Is it just me, or are some baby gates just plain unsightly? I realize the emphasis is less on aesthetics and more on functionality, but when there is a lack of both, what is one to do?
Here was our dilemma: we needed a gate at the top of our extra wide staircase. Not only is our staircase wide, but we have this funky angle at the top, where said gate would attach, and a spindle post on the other side. I tirelessly researched all things baby gate online for an out-of-the-box option. I eventually found one that would do the job in terms of size. However, getting that puppy attached to the angled wall was not an easy feat (says the person who recruited her hubby for the job). Once that was done, we had to anchor the other end to the spindle post. This involved cable ties. Yes, people, cable ties. This is what the manufacturer recommended, no joke. Now, my husband knows that mama is not using cable ties to anchor the baby gate, so he promised he would come up with a more sane option once we determined if the gate was going to function. Well, problem solved . . . the gate was retractable and the darn retractor thing didn’t even LOCK. (Did I mention we paid over $100 for this gate?) Epic fail, all around. That thing was promptly removed and shipped back to the manufacturer. Goodbye, crappy baby gate. Some baby proofing you were (not) good for!
I finally decided it was going to have to come down to some creative do-it-yourself type of homemade, aesthetically-pleasing-while-also-super-functional contraption. Pinterest, I’m talking to you! Alas, I found some really nice options to work from, but still not addressing our funky angled-wall issue. Enter my father-in-law: a man who loves a challenge and just so happens to also have a lot of nice saws and other woodworking tools. He also happens to love his only grandchild immensely (wink-wink).
I show Dad some of my Pinterest finds and ask him if he’s up for the challenge. We walk up to the top of the staircase and he has a good look around. He comes back down, grabs a tape measure, and gets to work measuring away. A couple of weeks later, VOILA!
The gate is over 3′ tall, has double-swing hinges and a 6-inch surface bolt which resides on the front of the gate. You can see the bolt is about one-third of the way down the front of the gate, so there is no way her little arms and hands can reach down to unlock it at this point.
My father-in-law cut the wood at the same angle as the funky wall angle and then ended up attaching that side to the door molding, using a shim in between the door mold and the gate on that side. On the opposite side, where the spindle post is, he used a U-bolt and a piece of wood to secure the gate to the post. We capped the heads of the screws since the idea here is about safety and all.
Pretty creative, right? Maybe I should say pretty AND creative (for which I can take no credit)! We have a spiffy, jiffy, fully functional, aesthetically pleasing, super stable, custom baby gate at the top of the stairs, securely attached to our weirdly angled wall! Cable ties need not apply, thank you very much!