For years - I'm not even kidding ... years - we've been talking about getting a new side gate added to the front of our house. We have a giant behemoth of one on the back, but that doesn't really prevent anyone from walking down the side of our house and peering in our basement. When we sold the Mini last month we decided that we'd use some of the cash from the sale to finally put in the gate. We contacted a guy we'd consulted with about the back deck a couple of summers ago but he was fully booked and couldn't do it. Alan was outside yesterday talking to our other neighbor and asked if he knew a guy. Turns out he did - it's the same guy who did their deck that I've been admiring for a couple of years. Alan called the guy and within a couple of hours he was here at the house looking at the space we wanted to update. Now we just need to get him a solid idea of what we want to do, he'll give us a quote, and then he'll get started right away. If the quality of work is there - we don't have any reason to believe it won't be, he apparently did our back fence before we moved in - I think we'll likely use him to build us a new deck too. In the meantime, we have to figure out what we want to do.
My absolute, absolute favorite example I found comes from Dawn over at Bungalowcious in Portland. Their gate and arbor is definitely swoon worthy.
Oh, and I'm absolutely loving Pinterest lately to help me compile all of my thoughts into one space and then embed them into the blog. I can send Alan the board and it's so easy to collaborate this way. I'd never really *used* Pinterest before other than to pin pretty things I liked or wanted, but this is turning out to be a great way to organize my thoughts for a real life project.