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):
MATERIALS USED FOR A 32″ DOORWAY:
4 – 1″x2″x8′ (for the ribs)
1 – 1″x4″x6′ (for the top and base)
Pack of 1″ hinges
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
Sanding blocks: medium + fine
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 here – and 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.