Going mmm…modern: Our new fence reveal!


I’ve said if before and I’ll say it again, “Good design should begin at the mailbox!” (Gosh darnit!)




Mailbox frontOur custom mailbox. Forgot the story? You can read about it here.




You know, the box that advertises your address and essentially says, “I’m with THAT house.” It should add style, not taketh it away. So if I’m that insistent on mailbox flair, you can only imagine how seriously I took the design of our fence.




I drove the streets of Santa Barbara searching for inspiration.




Sometimes I struck out….





Teddy bear topiaryLandscaping and “fencing” join forces creating life-size, gummy bear-inspired (just a guess) topiary sentinels. Santa Barbara, CA.




There were Google searches…oh, the searches.





And I found many styles that were quite nice.






Ornate lattice fenceIf you like lattice, you may love this one.







Split Cedar fenceOh split cedar, if we had a ranch, you’d be a strong contender.






White capped fenceFancy and traditional. Too bad our house isn’t!






Gothic FenceIf you want your fence to say, “Keep out and stay out!”, this French Gothic fence has got you covered.







Metal fenceOuch, ouch, ouch! I pity any male intruders who dare scale this forbidding fence.





But none gave the modern look we were going for.




But wait, that’s a story unto itself. Last year we bought a Ranch Style home that was architecturally anemic. It had enough clean lines and 90-degree angles that would suggest modern, but add some trim and design flourishes and it could just as easily have gone traditional. Like Michelangelo letting the marble tell him what sculpture lay inside (“David, are you in there?”) we let the house whisper in our ear and tell us what it wanted to be.




And it shouted modern. Thus, a modern fence.





So I got all droolly-mouthed when I saw this…






Aluminum and wood fenceI don’t actually think this house pairs very well with the brick exterior of this home, but if I could transport it to our property, I would like it very much. Except for the fact that everyone could see inside, which just occurred to me. On second thought, you can keep your “Feel free to peer inside my yard, I’m always wearing pants!” fence design.




This one also has a little bit of peek-a-boo quality, but it’s just cool, right?




Horizontal metal and wood fence





But still none was quite right.






Dog poking through fenceEven though this one came with a dog-friendly window. Don’t you just want to press your kisser to the other side of that bubble?





Because, we wanted modern and we had the issue of…









Which made us think all might be lost and we were going to have to just live with a chain link fence and its set-in cement posts.





Chainlink fence before



That is until Nicole Curtis of Rehab Addict (such a good show!) shared her brilliant tip to remove only the chain link portion and use the existing posts as the posts for your future fence. Thanks, Nicole!





So we removed the chain link and left the posts.





Leaving chain link posts



1. Attached 2 x 4 s to the posts with metal straps.




2. Constructed the horizontal portion of the fence from 1 x 6  boards of redwood leaving a gap the size of one medium-sized nail between each board. Now when the backyard is lit and you approach the house from the driveway, there is a nice glow through the boards, yet someone would have to struggle to actually see through those tiny gaps.



3. Attached the horizontal portion of the fence to the vertical 2 x 4s with additional 2 x 4s.



4. For a finishing touch, we will eventually encase the metal posts with more wood, but since we knew we would be taking part of the fence down (to allow heavy equipment access to our forward-leaning retaining wall) we haven’t yet done this so it still looks a little funky on the back side.





Inside of fence





But now it is so much prettier from the front!





Our new modern fence!






Modern horizontal fenceTa da!





After the great Modern Gate Latch search, I finally found a source that made modern gate latches. Now we just have to make the time to install the darn thing!






Ashley Norton gate latchAshley Norton gate latch found here.




Selecting a fence style made me suddenly very aware of fence styles whereas, before this, I must admit the words “French Gothic Picket” would not have rolled off my tongue. If you are thinking about building or rebuilding a fence, here is a great cheat sheet of some of the most common styles.





Fence stylesSource



PS, For my readers who prefer projects to design musings, don’t worry, more projects will be coming soon!

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6 Comments on Going mmm…modern: Our new fence reveal!

  1. jen
    February 10, 2015 at 6:30 AM (5 years ago)

    Stunning! You need your own show. I want to see you in a toolbelt building your dream house! 🙂

    • Kisha Gianni
      February 10, 2015 at 8:50 AM (5 years ago)

      Sounds like a plan! If you know of any producers, just give me a holler. 🙂

  2. Aren
    September 25, 2015 at 10:24 AM (5 years ago)

    This is a beautiful fence! I’m in the process of building a couple redwood gates for my house, and so I’ve been looking at pictures of what other people did. I love the variegated look of the redwood you used – how it’s very dark in some areas, and yet very light in others, and how the darkness doesn’t just follow a random pattern, but often accentuates the rings and other natural features of the wood grain.
    May I ask whether you did anything intentional (or unintentional) to get that look? Almost all the other redwood fences/gates I see have an even color throughout and they don’t look nearly as cool as yours!
    Thanks so much, Aren

    • Kisha Gianni
      September 27, 2015 at 2:12 PM (5 years ago)

      Hi Aren, The fence, as you mentioned, is redwood, and we used a clear finish on it. I do have a lot to say about this. After a lot of online research, Thompson’s WaterSeal, sounded like the best product to use; however, after about a year, it seemed to have completely absorbed and the wood was looking lackluster and developing more of a patina that we would have liked. (The photos from this post were taken after Thompson’s had recently been applied and a patina had not yet developed.) My husband used an orbital sander to take off just the layer of patina and, this time, we used Benjamin Moore’s Transparent Stain in Clear. The wood looks much richer than even the first time around when the Thompson’s was first applied, and we have noticed, (with shrieks of glee!), that the when hose water gets near it the water beads up so it looks like this sealer is really sealing. I hope that helps!

  3. Stephanie
    January 14, 2017 at 1:59 PM (3 years ago)

    Hi. Could you provide more information on your gate latch? The link you provided is for a gate latch that doesn’t look anything like yours. I’ve been having a really hard time finding a modern looking gate latch for our horizontal fence that isn’t crazy expensive and haven’t had much luck so far. Thanks!

    • Kisha Gianni
      January 14, 2017 at 4:43 PM (3 years ago)

      Hi, Stephanie. It was so long ago, that it is a fuzzy memory so I looked in my notes and my original email when I asked the rep for the price and the same link I linked to in my blog post comes up. I’m thinking maybe there was an option to use that same back plate and we were able to choose a more modern lever to go with it. Or, they just don’t make it anymore. If you can call a store that sells Ashley Norton, you could confirm if changing the lever is an option. I’m sorry I don’t have any more info. I remember how hard it was for us to track down a modern one so I understand what you’re going through. 🙂


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