DIY Farmhouse Gate

DIY farmhouse GATE

With a curious one year old in the house we had to find a way to close off the bottom of our stairs so that our son wasn’t able to go up them when we weren’t watching.  Kayla wanted a baby gate and I just don’t care for the look of a standard baby gate and cringed at the thought of what modification I was going to have to make to the newel post and banister to make a standard, “off the shelf baby gate” work for my needs. So we settled on building a custom built gate that would fit the farmhouse style of our home and where I had complete control of the look and how it attached to the wall and banister.  I ended up purchasing eight pre-primed 1x4x8’ from the local Lowe’s and went to work to create this 38” by 31” tall baby gate with standard Gatehouse Gate hinge and latch hardware kit.

diy gate.jpg

The first step was to trim the 1x4 to the length I needed to get the height to 31”.  This may seem like a strange number as a 96” board divides evenly to 32” but to not over complicate tolerance for saw kerf I undersized the height to 31” to give me plenty of room to get 3 boards out of each 1x4.  I made enough to get to the width I needed of 38”. 

I actually ended up with a width of 38.5” so I took one board and cut 2, 1.5 boards out of it so I would end up getting exactly 38” wide and allowing for overlap with the frame as I pushed the 1.5” boards to the 2 outermost boards in the assembly.  

diy farmhouse.jpg

I used more 1x4 stock to make the raised form on the front and then the cross (X) piece to give the traditional farmhouse look.  This X pattern is also very important for structure strength so the gate doesn’t sag over time…so it’s not all for looks.  

Then I cut one board 38.5” long by 2” wide to use as a top board with a .25” overhang to help the overall look of the top where all the boards came together. 

diy farmhouse gate.jpg
gate diy.jpg


To limit the amount of modification to the wall and newel post, I made a small column on the hinged side scribing around exiting baseboards so upon removal of the gate, I can patch a few holes, touch up some paint and you will never know there was a gate installed.  On the latch side, I made a board out of a 2X2 that I attached to the newel post using 4, 1.5” long wood screws.  I predrilled these holes so I wouldn’t have any tear out on the newel post when removed and some simple color match wood filler should be able to fill the holes and have minimal signs that the gate was ever installed. 

We finished the gate with a single coat of Valspar Interior Satin Perfect White paint from Lowe’s.  I like this paint for my general white trim paint as it’s reasonably affordable and a fairly high quality, easy to clean, and durable paint.  The shade of White is crisp and clean in my opinion and easy to match.


Dining Room Makeover

I feel that a formal dining room is a place where you can be free to be creative and bold. For a space in our home that only gets used occasionally (and by occasionally I mean we have used it twice in a year), yet is the first room you see when you walk in the door I felt that I needed to create a statement. I have been muling over a color scheme since we moved in. We finally landed on the Magnolia Home paint in the color Luxe, purchased at our local Ace Hardware. Let’s talk about this paint for a second, you all know how much I love Joanna, but she has outdone herself with this paint! It’s thick and only requires one coat! I despise painting, however this paint made it so easy! We left the original base and crown molding white, and by adding a stark contrasting color I feel like I accomplished my goal of a statement room.


I ordered this rug from Rugs USA, it arrived fast and filled up the room just as I wanted. I’ve always been impressed with their rugs and often times they run 50% off sales which makes an oversized rug affordable. Eventually a large, custom built farmhouse table will replace the current one so I wanted to make sure that the rug allowed for that piece of furniture so I ordered a size up. To expand on the dining room table for a minute, Josh built our current table when he was in high school. Although our color scheme has changed over the years this table has a sentimental meaning so we will be converting it to a game table upstairs when the time comes. Josh has big plans for a new table and I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

The drapes are from West Elm and are the Echo Print. I originally ordered these for our living room area but I didn’t like how they looked against the white and gray walls. I felt that the ivory in the curtains didn’t pair well with the cool tones in the living room. But…..they look fabulous in the warm dining room! I love how thick the material is, the quality is top notch!

Overall I am so pleased with how our dinging room turned out. Now I’m on to the next project, I am going bold yet again with our downstairs powder room. Stay tuned on social media to see sneak peeks of that project!


Dining Room Before
Dining Room Before
My little helper!

My little helper!

Dining Room Before
Magnolia Home in the color LUXE

Magnolia Home in the color LUXE



Dining Room Makeover

Fall Free Printable

I wanted to share another freebie with all of my new email subscribers. This one is a hand drawn fall print for you to enjoy! Simply print and frame after you subscribe, don’t forget to check your email to confirm!

  • You will need to trim if you are placing in a 8x10 frame and printing from home.

  • Free for personal use only, don’t make it weird ;)

fall printable.png

Coloring Page Freebie

My 3 year old loves to color, and is always asking for me to draw something so he can color it. So I thought that maybe I should add coloring pages to the thing that I do and share it with you all. You can download 2 coloring pages, a Halloween one for the kids and a geometric one for your sanity time. I mean, who doesn’t love to color?



These pages are for personal use only

Halloween Preview.png
geometric coloring page.png

Commissioned Work

These are exciting times for Gray House Design Co. due to several factors.  Kayla and I just officially launched our website.  We have been writing our long term business plan and dreaming of what Gray House Design means to us and what it will become over the coming years.  Last week, I was contacted by a local Interior Designer/General contractor that focuses on design and build out of home renovations with a request to build two commissioned pieces of furniture.  The first piece will be a custom designed freestanding Hall tree/grounding station to give a huge wall in the entryway of a home some purpose.  The second piece will be a custom built in consisting of wrapping two existing round columns with square column wraps that extend 16 feet to the ceiling of the great room in this home in historic Summerville SC.  Extending across the two columns will be two faux wood beams. Between the columns on the first floor will be installed bench seating that doubles as storage and will provide seating within the dining area.  Here’s the fun part, I have 4 weeks to finish the design, measure, build and install both pieces so like I said, exciting times here at Gray house Design Co.  After that project wraps up I have a commissioned custom kitchen island in the hopper with details to come.

Conceptual Drawing for the Hall Tree/Storage unit

Conceptual column drawing for client

Hurricane Florence

First and foremost I want to say how thankful I am that Hurricane Florence did not hit our area as it was expected to and my heart and prayers go out to those in North Carolina and those who Florence has effected.

We are from Kansas, we deal with tornados every season, but Hurricanes are an entirely different set of emotions and fears. In a tornado you have minutes to prepare, rushing to safety and no time to think. With a hurricane you have days of worry, stress and anxiety. You constantly ask yourself do I stay, do I evacuate, if I do evacuate where do I go, how do I prepare if I stay? This stress is all you can think about for days, and you watch all the media stations religiously questioning your decision by the hour.

For us preparations began on Monday evening when our governor declared a state of emergency. We started by cleaning up the yard, grocery shopping, getting our generator in order and prepping our emergency kit. It seemed like every hour from Monday to Thursday we flip flopped on our decision to stay. We boarded up our home on Wednesday when Flo was expected to make a turn towards Charleston after hitting the North Carolina coast. Once the boards went on the house became a dark dungeon and it was hard to stay inside. At this point we where prepared to leave at a moments notice, but since we are further inland than the beach we were going to ride out the storm.

hurricane florence

On Thursday evening we took a stroll downtown to see how the historic homes prepared for the hurricane. We knew that we would be secluded indoors for the next few days so we figured we needed to get out while we could. The vibe downtown was very different then normal, all the tourists were gone and it was only the locals who had stayed and doing just as we were. It was a great evening walking around, exploring our beautiful city.

On Saturday when Florence finally made her appearance to Charleston it was nothing more than light rain and wind. We lucked out by the grace of God.


Joggling Board

The history of the joggling board goes back at least to the early 1800s but its roots are not exactly known.  Some people tell a story of the first joggling board being devised as a piece of exercise equipment for people with arthritis while others tell a story of a young couple sitting on a courting bench and if the young man and the young women started on each end and eventually joggled close enough together they would fall madly in love with one another, or something like that.  Today, joggling boards are seen all over Charleston SC and the surrounding areas as they are a mainstay and a direct linkage to the heritage and history of South Carolina’s colonial past. 

Traditional joggling boards are 16 feet in length and just don’t fit the front porches and smaller yards urban development of the 21st century so that is why I sought out to make joggling boards that are directly rooted in their heritage but fit today’s homes.  The Wando Joggling Board is only 12” wide and comes in various links starting at 6’ through 12’.  These are made with very clean straight lines as to not overpower a smaller porch or space and are perfect for many smaller front porches that don’t have the depth required to comfortably fir a rocking chair or other styles of benches.  The Charleston Joggling Board is based on more traditional sizes and are 18” wide and up to 16’ long.  These boards feature turned finials and are a direct replica of traditional joggling boards of the 1800s.  

Our joggling boards are finished in 3 styles; traditional Charleston Green, White and natural.  All are finished for exterior use using a high quality long lasting paints and polyurethane.

Joggling Board
Joggling Board
Joggling Board

Airplane Birthday Party

How did a year pass by and our sweet little Reid is one!?! For his first birthday party we did a airplane theme party. Josh was a trooper and made a crazy amount of sweets, and this process was a little more labor intensive than I think he had planned. Overall we made 3 dozen chocolate chip cookies (1 batch of bacon chocolate chip cookies, yes I said Bacon!), 80+ sugar cookies, 60 cupcakes and one smash cake. For the cake and cupcake recipe he used the Best Vanilla Cake Recipe by Add a Pinch and then used his imagination to add the airplane sugar cookies as toppers.

For the decorations I ordered mini planes off of amazon and used those to spread throughout the house. I printed out his monthly pictures and hung them on the mantle by a piece of ribbon and little wooden clips. For the take home goodie bags we packaged the chocolate chip cookies in cute little red striped bags that I found on amazon followed with diy plane kits that were also purchased on amazon. Overall I think that the party was a huge success!

airplane party
airplane cupcakes
airplane cake
airplane party
airplane party



DIY Gallery Wall

I love gallery walls, and if you search Pinterest they are filled with them. From neatly organized by shape and size to eclectic and random. For a big open wall I tend to lean more towards the eclectic look, varying frames in size, color and shape. As you know, I am also a photographer so I have lots of pictures of our family to display. The great thing about a gallery wall is that you can add to it, showcasing years of family growth. Here are my suggestions to creating a eclectic gallery wall like I did.

1. Find your showcase frame or canvas. Make this one a large centerpiece to go in the middle, all other frames will feed off this piece. I chose a large, unique ornate shaped frame. I chose a picture of Josh and I to be the center since we are the foundation to our family.

2. Vary frame size and also vertical and horizontal orientations. For frames you can play with different frame colors as long as you are staying within the same color family. I personally like to mix in canvas wraps and frames. The pro to a fame is that you can switch out the picture at anytime unlike a canvas. But canvas wraps are so pretty! So I try to only print pictures on canvas that I know are pictures that I want to display for a long period of time. 

3. Lay all your frames out on the floor, do this in an open space so you can step back and see it all and how it would look on the wall. Start with your centerpiece frame in the middle and feed each frame off of that. When laying out the frames try not to have identical frames next to each other.

4. You will rearrange this on the floor probably a dozen times, work it until you figure out a pattern that you are happy with. Try to keep each side of the large center piece balanced. So if you have a heavy frame on the left side make sure you have one to balance it on the right side. For me I left room on the outsides of the gallery wall to add images as my children grow.

5. Hang your portraits no less than 2 inches apart and no more than 4 inches. You want a nice even mixture of eclectic and intentional and not crowded and forced. My husband is a trooper, he hung the frames just as they were laid out on the floor. This is not my area of expertise because I don't have patience for this. If it were up to me I would measure nothing and start putting holes in the wall. So don't be like me, be like Josh and get a tape measure and level. My favorite thing to use to hang pictures are monkey hooks. They create a small hole and can hold heavy objects. You can purchase them at your local hardware store or from Amazon.

You can add in fun personal effects like a wooden letter for your name or special artwork that your kids have made. Be creative! Lastly, step back and look at your masterpiece. I would love to see what your gallery walls so leave me a message with a picture of your wall!

*I have accepted the fact that with 2 littles in the house that these bottom picture frames will never be straight. My 3 year old is constantly touching the photos and I have no choice but to embrace it. We talk about each of the people in the photographs, and it brings up the best stories between us!

Gallery Wall
Portrait Wall
Gallery Wall

DIY Bahama Shutters

When we first designed our Back porch we knew we wanted it to be covered and screened.  After construction started we quickly realized given the height of the porch and the height limit that our neighborhood imposes, we were going to feel like we were on a stage for all of our neighbors to see.  We came up with a plan to rectify this problem which was to cap both ends of the porch with Bahama shutters.  We thought this would give us the airflow that we desired to make sitting on our porch enjoyable and increasing not only our privacy and enjoyment of our back yard but giving our neighbors some privacy back as our porch also gives you the feeling you are on a lookout tower peering down over the fences of our neighbors into their yards.

I went on the hunt to find Bahama shutters that fit the bill.  Have you ever priced Bahama shutters?  These shutters needed to be 70 inches tall and span a gap of 141 inches wide which meant custom shutters and that bill came to a whopping $5,912 dollars to cover both ends of our porch.  I thought there had to be a better, cheaper and more effective way so I went to the drawing board.  First, I had to design a jig that could make the individual parts of the shutter with the tools I already had.  Once this router jig was created and tested it was time to purchase the lumber.  I settled on treat pine boards locally sourced at my Lowe’s store.  Treated 2x4's were used to build the frame and treated 1x6's were used for the slats.  Heavy duty drive gate hardware, also found at Lowe’s serve as the top mounting hinge and Valspar Duramax exterior paint+primer was used to finish it off. 

Four willing friends to help lift and mount into place later we now have some privacy and additional shade on our porch.  Total price including hardware, paint, material, and jig came in just under $600 for a net savings of approximately $5,300 and given the weight of my way over built shutter, I feel pretty confident with any upcoming hurricanes. 

Finished Shutter

Finished Shutter

Josh's conceptual drawing of the proposed Bahama Shutters

Josh's conceptual drawing of the proposed Bahama Shutters

Adding in the slats. 

Adding in the slats. 

diy bahama shutters
diy bahama shutter
Bahama Shutter