We’re excited to share one of our most recent projects for a couple reasons: ONE) puppies!, and TWO) we were recently invited by Ace Hardware to be a part of their Ace Blogger Panel – which has it’s perks for us and you.

In addition to our own house hustling, we’ll be sharing projects that will be made possible with the help of Ace, including new-to-us products, paint and our first attempt at building a dining table. Before Thanksgiving. (Because remember when we declared that Friendsgiving would be hosted at our house this year? The world’s largest fire has officially been lit.) While Ace is partnering with us (for which we’re over-the-moon thankful for), the good news for you is that we’ll be sharing a few goodies for a handful of readers, too.

Running to the hardware store (sometimes for the fourth time in a day; um, not that we’d know) can sometimes be overwhelming, but Ace wants to nip that attitude and make you feel as though you’re getting help from a neighbor. Which, if you’ve ever been to our local Ace, ask for Al (he’s awesome) – he has the philosophy down. So to kick off the whole neighborly vibe, we helped out our friend and foster-pup-momma Kiira by creating a custom DIY doggie gate. With 2 dogs of her own (you may remember her pet portraits of Monkey and Petey), she was in need of a solution to keep not only her pups within a watchful distance, but also her rotating crew of fosters.

Here’s what she had to say:

We used to have an adjustable baby gate to keep Monkey and Petey out of the kitchen when home alone. I painted it white to make it less ugly, but it was clumsy and it happened to scare the bejeezus out of Monkey (it had fallen—very loudly—too many times when not in use). I spent an afternoon constructing a ‘built-in’ dog gate at the entrance to our kitchen, and it really was the perfect solution. However, when we started fostering dogs, I found myself pulling out the old baby gate more and more to keep all of the dogs confined to an area where I could keep an eye on them. Monkey would automatically shut down at the sight of the thing, and so I resolved to get rid of it for good.

Kiira needed a new gate (in addition to the one at the entrance of her kitchen) to toss the baby gate once and for all, but naturally, the goal was to make it just as good looking as it was functional. After a weekend in our garage and with this as our inspiration, we created a solution that’s better suited for Kiira’s home (and easier on Monkey’s ears):

4 – 1″x2″x8′ (for the ribs)
1 – 1″x4″x6′ (for the top and base)
Pack of 1″ hinges
Surface bolt
1″ brad nails
1″ drywall screws
Rustoleum 2X Ultra Cover spray primer (flat white)
Rustoleum 2X Ultra Cover spray paint, satin (blossom white)

Brad nailer: We used the Arrow ET200
Compound miter saw (for making cuts)
Mini Kreg jig
Screwdriver / Drill
Tape measure / Ruler
Putty knife
Sanding blocks: medium + fine
Mouse sander

WHAT WE DID: Kiira’s doorway is 32″ wide, so we wanted our finished size to be 31.5″ wide, leaving 1/4″ inch on either side – just enough for the door to swing freely, but with enough space for the hinges and latch. Using the 1x4s, we made two cuts at 31.5″ for the top and base and three cuts from the 1x2s at 26.75,” giving our gate a height of approximately 34″ tall. We laid them out for a dry fit, then used our mini Kreg jig to make pocket holes and secure these 5 planks together.

Scott cut a small, triangular slug piece of 1×4 (the same shape and size as the illustration below) that we used as our guide for the rest of the project. Using that slug, we marked 2.25″ inches to the right and up from the middle, then did the same to the left and up again. Not wanting to over complicate the process, all of our cuts would be made at a 45-degree angle. To get started, We measured from mark to mark (for example, our first measurement followed the 45-degree line, below), knowing that would be our inside cut for each rib. The first several 45-degree cuts were made opposite each other, giving your first handful of ribs a trapezoid shape.

We worked on mirroring each side as we went along, making sure to keep our spacing as straight as possible. Using our brad nailer, we secured each rib in place with 2 brads at the top and bottom of each piece. This was slightly tricky due to the angles (we had a few missteps), but it did make the job go much faster.

The hardest part of the whole process, simply put, is the math. But as long as you made your marks every 2.25,” you should be fine! However, once you get past the bottom corners (we started at the bottom and worked our way up), your 45-degree cuts will stop being trapezoidal and turn into a parallelogram (see below) – and once you’ve made it almost to the top and your ribs have reached the middle corner, they’ll turn back into trapezoids. We were very mindful of this as we made our cuts, working slowly and deliberately, measuring twice (sometimes thrice!) and cutting once.

When we reached the last remaining ribs, we needed to take off the top 1×4 to make room for our brad nailer, then secure the cap back on once every rib was in place. We did have a few planks that felt slightly loose, so we added pocket holes were necessary. Finally, we could sand (we used the mouse sander first, followed by the sanding blocks for fine tuning), spackle any gaps and pocket holes, and paint it!

We waited until we got to Kiira’s house before we installed the hinges and latch, which turned out to be a good thing as we needed to make some slight modifications to her door frame. While her ornate molding is stunning, it was too thick at the bottom, which wouldn’t allow for the gate to swing completely open when not in use. We remedied the situation with a thin piece of scrap wood – something that will be different for everyone (and will likely not be a problem at all with more modern molding).

The verdict? Petey, new foster Kostka and Monkey (left to right) love it! (Kostka was thisclose to coming home under our coats, by the way.)

The gate was installed off of the dining room, creating a good amount of space for all the pups to roam, play and sleep. Kiira’s original gate is to the left of the photo below, closing off the kitchen, and a pocket door (out of view on the right) sections off the living room.

Although the gate took us a good amount of time to figure out initially, once we hashed out the math, it was pretty simple (and fun!) to piece together. (Say, if we’d had time to complete a second gate, it would have taken less than half the time of the first.) Come spring, Scott and I would love to build a similar gate to separate our front and back yards, so we’ll be bookmarking this page for future use, too.

We encourage you to check out our fellow Ace bloggers right hereand if anyone else was as distracted as we were by Kostka’s meatball mug, he’ll be available for adoption through Project Rescue Chicago starting Saturday – hurry, hurry!


We’ve partnered with Ace Hardware as a part of their Ace Blogger Panel. Ace has provided us with the tools and materials necessary to complete this project (hey, thanks, Ace!), and all opinions are our own. Cute puppies are an added bonus.


  • Hannah K. - November 1, 2013 - 5:46 AM

    First, wow – you guys are up early!
    Second, we TOTALLY know thte feeling of being at the hardware store multiple times in an evening. We have a small chain here called Valu Home and they are AMAZING!
    Third, how cute it that gate!! And those pups!!ReplyCancel

  • Megan @ The Brick Bungalow - November 1, 2013 - 8:05 AM

    My dad built one very similar for both his house and my house. I love it! It keeps our kids safe from the stairs, the dogs on either side and we left enough room at the bottom so the cats can get under. Ours leads to our unfinished basement where the cats stuff is but also where we put the dogs some days. I’m thinking we may need another when we remodel our kitchen so the cheap baby gate goes away (my big dog likes to eat kitchen utensils). And those dogs? Adorable!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - November 1, 2013 - 8:43 AM

    This gate is a beautiful alternative to those ugly baby gates. We currently are using 2 in our house to keep the pups from forbidden rooms (esp. the ones with their dog food!), which I would love to replace with this! Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - November 1, 2013 - 8:45 AM

    Oh, and how could I forget…the pups in your photos are ADORABLE. I want to take them all home! :)ReplyCancel

  • Shauna - November 1, 2013 - 9:14 AM

    Ohhh those little buddies are so cute!! My dog is also afraid of baby gates, this is a great solution.ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 1, 2013 - 9:22 AM

    Megan, smart to raise them a little so the cats can stay mobile!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - November 1, 2013 - 9:31 AM

    I love this project – your gate came out amazing! And the pups are just beautiful- wow! Hope you have a great weekend!ReplyCancel

  • Laura at RatherSquare.com - November 1, 2013 - 9:45 AM

    This is such a great project! And I LOVE the design of the gate – wonderful example of form and function coming together well.ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - November 1, 2013 - 10:21 AM

    looks great!!ReplyCancel

  • zandi @ radical possibility - November 1, 2013 - 10:32 AM

    1.) that gate is beeeyooootiful.

    2.) i LOVE al. so much. i keep having less-than-positive experiences at home depot (the one on north and the one on elston), so whenever I can I go see Al, and I love him so much. He never laughs at my many stupid questions, and is so, so nice. haha he doesn’t strike me as someone who spends a lot of time reading blogs, but if you’re reading this al, i love you. :)ReplyCancel

  • christine - November 1, 2013 - 10:47 AM

    Absolutely gorgeous gate, home, and pups! Kostka is the cutest little dumpling and is lucky to be with the best foster family around!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 1, 2013 - 12:26 PM

    Thanks, everyone!

    Zandi, we know! Al is the best. He’s actually helping us out with lumber supplies – all we had to do was ask. He even let us stay and discuss our ideas after the store closed. He’s a good guy!ReplyCancel

  • Julia [Chris Loves Julia] - November 1, 2013 - 12:55 PM

    It turned out amazing, you guys!ReplyCancel

  • Kiira - November 1, 2013 - 1:10 PM

    You guys are so amazing and handy. Love the gate, love you, love Ace. And love seeing the house thru YBH-colored glasses :)ReplyCancel

  • Margaret - November 1, 2013 - 2:47 PM

    Another awesome project!! Love the design and it’s function. Those little mugs are just too cute!!!ReplyCancel

  • Two Pitties in the City - November 1, 2013 - 4:33 PM

    I love this for so many reasons! Only you guys could design a dog gate so beautiful. And I love seeing when worlds collide…Petey and Monkey are the cutest, and what a cute foster pup!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @ Cuckoo4Design - November 3, 2013 - 8:45 PM

    Oh they are all so freakin cute. Love how they are peaking through and above. The gate turned out awesome.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - November 5, 2013 - 11:34 AM

    Wow! That is sooo creative! I LOVE it!!!ReplyCancel

  • Edyta - November 6, 2013 - 9:35 PM

    Love this so much! Love the gate and love the pups of course!! We have two pitties ourselves :)
    So happy to find your blog, I will be checking back often!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - November 7, 2013 - 7:13 AM

    Edyta, so happy you found us!ReplyCancel

  • Serena | Pretty Fluffy - January 14, 2014 - 11:27 PM

    This is amazing Kim – so beautiful and ingenious.

    I’ve always wondered about installing a dog gate, but they were always ugly – this one is SO pretty! Brilliant tutorial.ReplyCancel

  • […] of their favorite collaborations to date – like Ace Hardware and Schoolhouse Electric – and how they select their collaboration […]ReplyCancel

  • […] considered doing this fabulous DIY Gate by Yellow Brick Home…but then realised our tool kit consists of a few screwdrivers and some pink craft paint. It […]ReplyCancel

  • […] via yellowbrickhome.com […]ReplyCancel

  • DIY Pet Projects: Top Accessories For Happy Pets - September 10, 2015 - 10:21 AM

    […] DIY Doggie Gate via YellowBrickHome […]ReplyCancel

  • Kaylee - May 1, 2016 - 8:59 AM

    Love this gate, it’s exactly what we need for our 9 month old, we are planning to build it soon, can you share where your antique brass hardware is from? Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 2, 2016 - 6:13 PM

      Everything was purchased at Ace Hardware, Kaylee!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie - July 2, 2016 - 2:51 PM

    Hi. I am actually in the process of building this beautiful gate right now,and I am wondering if the part about cutting the “slug” was suppose to say that it was cut from a piece of 1×4, rather than 1×2?

    Thanks for this awesome tutorial!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 3, 2016 - 12:45 AM

      Huh, you’re right! Our bad. Happy making!! We’d love to see it when it’s complete. :)ReplyCancel


Libby finally comes out as the sweet bunny she really is.

Wishing you more treats than tricks this Halloween!

  • Rachel - October 31, 2013 - 7:24 AM

    hahah she looks psyched about her costume (I love her little bunny tail haha).
    Is Jack dressing up this year? Or does Libby get to have all the fun solo ;-)ReplyCancel

    • Kim - October 31, 2013 - 7:27 AM

      Rachel, we’ve tormented Jack throughout the years (and pretty much every day), so we thought we’d let him take some time off. (Maddie will have to be next!)ReplyCancel

  • Heather {A Fire Pole in the Dining Room} - October 31, 2013 - 8:42 AM

    Hahaha! I love both of these images and seriously want to cuddle with her kitty/bunny face.

    In related news, I might be having cat withdraw…ReplyCancel

  • Laura at RatherSquare.com - October 31, 2013 - 9:04 AM

    I’m impressed she kept it on long enough to take a photo! I don’t think my cat would. ;-) Hoppy Halloween to you too!ReplyCancel

  • Hannah K. - October 31, 2013 - 9:23 AM

    She looks oh-so thrilled…ReplyCancel

  • Emily @ Adventures of a Dog Mom - October 31, 2013 - 10:49 AM

    That’s too cute!ReplyCancel

  • Julia @ Cuckoo4Design - October 31, 2013 - 11:12 AM

    This made me laugh. Love the annoyed look on cats! You should see my gray Manx’s belly. She is 18 and her tummy almost drags on the floor. That side view would look a little different for her.
    Love your little annoyed bunny!ReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 31, 2013 - 12:49 PM

    Julia, I bet it’s adorable! And 18?! That’s amazing. Both our cats are 10, so we think they’ve earned their midsection :)ReplyCancel


Admittedly, the finish on the farmhouse table – which will ultimately be used as my studio desk – took much longer than anticipated. A handful of road bumps (oh, we’ll get to that!), working around the contractors and shuffling the table from room to room (it was a total guessing game: where will be the least dusty place of them all?) all played a role in making our small (funny!) project turn into a week long adventure.

But, it’s done! When we last left off, we had deconstructed the table only to reconstruct it, this time with extended aprons. After sanding (and sanding and sanding), it looked like this:

Now, the table has a medium-toned, slightly weathered wood finish:

To get the look, we applied two different stains in layers (our first time doing so, and put it on the record that we will be doing this more often!), using this tutorial – for the most part – as our inspiration.

Behr Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner in clear
Minwax Wood Finish in Special Walnut
Minwax Wood Finish in Weathered Oak
Minwax Polycrylic in clear satin (water-based)

Disposable latex gloves
Stir sticks (we used shims)
Rags for applying the stain
2″ brush, good quality
Extra fine sanding block (220 grit)


ONE. Using the brush, I applied the pre-stain conditioner before laying down any color, which helps to give an overall even base for the stains. This dries relatively fast, and you can get staining right away (our can’s instructions had us wait 10 minutes).

TWO. After stirring the first stain (which you’ll want to do every couple of minutes throughout the process), Special Walnut, I put on my gloves and used a rag to apply the color.

THREE. I waited 5 minutes then wiped off any residue, waited 20 more minutes, then applied a coat of Weathered Oak. Below, you can see that the Special Walnut brought out a medium wood hue, and the Weathered Oak helped to bring down any red/orange undertones. So far, so good.

The good part only lasted so long, as I start noticing a lot of unevenness in the finish. Naturally, I panicked, called in Scott to assess my damage, and we both agreed to ask our contractor, Mike, the next day if he had any suggestions. (Mike has been restoring his hundred year old house for the last several decades, so we figured that he had to have run into a similar problem somewhere along the way!)

The following morning, I showed Mike the lighter spots, asking him, what did I do wrong? He admitted that he actually didn’t mind the look, as it shows vintage character in the table itself – but he could tell that’s not exactly the sort of patina I was going for. He continued to explain that wood as old as this – because remember, this table was made in the 1800s! – has probably soaked in all the past varnishes, even more so past the point of a weekend sanding.

He offered me two solutions: I could sand the table again (to which I laughed hysterically!), and after doing so, I could degrease it using TSP (trisodium phosphate cleaner). The TSP would lift out the lingering oils, providing a much more even finish, and I could then again start from square one (the pre-stain conditioner). While this would likely yield the best results, my tired sanding arms couldn’t even fathom doing so – however, he told me to remember that tip in the future. TSP, my friends.

Solution two: Paint the lighter spots back in. Using a small brush, I could apply stain only to the very lightest spots with the Special Walnut. Now this was more feasible, so I did so very carefully, buffing the outer edges with my rag. Mike also said to refrain from wiping the stain up – let it dry overnight, then continue with any further layering we wanted to complete. For good measure, I also applied one more layer of Special Walnut to the aprons, helping them better blend in with the table overall.

The next day (we were going on day three of the staining marathon by now), you could see a shinier sheen where I had painted in my darker stain, but my goodness. It worked! It wasn’t perfect, but the difference was night and day.

Liking the way things were going, I continued by applying 2 more coats of Weathered Oak, giving the table it’s final color:

After a handful of hours, I started with the final step: Polycrylic. By far, this is my favorite step – not only because it means we could see the finish line, but because it pulls the whole look together. Using my brush again, I applied the poly in quick, even coats, being mindful to not over brush (too much fussing will result in streaks) while working in the same direction.

The next few steps are a big time suck, but so necessary for the longevity of the desk: Wait 2 hours, then lightly sand with the extra fine sanding block. Wipe clean, then apply another coat of Polycrylic. Wait 2 hours, sand again, wipe clean again, then apply the third and final coat of the protective finish.

After the final coat of Polycrylic has been applied, it’s always good to wait at least 24 hours before handling and 3 days before putting the furniture to use. (That’s probably the hardest part of the whole process; especially for a very impatient girl like myself!)

Let me just say that I wish I could’ve photographed the end result in a different light, so to speak. The endless dust and grime covering our floors is an indication that drywall has started!, but it also means that any furniture we have out (which is very, very little) is pushed against walls and covered in dropped cloths. (After these photos were snapped, the table was ushered back to safety behind a curtain of plastic, mocking me.)

Regardless of our messy, messy floors, we couldn’t be happier with the results. There’s still a fair share of age that shines through the finish, but it’s the good kind:

The small cracks and dents were purposely left as-is (rather than sanding and filling), as we think it really shows off the history of the table. (Anyone want to give it a back story?)

You might notice that we skipped the white-wash step from the tutorial (which is why ours is still a little darker than our inspiration), but we still really love the way it turned out. We’re counting down the days remaining for the contractors’ work to wrap up (for many reasons, of course!), but once we can lift the sheets of plastic and spread out, this table’ll be the first thing to set up. Oh, yes.

And since we’ve just discovered the joys of layering stains (dork alert), we’re wondering if anyone else has been been experimenting, too? What’s your favorite combination? (Photos, please!)

  • Karen June - October 29, 2013 - 7:55 AM

    LOVE how your table turned out … definitely worth all of the bumps in the road. Can’t wait to see it in its final place :)ReplyCancel

  • Jimmy - October 29, 2013 - 8:39 AM

    Love. It.ReplyCancel

  • Jodi - October 29, 2013 - 9:35 AM

    oooh! it looks great!!ReplyCancel

  • Laura at RatherSquare.com - October 29, 2013 - 10:32 AM

    Once again, great tutorial and story of your experience with this!ReplyCancel

  • Rachel - October 29, 2013 - 2:59 PM

    It looks absolutely amazing! I’m in awe of your perseverance :)ReplyCancel

  • Kati from so happy home - October 29, 2013 - 4:41 PM

    When we had our old kitchen’s original fir floors refinished, we also had a portion of the flooring custom milled to match so that we could extend the flooring into a portion of the kitchen that had been an addition at one point. The old flooring and the new flooring took the stain differently, and at one point I was on my hands and knees with a tiny round tipped artist paint brush just trying to get it to look more even. After about 8″ of one board I realized it was a losing battle. We embraced the unevenness and called it patina. (If you really want to go back and see pictures, you can look at my early blogging days post on that here: http://dev.sohappyhome.com/2010/08/if-a-problem-comes-along-you-must-whip-it/ , from a time when I took pictures of every step because it was so fascinating. And life disrupting.

    Do take care to protect your camera around drywall dust. The ‘dust’ is actually fine stone powder and can ruin equipment like salty beach air.

    I can tell you guys are at maximum with your stress levels. Kudos for hanging in there. I know it’s tough. I’m pretty sure I gained 15lbs during our renovation due to stress eating/drinking daily. Beer does help, but probably so would a long run. ;) xoxoReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 29, 2013 - 5:16 PM

    Hi Kati,

    For some reason, I’m being asked to use a name and password to see the link – is there another way?

    Thanks for the words of encouragement. It has been beyond stressful, and we’re trying to hang in there. XO.ReplyCancel

  • Kati from so happy home - October 29, 2013 - 8:38 PM

    I’m so sorry, I gave you the wrong link! I just finished redesigning my website (ok, my husband did it) and I accidentally used the wrong url. Try this: http://www.sohappyhome.com/2010/08/if-a-problem-comes-along-you-must-whip-it/

    I went through a four month long renovation and I recorded it all. It was incredibly hard, but incredibly exciting, too. Anyway, if you’re having trouble sleeping, or you just want to see what it was like for us, feel free to investigate July 2010 through about October of that year. I understand about being both grateful for your contractors, and at the same time frustrated by the nature of the business. Yoga helps. But beer is faster. ;) You can do it! xoxoReplyCancel

  • Kim - October 30, 2013 - 1:30 PM

    Kati, well, you are obviously THAT much stronger for surviving it! Funny that we thought we’d be finished with contract work in a couple of weeks. The thought alone makes me literally LOL.

    But yes, you hit the nail on the head. We’re so grateful that they’re here and that we’re able to do the work now. And yet, there’s a lot of little things that cause an immense amount of stress… we’re so close though. So close!

    I think I’m already getting a little belly from my drinking, ha.ReplyCancel

  • Jill - October 30, 2013 - 1:58 PM

    Looks beautiful so far! xoReplyCancel

  • Margaret - November 1, 2013 - 2:51 PM

    I LOVE this table!! It has so much charactor and feels totally homey and warm :) Great job!ReplyCancel

  • Abby - July 30, 2014 - 1:57 PM

    We recently built a dining table using pine and followed your stain “recipe.” I am now looking around for tips on how to clean real wood…do you have any advice? Since my husband and I just combined all of our fake-wood-or-other-materials furniture from college when we recently got married, this is our first piece of real wood furniture. Thanks for any insight you may be able to provide!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - July 30, 2014 - 2:24 PM

      Hi Abby! Did you seal your dining table with Polycrylic after you applied the stain? We use Polycrylic on everything we stain or paint, and we use a mild cleaner such as Mrs. Meyers or JR Watkins (both can be picked up at Target) to wipe down surfaces. In fact, I accidentally spilled a DIFFERENT stain on our dining table while working on a project, and the project stain literally wiped right up! Our table was completely safe underneath!ReplyCancel

  • Pamela Farris - May 22, 2016 - 10:31 PM

    Hi! Found your blog while doing battle with my bathroom cabinets. I had applied (and sanded all the previous paint the year before) Rustoleum Driftwood Wood stain. I loved it! But I couldn’t remember where I bought it! I thought Home Depot, because I wanted to touch up a few spots. There is a Minwax Driftwood Water based stain I was led to, but it was entirely wrong. So far my touch up has turned into a sanding event again. At Home Depot they suggested Weathered Oak. After one coat I’m not ecstatic. My bathroom is a mess, and my desired look is only more sanding away. Your table looks great, and I love your tips. I’ve been doing this a long time…and I think its scary because not alot of people I know take on kitchen or bathroom cabinets. I’ve lived and remodeled in many places, and every home I’ve owned I have undertaken stripping the kitchen and or bathroom cabinets. One home I didn’t, as I WAS married to a man who had sufficient funds to order custom made Alder kitchen and bath cabinets. Back to the drawing board and I’ll enjoy your posts later!ReplyCancel

    • Kim - May 23, 2016 - 7:54 AM

      Hi Pamela – happy you found us, but that sounds like a sad staining experience! Have you tried searching for the stain online so that you could get the exact match? Best of luck as you work on your own remodel. We know it take a LOT of patience, but the results – when persistent – are always worth it.ReplyCancel