saw them, I swear we heard angels singing.ReplyCancel

  • lsaspacey - August 11, 2015 - 8:28 AM

    Brillant solution!ReplyCancel

  • rachael - August 11, 2015 - 9:16 AM

    I rarely ever comment but just wanted to say how much I love this whole thing. Not just the gate, specifically, but the whole “taking on other projects for others in need” thing. You guys did (and always do) a PHENOMENAL job!ReplyCancel

  • Carley - August 11, 2015 - 10:08 AM

    This is genius! Very practical but still visually appealing. Love it :)ReplyCancel

  • Josh | The Kentucky Gent - August 11, 2015 - 10:31 AM

    Well the gate, along with the rest of the house, turned out beautifully! So give yourself a pat on the back.

    Josh | The Kentucky Gent

    • Kim - August 11, 2015 - 11:40 AM

      Do many boozy beverages consumed count as a pat on the back? ;)ReplyCancel

  • Dave Vargo - August 11, 2015 - 11:40 AM

    Great job,ReplyCancel

  • Alana in Canada - August 11, 2015 - 2:16 PM

    Amazing! You guys are so clever. Also–fabulous ecor. This has to be the most hip doggie adoption centre ever in the history of doggie adoption centres. Congrats.ReplyCancel