Old houses are full of history, unique features and ”special” surprises. Take for instance our fireplace. When we first moved in, the bricks and hearth were painted red, which we weren’t too keen on. I apologize in advance for the giant dust balls you’re about to see, we took the picture right after we bought the house -
We painted the bricks a creamy white, but were curious what the original hearth looked like. We took a chance and used an all-purpose stripper to remove the paint and voila, beautiful red slate tiles!
One check in the good surprise column. Then there was our first gas bill – holy uninsulated house! Brian immediately went to Lowe’s and installed insulation in our eaves and crawlspace. Check for the bad surprise column. And don’t even get me started on trying to get cable installed here, three checks for the bad column. Our most recent old house challenge has been trying to find baby gates that fit some odd shapes in our house. With Juice crawling at lightning speed and beginning to take her first steps, it was officially baby-proofing time. We had already put up a baby gate from the dining room to the kitchen, but we’d been putting off installing a baby gate to the upstairs because we couldn’t find one to fit the space. The problem is that the space is narrow and short. We could find a gate that was short but too wide and one that was narrow but too tall, but never both.
After searching high and low, we decided to take matters into our own hands and make a baby gate. For the gate itself, we headed to the Habitat ReStore and picked up an old door. We were headed to Lowe’s to buy hardware for the project when it suddenly dawned on us “uh, how are we going to lock this thing?”. Since we were using a door as the gate, we thought about keeping the handle on the door and installing a deadbolt lock. We both weren’t too keen on the permanent damage that would do to our woodwork so we tossed that idea out the door (get it, get it!?). We also thought about using an eye hook latch on the back of the door because that would make it hard for a child to reach and/or figure out, but the logistics just didn’t work with our setup. To get some more ideas, I turned to good ol’ Pinterest. I typed “baby gate” in the search and found this pin -
It took me to this great post from And Then There Was Home where they used a latch to secure their gate. Genius! We decided to go with this option, knowing that down the road we might have to take some extra measures to completely child-proof the gate. After buying a couple new hinges and the latch, we set to work making the gate. Here’s the door we used -
First Brian cut the door in half with a circular saw to make the door easier to handle, then cut the door to the exact measurements with a table saw.
When he was done, we sanded the door to prep it for a new coat of paint. Thankfully, we just invested in a new sander because we discovered that this door had about a bazillion coats of paint on it, so it was quite the sanding job.
After the sanding was done, we slapped on a couple coats of paint and the door was ready to hang! After another round of careful measurements, we installed the new hinges and hung the door -
Then added the latch -
And BAM! Baby gate complete!
When we introduced Juice to her new
cage baby gate, she was amused for about 2 seconds -
Then she was over it and focused back on her sippy cup -
And baby genius is already trying to figure the latch out -
The best part of the project? The price! Here’s the breakdown:
- Door (Habitat ReStore): $13
- Door Hinges (Lowe’s): $4.70
- Gate Latch (Lowe’s): $4.17
Total for the Project: $21.87!
Now we just need to figure out how to install a gate at the top of the stairs…