I live in a small town.
In my small town everyone’s fences are the same. To stray from said typical fence can cause quite a stir.
I designed and then had a new fence built. It strayed from the typical small town fence.
It caused quite a stir.
No joke. When I tried to explain to my fence builder what I wanted, he kind of shook his head and gave me the look that said you’re lucky this isn’t Salem and the year isn’t 1693, lady. Boards running horizontally? That’s just crazy talk.
Then he saw my wad of cash and build exactly what I asked for.
I couldn’t be happier with my new contemporary fence. It’s big and beautiful and plain. The problems arose when I went looking around for hardware for my fence. Everything looked like this:
Unless I searched “contemporary gate latches” in which case it looked like this …
Nothing is particularly “wrong” with these pieces of hardware. In fact I quite like the classic set in the first photo. It just isn’t what I wanted. It wasn’t contemporary. It wouldn’t get me burned at the stake.
So I got my thinking cap on and thought … well, why the hell do I have to use actual gate handles?? Who says I can’t just use cupboard handles??? So I did. I also managed to find some very plain rectangular hinges that work well with the fence.
The handles are wood handles I found in the discount bin at Ikea. They were about $1 each if I remember correctly. I put a couple of coats of Polyurethane on them to protect them from the elements. I had NO idea how they’d do as fence handles, or how well they’d fare outside so I bought a bunch of extras. It’s been a year and they’ve held up perfectly.
For the hinges, I came across these which match the contemporary feel plus the lines of the fence,
These I found at my local Home Depot. Plain, black, discrete(ish).
The moral of this story? The little things make a big difference. In this case, the wrong handles and hinges on my fence would have ruined it. Also, don’t feel limited. Use things in different ways for different purposes. The minute you train your brain to … Oh God … I can’t believe I’m going to say this … think outside the box (of prepackaged gate latch sets), you’ll open yourself up to all kinds of possibilities.
The only problem … as you may have noticed, is the fact that the handles I bought are just that … handles. They aren’t latches. So NOW I had the problem of figuring out how to keep the gate closed and latched, without an ugly latch or bolt to distract from my sleek and beautiful handles.
Check the next post for an easy way to keep your gates closed without needing ANY sort of latch or bolt at all. It’s a gate miracle. Well, that and a bit of witchcraft.