One of the real fun things I enjoy about my job is creating.  We just finished up a project recently and the front gate was one of the last things to do. There wasn’t a plan for it so we had an opportunity to do something interesting and I hopped all over it.  I usually follow a few steps that may seem elementary but wanted to share them with you.

  1. Draw inspiration from somewhere.  I usually go online and research photos, then save them and present them to the owners to help them visualize what I was thinking.
  2. Sketch the concept.  Sketching actually is a think-through process for me.  Usually I get graph paper so I can scale it, but lately this year I have been watching tutorials and teaching myself Sketchup which is an amazing 3D modeling program you can check out for yourself.
  3. Bid it out.  The next step is to gather the different components together, share the concept, talk through adjustments and get it bid.  In this case we had electrical, concrete, steel, framing & masonry trades all working on this final project.
  4. Adjust and adapt .  You can see in the photo, I really wanted to incorporate an arch.  I researched the height of moving trucks as a guide but ultimately felt that the achieve an adequate clearance it would’ve needed to be 14-1/2′ in the clear.  This would’ve made the arch massive and although I still would’ve liked to have seen it it made more sense to eliminate it.
  5. Complete the project.  To save money and time, some innovations were born here- well at least for me.  We typically would build this in a concrete block format, but speed was of the essence so we used steel frame underpinnings and mixed in wood framed walls.  I think it took me a total of 3 days to build the structure and then we weather proofed and stuccoed the structure like a normal house. We didn’t necessarily derive a ton of cost benefit, but it was far easier to work with in terms of running electrical and making arch cuts, etc.

I took this photo from my phone so it’s not the best quality but I’m proud of it and most importantly on a road full of gates- this one stands out.  My theory is “one and done” meaning we’ll never do this again, and each time we come up with a concept for a family it is unique and meaningful to them.