Our new front porch gate

14 May 2020

Another mini goal update for you! This time for our 2020 goal of living a wild life outdoors. Though living into this goal most often looks like venturing out into the woods or playing in a creek, sometimes progress is closer to home — as in the case of our new front porch gate! This is a small update that has just delighted us, so I thought I’d share it with you today.

Those who have been around awhile may remember that when we finally made an offer on our current house, after a long search and several failed contracts, the biggest thing we ended up compromising on was actually one of our top criteria: a large yard. After 7 years, I am (mostly) at peace about this, but it is still sometimes hard for me to reconcile what living a “wild life” with small children looks like when we don’t have the same acres of woods, expansive lawns, big trees, rocks, and streams that surrounded both John’s and my childhood homes.

However, just because we don’t have the yard of my dreams doesn’t mean we have nothing; we certainly have much to be grateful for in our home and in our front and back yards! Aside from those green spaces, there was another space I was determined to maximize this year: our front porch. It’s decently sized and nicely shaded by a plum tree most of the day, so it had great potential as a play space for the kids. However, there was a major issue: our front steps are many and steep, so there was no way Shep could be out there without an adult in arm’s reach, let alone by himself.

Especially after a day at school, I love being able to have them outside, but at their ages, I can’t just turn them loose. So, how to balance independent play while also completing dinner prep? Our kitchen is at the front of our house, meaning it was totally possible to have them out there, playing happily while I watched them through the window — as long as we solved the issue of the steps.

Enter: our favorite handyman! Inspired by many of our neighbors who have similar gates for their own steep steps, we asked Don to build and install a gate for our porch. He did a magnificent job — considering the utility it’s already given us, it was well worth the few hundred dollars he charged us. I’ve always loved the idea of a white picket fence, and swinging our new gate open and closed gives me all those vibes even without the fence :)

The kids love being out there at all hours of the day now: it’s the perfect spot for eating snacks, digging in the sand/rock table, any kind of water play, muffin tray “cooking,” rock painting, and much more.

Later this summer, I hope to add a few big potted plants as a bit of a privacy screen, to add some softness and another play element. Our kids are currently very eager to spot our neighbors’ Frenchie through the railing, though, so they’re not concerned :)

I have another post idea brewing with pros and cons for two more major updates we’re considering for our downstairs, but in the meantime, I’d love to hear: what’s a small (or big) update you’ve made to your home that’s made you so happy?

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May 14, 2020 8:50 am

I love the look of the gate and that a small update can make a big difference! I live in a two-bedroom rented apartment for the time being, so while we don’t make any huge updates to our living space, I made a list of spaces to organize/improve functionality in mid-March and have been chipping away at it during this period of more time at home. I have LOVED it! Most of the projects are relatively small in time and financial commitment, but I had never dedicated the time to planning it. For example, I finally organized our spice cabinet and it has made cooking dinner SO much more enjoyable because I can actually see all the spices we have rather than rooting around for the one I want for several minutes, which inevitably led me to feel a bit frustrated! :)

May 14, 2020 10:18 am

I love the gate, Emily! It looks great! I’ve been trying to do a big deep clean/declutter during quarantine, as I’m sure many people are. One tiny update I’ve made is transitioning most of my toiletries from living on the bathroom counter (as they did when I was growing up) into a drawer in the bathroom. It’s so silly, but it just hadn’t even occurred to me that one could do this! I love that the counter is less cluttered. A bigger update I’m working on is getting a storm door installed on the front door of my townhouse. I love the house, but it’s just so darn dark inside most of the day because of the direction the house faces. I would love to let more light in through the front storm door when I’m home!

May 14, 2020 10:35 am

Hi Em! Last year I spent days going through boxes and clutter in our home office. I sold furniture that didn’t fit and picked up a day bed frame for free from Craigslist! I painted it a light grey from dark brown and hung white breezy curtains! Now this space serves as a much more enjoyable office as well as a reading/hangout room and guest room!

We had a pipe leak which caused water damage to our kitchen floors so we got replace them with more updated tile and went ahead and painted our cabinets, added a backsplash and removed a wall to open our eat in kitchen to the living room. We finished at the end of February and are so glad it was finished right before everything happened!

Jenny Reeves
May 14, 2020 11:29 am

I’ve been working on a room refresh of my bedroom during this stay at home time. I rearranged some furniture, bought some Lindsay Letters paintings to hang over my bed, and I’m buying new knobs for my dresser and night stand. But by far my favorite thing that I have done is buy a coat rack to use as a purse stand! I now have a place to display all of my bags in a beautiful and practical way. And – I can finally open my door all the way because my bags are no longer all squished on an over-the-door hanger. It is such a simple thing, but I absolutely love it!

May 14, 2020 1:02 pm

I finally hung a gallery wall in the spare bedroom where we line dry clothes. We are drying more on the racks these days because the kids love the process (who knew?) so I’m spending a lot more time there. And it’s nice to look up and see some favorite family photos and artwork.

May 15, 2020 5:52 am

Love that you’re making your porch such a fun place! I wish our home had a great porch, but it’s not a common thing in our part of the world. My husband and I dream of the day we have a house that we can add one to! One day. ☺️ Our current update I’m loving is the raised bed my husband built in our back yard. We bought 3 kit set beds and stacked them, which made them the perfect height for working without having to bend over too much. Our cats also aren’t as tempted to use it as their bathroom, which is definitely a plus. ????

May 19, 2020 9:10 am

I love the gate, and how fortunate you have a local handyman to build it! It blends seamlessly with the rest of the porch. We’re having our back deck rebuilt and our siding replaced- both things we knew would need to be done when we bought our house 2 years ago. They don’t make us happy money-wise for sure, but it will look so much better, and we’ll finally have a usable outdoor space!

May 21, 2020 8:57 am

Oh, it’s so cute! Definite white picket fence vibes :)
Once again, I’ve been amazed at what a happy difference painting the front door makes! This is the second time we’ve painted both sides of the door, and I love the pop of color inside the house (where I see it more often anyway!), as well as the impact it makes from the outside.

December 31, 2020 10:03 pm

[…] deliveries, and so many snack trays. We punctuated our days with a backyard campout (!), a new porch gate, and the sweetest Mother’s Day celebrated with picnic and scoot in downtown Raleigh. My […]