Friday, December 16, 2011

Barbarians at the Gate

One of the final components of our house was the driveway gate. The old gate was bent (a little too much Christmas Eve one year or a wanton delivery truck?). It was considered by many to be unsightly. So, we removed it and prepared to replace it with something more suitable.


I stalked driveway gates in Buckhead, stopping to snap pictures with my camera.


It gives a whole new meaning to driveby shooting.


I thought this last one had just the right feel for the house.

IMG00105-20110804-1025 (7)

I felt a bit guilty when the neighborhood association website had a neighbor raising the alarm about strangers taking photos of houses. Turns out it was movie scouts scouting for movie locations, but I wondered if I should ‘fess up. I tend to carry my camera with me and stop when I see something nice.


Here it was the espaliered sasanqua that caught my lens.


Does anyone else do that?

Anyway, I really liked the last gate above and thought it would frame the house nicely. I knew we needed a pedestrian gate and saw a great English gate on Houzz that had the configuration in my sketch below. clip_image002 After I came up with the concept drawing, I started getting bids. One company took my concept and photoshopped the gate onto a photo of the house.

McClatchery A Pic Overlay (3)

They had the most experience and seemed the most professional so they got the job.


When their guys came out to install the posts, the posts looked great and the guys were very careful to get every detail right.


Well, almost every detail. There seems to be a concrete pad blocking the pedestrian gate.


Instead of putting the post mounted gate operators, the gate company apparently decided that with several households sharing the gate, we needed an industrial operator. Two industrial operators. One on each gate. So in order to place this operator the size of a suitcase, they poured the pads. The idea that the the operator would block the pedestrian gate didn’t bother them.


Oh, and did I mention that the posts were too tall? My model here is 6’2”. The gate posts should have maxed out at 5’8”.

I was not happy. Gary the Builder, ever the sage, tried to calm me. “We have our head in a lion’s mouth,” quoth he, “it wouldn’t be a good idea to kick him.” Indeed, the company had my deposit and my gate. What to do?

I began to get worried that the gates wouldn’t look anything like what I had commissioned, since some critical parts had been changed. Builder Gary had them email photos of what they had built.

The gates looked good. I was calmed. Builder Gary negotiated a path forward. The gate company would remove the concrete pads and go back to the operators originally specified. They would install the gates. I would pay them the balance and live with the extra foot of height.

I think Builder Gary could have a career in the State Department, but first he has to build another of Justeen and Denise’s houses.

I stayed safely inside when they removed the concrete pads.


It was partly because I was trying to give them what they wanted. I had been labeled a difficult customer. They didn’t want me “supervising.” It also made me nervous that they used a motor lift to lift out the concrete pads whole to use again. I wasn’t sure what they were going to use them for, but I didn’t want them sizing up my feet. Concrete shoes are not my thing. Just saying.

As fate would have it, I was in the hospital with one of my kids on the day the gate was installed, so the only way I could see the progress was from the security camera.


When I got back home, I was very pleased with the way the gate turned out. The operators don’t block the path and it is no problem to walk through the pedestrian gate now.


So, we decorated a bit,



and now we are ready to invite friends in,


or close things up should we have an encounter with barbarians at the gate…



  1. Yeah. Will do personal inspection this week. Gate and house for a single visual unit and it's a good look. Congratulations and Merry Christmas to all the Coming Home loved ones.

  2. Sounds like you had a bit of a roller coaster ride with the gate. Thankfully it went up ok in the end. The extra height is not always a bad thing. I think the height suits it quite nicely. I would of had an oak coloured fence and gate though, just to contrast with the house

  3. The new gate is a suitable choice for home, I loved it. It looked very strong and safe. See other iron gate in: chon mau cong sat