The beginning of the end of the fence

There are a few things we vowed when we moved into the firehouse.
– The half wall in the bedroom was coming down ASAP.
– We needed a fenced yard by the end of spring.
– The studio would get all of our attention and probably be done in 2 months.

Oh, how naive we were…

If you’ve been following along, you know that only one of those (the studio) has come to fruition… and even that took many more months than we planned. But we’re in the process of finally making good on the fenced yard declaration!

Let’s recap. Nearly a year ago, we spent a long weekend installing (most of) our fence, using cor-ten steel panels. (If you’re new to the blog, it’s a good read, complete with a lightening strike!) We purposefully left a few holes near the back, intending to cover them in horizontal slats of wood to match the treatment we planned for the carport (effectively turning that into a garage.)

Here’s how we left things last summer.


It is funny how everything about renovations has an ebb and flow  – time, energy, money. By the fall, we were low on all three (and down one tree). The fence project got pushed and we spent all winter surveying Mojo’s outdoor time… in the polar vortex.

Now that the weather is turning, the fence completion/carport wrap is our top priority. We kicked things off by tackling this hole in the fence.



It’s cool, Mojo. You know not to cross that imaginary line, right?


Here is a view from the neighboring lot



We researched a lot of different options for the fence and eventually settled on B grade ipe.

Ipe is a very dense hardwood from South America that is fantastic for outdoor applications. It is mold, fire, weather and pest resistant. It needs little maintenance, but if you do give it some by rolling on some oil it will stay a gorgeous deep brown color. It’s also very pricey, which is why we opted for B grade (or slightly subpar) wood. This means that not every board is perfect. Some have a little bow to them, some have a crack at one end, some have milling marks.

We ordered our batch from Advantage Lumber, along with the clips, wax and oil needed for installation and maintenance. So far we’re finding the imperfections to be minimal and some of them to be charming. We’re very happy we opted to save a few dollars.

I have a tutorial for you, but for this post let’s jump straight to the reward.


Hello gorgeous!





It’s exactly what we had in mind. The warm wood (which will get deeper when it is oiled) bring a fantastic natural element to the fence. Seriously, I can’t stop staring at it.

The downside is that we’re finding the installation takes A LOT longer than we expected. (Someday we’ll learn our lesson. Maybe I should block off ALL of 2015 for the kitchen reno…)

To give you an idea, those three sections of fence took an entire day. But it’s cool, we only have this much to go…



  1. Awesome. (Hey, question, how are you planning on treating the posts that the steel is attached to? I’ve wondered about that for some time.) Now mojo can get her mojo on.

    1. Originally we thought we would paint them to match the steel, but now we want to stain them, hopefully in a tone that’s similar to the ipe.

  2. Continues to amaze me. Love it.

    1. Thanks!

  3. Can’t wait to see this on Saturday.

    1. We have a little bit more done than this… but not much.

  4. Your fence is so gorgeous!! I hope your neighbors appreciate how lucky they are :p

    1. Thanks! Ha! I’m not sure what our neighbors think. We actually don’t have anyone immediately left or right of us. But the families behind us probably just think we’re crazy 😉

  5. Wow, I can’t wait to see it stained! Great choice. 🙂 it looks really good so far.

    1. Thanks! I can’t wait until we get to that point!

  6. […] few Sundays ago when it was much to rainy to work on the fence, we hit up a favorite antique mall and (again) walked away empty handed. We only had one more place […]

  7. […] site into something X rated, I’ll jump straight to the point. In my excitement to share the ipe portion of fence, I neglected to wait until the wood had been oiled. (That’s why she […]

  8. I’m sorry if you covered this in another post and I missed it, but why did you guys change materials for that part of the fence?

    1. We knew we would have to cover the carport in wood (cor-ten wouldn’t have been feasible for us to DIY). We wanted the backyard to feel cohesive, so we left a patch near the back for wood. It makes a little more sense once you see the garage finished.

  9. Your fence is awesome! We are just about to set the posts and have sourced the Corten from a friend and we are wondering how to best attach the steel to the posts. Might I ask how you went about it? Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Ash! We drilled holes through the corten and then attached the panels directly to the posts using roofing (gasketed) screws. I think we did a screw every 18″ or so. It’s held up great!

  10. Hello, your home transformation is awesome. Question: What is the spacing of posts for your ipe fence? Also, now that it has weathered, have you noticed that the ipe continues to stay aligned or do you suggest a brace/brace in the middle of fence posts to keep them aligned? I received my ipe from advantage today… but now trying to determine if my 6′ O.C. posts need a brace every 3′ to keep the ipe horizontal boards from misaligning. Thanks.

    1. Thanks, Gil! The spacing for the posts is 8′ which is standard for our area. The ipe has held up nicely. It is still aligned. We haven’t noticed any sagging. I need to do an update on the everything and post new pictures.

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