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The Story of My Vintage Garden Gate

Sometimes junk makes the best art. See how I rescued this vintage garden gate and used it as screened in porch decor. Free is always good!

*This post was originally published in June of 2014, and updated in 2020.

back porch vintage garden gate on wall
June 2014

Collect things you love,
that are authentic to you,
and your house becomes your story.
~Erin Flett

As promised in my last post where I showed you my summer porch decor, I’m back to tell the story of how I came to own this vintage garden gate. Before I start, I want to thank each and everyone of you who left a comment on that post. I was actually quite overwhelmed, and so touched. How I got such amazing friends I will never know, but I am incredibly thankful.

On with my story. Most of you have met my daughter, Elizabeth. Here we are on Mother’s Day, in 2018. 

ann elizabeth mothers day 2018

Back in 2011, all on her own, Elizabeth bought a little brick bungalow. I did some posts when my blog was very new (lots of bad pics) featuring her house and some of the projects we completed. Projects are always going on, and recently we began working on her back yard. Running along one side of her property is a wire fence. There is no way of knowing how old it is, but I would venture to say it was installed when the house was built in 1954. Attached to this fence was a rusted, ancient, vintage garden gate.

vintage garden gate chippy green paint

There were still traces of green paint and the original latch hook was miraculously still there as well. I asked her, half kidding, if I could have the gate. She looked at me as though I had two heads…but said “OK, if you really want it.” We tried to get it off the post (pictured below) but it wouldn’t budge.

Sometimes junk makes the best art. See how I rescued this vintage garden gate and used it as screened in porch decor. Free is always good!

We gave up and I forgot about it. The next day as I was packing the car to come home, she came around the back of the house with her boyfriend, carrying the gate. She had asked him to help get it off the post so I could have it. I think her boyfriend thought I was nuts, and rightfully so…but the fact that she went to the trouble to find a way to get the gate off the post meant the world to me. So home with me it came, and it didn’t take long to decide where it would go. The obvious place, in my opinion, was our screened in back porch. 

garden gate screened in porch
Summer 2018

I hosed it off and sprayed it with a coat of clear matte poly. I already had nails in the wall, so I attached some wire to the gate and hung it up.

It looks right at home. It’s almost exactly the same width as my Grandmother’s chest. (Which incidentally lived on her back porch too.) I love that the gate has a story…and that it came from a place near to my heart. Elizabeth probably won’t live in her little house forever, but even if she moves, I will always have a little piece of it…and someday if she wants it back, it’s here for the taking.

screened in porch furniture wicker chair
June 2020

*Update June 2020: Elizabeth sold her little bungalow, and along with her boyfriend, built a brand new home. She misses her old house, but is very happy, and is busy fixing up the new one!

Thanks for listening to my story…and for visiting. 

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84 Comments

  1. Love the gate! Do you. Know I have been watching auctions and got out bid both times on these precious old gates of 150.00+! They have the same old wire like yours from the 1930s to 50s! My grandmother had one in her time and I so wish I had hers. So, purchasing is the closest I can get to one. I’ll keep looking. Your screened in porch is just lovely. Another thing we have in common is blue & white❤️

  2. Love this story and love that gate. I remember gates like that when I was growing up. Your choice of a wall hanging is perfect!!!

  3. My first house had a similar gate. Fun way to use it.

  4. Since blue is my favorite color I love your porch…. small is charming. We downsized from the “big house” and what I missed was the acerage and 1 2X24 sun room….so now I have made my courtyard into an outdoor room…..navy…white and lime green and as many pots and tropical trees as I can cram in. No screens as HOA does not allow but cozy and sometimes.small is better…especially when you can hose the concrete and rug. Lol

  5. Stella Napier says:

    I love your garden gate. I too have one and am looking for a second one for my DiL. Yours looks much better than mine as it’s still sitting under a tree. Lol I hope to put mine in front of my fireplace if I can beg someone to remove the old wood stove! Things move really slow at my house! Have a wonderful day!

  6. Lovely story..I love reading it..Arent daughters the best.❤

  7. I love your gate and especially the story behind it. Using keepsake/special items to decorate is the best way to ensure we don’t get tired of something. I used to buy a lot of decorative items from home goods, etc. which is fine but now I try to get creative with things passed down from my family. It really creates a unique and personal home. I also love the classic blue you used on your back porch!

  8. I love your gate and have wanted to find one for myself. One of these days!

  9. Brenda Kula says:

    I left that same gate at the little blue house. I would love to have brought it here with me!
    Brenda

  10. Liz@HoosierHomemade says:

    That is the coolest gate ever, Ann! And I love how you decorated with it!
    ~Liz@HoosierHomemade.com

  11. Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions says:

    I think it is the perfect piece to hang on a porch wall, Ann. I especially love it with the wreath hanging off it. I am glad I am at an age now where I don’t care what other people think! : )

  12. My Great Grandma had a fence and gate just like that around her property. I would have given anything to have found that gate! I did find a miniature gate just like that, a few years ago, in a little shop in Door County, Wisconsin and grabbed it, it’s hanging on my wall. I love it.

  13. Jill Flory says:

    Ann, I LOVE that gate! It looks delightful there and I just love your whole porch too – I could live there for the summer!

  14. Yvonne @ StoneGable says:

    I love love love your porch, Ann!!! And the story of the gate makes it all the more special!!! What a great rug!!! Gotta catch up on your recent posts! We have had a lot of company lately!

  15. Ricki Jill Treleaven says:

    Sweet post, Ann. I think items at home should reflect our story of who we are. Your daughter is so pretty, but then again she has great genes!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      It’s so good to hear from you Ricki Jill! I will be by to visit soon. :)

  16. Ann, what a great little story. Memories, such as this one, are what can be passed along to future generations. Perhaps one day your daughter will be telling her grandchildren about the gate hanging on her wall.
    Enjoy your summer!

  17. That looks sooooo good! And the story behind it is so sweet too~~

  18. Carlene@Organized Clutter says:

    I love the gate! I’m so jealous!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh my gosh Carlene coming from you that is high praise! Thanks for stopping by…

  19. Ann, that is a wonderful story about your grandmother’s dresser. I never got to know my grandma since she passed away shortly after I was born, but my mom gave me some tablecloths, doilies and runners that my grandma crocheted. I love to put them out from time to time and I think of her crocheting away as my mom told me she always loved doing. She could not read or write English, but she was able to look at an item, remember it and go home and crochet it!

    I don’t have any daughters, but I do have one wonderful daughter-in-law who I am able to share moments that are very special too.

    1. Your grandma being able to look at something and crochet it reminds me of my Grandma Godwin. She could look at a dress or article of clothing in a book or magazine, or someone wear it and take newspaper and make a pattern and sew it. It would look just like the original! I can barely use a commercial pattern and how it ends up looking is a toss-up, hehe~~I can crochet, but only flat items like a doily, afghan or tablecloth, nothing shaped like a sweater. *sigh* I guess we all have our own gifts. I never knew my Grandmother Jones, she died before I was born also.

      1. Denise, I guess I may have gotten some of my grandma’s genes since I do a great deal of crocheting and have taught myself many different stitches. If you’re in my family, you’re gonna get something crocheted from me! I still haven’t perfected “the look at it and go home and crochet it” gene though. I don’t think that will ever happen, but I do sell some of my crocheted items on Etsy or as my hubby calls it, “itchy”. LOL

        I’m just happy to have some of their things and my hope is that my family with continue cherishing these and my creations for their children and grandchildren.

  20. Kathleen G says:

    I read all the comments and agree with all of them. Love the gate and what it represents. Having it above your Grandmas chest on your porch, beautiful memories.

  21. I loved this story! It’s so interesting to hear the back stories…and the gate looks wonderful in your porch! ;)

  22. Linda Sangirardi says:

    What an adorable outdoor room! Of course, I love the gate but also love the rug and touches of green (my favorite color!). It’s just so inviting. I would kill to have an outdoor space like that,lol!

  23. Jane @ Cottage at the Crossroads says:

    I’m thinking that boyfriend may be a keeper! How sweet of him and your daughter freeing the gate so that it could come reside on your porch! It looks fabulous!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      He is so nice Jane but I’m not counting my chickens before they are hatched. I’ve done that before and gotten into trouble!

  24. Dori Troutman says:

    Ann, I read one of the comments below and your reply about the dresser on your porch. That is the MOST AWESOME thing…. from your grandmother’s porch to yours. It almost made me want to cry. Very special. – Dori –

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Dori you are simply the best friend…thank you so much for leaving not one but two comments! I’ll be by to visit you and Andrea soon. I saw her post about the picket fence garden but I didn’t know she got the gate through your trade. Well done!

  25. Dori Troutman says:

    Ann, I sure love the story of your gate. Mine had a similar one – it came off of an old fence at my son and daughter-in-laws 100 year old farmhouse. But I traded it for an old farm table from Andrea!!! So she is making great use of the old gate. It looks darling on the picket fence they built for their garden. (Did you see that post of hers – it showed the gate.) I was almost sad I traded it when I saw yours on your porch post and then read this post today…. until I thought of the awesome farmhouse table I have now!! :-)

    And yes, comments on our blogs from readers and other bloggers is always such a lift. It’s been such a pleasant surprise to me how much it means.

    Hope you’re having a lovely week, Ann!

  26. Oh Ann, what a charming and beautiful story. Your daughter reminds me of mine. She knows how much I like/love old things.

  27. What a great story Ann, and the gate is so perfect on your beautiful porch. Thanks for sharing – it’s the stories like this that always tug the heartstrings. Peggy

  28. Such a sweet story. Aren’t daughters wonderful (of course they have their “off” days as well). I just love the way the gate looks. I actually wish I could find one to hang in my living room, since I started decorating more “rustic eclectic.” I love old pine (have an old tool trunk as a coffee table) and a pine cupboard someone built out of old pine, which holds my flat screen TV. I think a gate would look wonderful over it. Also have an old sewing machine base with a wood top used as a display table under an old English pine plate rack. Now I just have to paint my Mother’s rocking chair (bought some Annie Sloan paint). I think I told you that my daughter decorates in your style….very traditional. Thank you for all your ideas.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I’m told if you find these gates at antique malls they are a bit pricey but you might get lucky at a flea market or salvage yard. Good luck…your home sounds wonderful!

  29. Hi Ann, I’ve just signed up to follow you everywhere! Pinterest, blog, facebook, Please come visit when you have time!
    Rita

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Hi Rita May! I left a comment on your blog but then I got a returned email saying it didn’t go through…just know I tried. Thank you so much for following along!

  30. margaret elkins says:

    My grandmother had a garden gate like that. Makes me miss her. Love how you repurposed it. You could also pin photos to it.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I know Margaret…isn’t it funny how some things bring back a rush of memories and feelings? Thank you for stopping by!

  31. I love your garden gate, and the story is so sweet. My daughter bought a 1950’s bungalow, too. It’s and ongoing project :)

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Ha! Isn’t if funny how their projects seem to become ours? I love it though and I’m sure you do too. Thanks for your comment!

  32. You are a very special lady and mom. I so glad you take the time to share such warm moments in your life. That gate has the perfect place and home.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      What a lovely thing to say…thank you so much!

  33. Barbie Bertke says:

    I love your gate Ann. I think the story of it coming from your daughter’s house is so special. I get so sentimental anymore that I can relate to the gate story. It looks great on your porch.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I know Barbie…the older I get the more sentimental I become…oh well. It’s better than being old and grouchy!

  34. It looks lovely! Does your chest stay on the porch year round? If so, is it not affected by the rain, humidity, heat , cold, etc.?

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Well that’s a good question. That chest actually lived on my Grandmother’s back porch. She stored tools, clothes pins, nails, you name it. No one wanted it after she passed away and it was in danger of going to the dump. I brought it home and it sat in my garage for more years than I will admit. Finally a few years ago I cleaned it up and painted it white. It’s worn fine and doesn’t seem to have suffered any problems from the weather. So it really went from her porch to mine. Thanks for visiting and for your question!

      1. Oh thank YOU Ann! I have so many ideas for my front porch now!!

  35. … You look great too Ann … God Bless …

  36. Mary Alice Patterson says:

    Your gate is FABULOUS and looks perfect on your beautiful porch!! LOVE the hint of green that’s left on it.
    Mary Alice

  37. Keeping It Cozy says:

    Ann, I love the story about your gate. How special and it is the perfect hanging accessory! The gate looks so similar to an old one we hung on our garden fence recently and it’s one of my favorite things. :-)

    1. Ann Drake says:

      I know…I saw your post about your garden and your Mom told me where your gate came from! I’ll be by to visit soon. Thank you so much for your comment! p.s. I miss you!

  38. Mary Catherine Skarshaug says:

    You and your daughter lift my heart with your kindness to each other. The gate arrangement and all of the porch looks spectacular. The chairs just need to be filled with sweet ladies drinking frosty glasses of iced tea.

  39. Charlotte says:

    Ann, what a wonderful and special story! What a sweet and thoughtful daughter Elizabeth is, just like her mom:0)
    Xo,
    CharlotteT

  40. Love your gate story!!!

  41. Deborah Jackovitch says:

    Ann,
    You tell the story of the gate as only a loving mother could tell it.
    It is not the expensive gifts given to us through life that we cherish but rather the small personal experiences we create in life.
    I especially love your blog because you are so down to earth. I know when I see Sutton Place in my email list I am in for a treat. Not just looking at someone that sends a whole blog about moving pillows about the house…
    Keep writing from your heart, you have won us over.
    Your friend,
    Deborah

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you Deborah!
      I had to chuckle at your comment about moving pillows about the house…I try so hard not to post on things like that because honestly, I agree 100%! I appreciate the time you took to leave such a nice comment. Thanks again…Ann

  42. Anne Adams says:

    Love your approach to decorating. Love what you love too.
    thanks. Anne

  43. Ann your porch looks beautiful!! LOVE LOVE that gate…it was the perfect addition to this pretty space!!

  44. Sherry Saladrigas says:

    Simply beautiful. . Now all you need is a good book and a glass of sweet Tea !!!!

  45. Ann,
    Your daughter is so beautiful, just as you are. What a special story…you can look at that gate and feel the warm bond between you and your daughter. It’s a special love between Mother and Daughter. And the gate is now special to you just as your Grandmother’s chest it sits above. People often look at me like I have three heads because I’m an old sentimental fool…it’s not the object so much as the warm love I feel for a family member when I see it…

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Well said Shirley…sometimes seeing something brings back such strong memories and feelings. It’s those reminders that we all should cherish. Thank you for such a lovely comment!

  46. Peggy Zortman says:

    That is a very sweet story. And there is nothing like an old rusty gate. It is beautiful on your porch!

  47. I love it and especially that it has a story behind it…how sweet of your daughter to take the extra steps to get it for you.

  48. Love the fence and the story, enjoy your post very much!

  49. It looks wonderful and the love in you “voice” as you speak of your daughter is so obvious. Blessings!

  50. You and your daughter, what a good looking pair! Your back porch is something I would lover to have and to look like yours do! But here in the Netherlands we have brick houses and no porches. Usually our gardens are not that big either.
    Thank you for your very inspiring posts! Keep them coming.
    regards and a big hug
    Mieke

  51. Shirley@housepitality designs says:

    P.S…Facebooked and pinned away!!!!

  52. Shirley@housepitality designs says:

    Oh Ann, it is beautiful and love how you “dressed it”…it is perfect in that gorgeous sunroom of yours!!!…oh so very sweet of your beautiful daughter’s boyfriend to free the gate from the post…it is so very special….I am sure every time you look at the gate, it reminds you of your sweet daughter…

  53. How precious that your daughter figured out a way for you to have the gate. Things like that mean so much to us mothers. Love the way you coordinated into your back porch. Quite lovely!! Enjoy your blog so much !

  54. Love the fence but love the story more……daughters are the best :)

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Yes Bev they really are!

  55. Jeanette Duke says:

    I absolutely love this gate on your porch! It’s touches like this that just bring on the personality, don’t you think? Well that is why you are good at decorating as you know exactly what to do to keep things from getting too stiff and as for your daughter, yes she is beautiful and so are you. You did very well, Ann!!!

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Thank you Jeanette…you leave the best comments. They always warm my heart!

  56. I love gates and I have a wider one that I use as a trellis. I really like how you’ve used yours and I might have to copy it! Thanks for sharing and I love your posts.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Oh a trellis is a fabulous idea. I just may have to copy YOUR idea!

  57. It’s perfect, and you are lucky to have such a thoughtful daughter. It looks so nice against the white walls :) Pinning!!

  58. Eilis@My-heart-lives-here.blogspot.com says:

    You have the perfect spot for that lovely gate and your story is so much better than if you had just bought it.

  59. Anne@DesignDreams says:

    So beautiful! I love that look!

  60. love love the old!!! they have a story and character

  61. Penny@ The Comforts of Home says:

    What a great story! I do remember when your daughter bought that home.

  62. A sweet story and I’m sure your daughter Elizabeth will smile each time she visits and relaxes seated in your beautifully decorated porch. I love that you share your yearly fashioned porch. The colors you choose always make me smile. I received my herb markers in the mail yesterday from Kim. They’re perfect.

    1. Ann Drake says:

      Aren’t the herb markers just the best? I think her whole shop is such a delight. Thanks for your comment and for stopping by…Ann