OK, first of all, any past/present parents of creepy crawlers (he's not there yet, but he's figuring it out!), are gates essential on stairs? We didn't have them in our house growing up, but the stairs were past a closeable door. In our current house, it's a lovely open floor plan with access to a tempting stairwell.
You can see the stairs in the background of this picture. Note that wide open triangle as you head around the landing toward the 2nd floor... (I think I just answered my first question as I typed this out...)
I'm assuming we do need gates. However, the opening there at the landing is 43.5 inches. Most wooden gates I can order online only go to 41 inches.
I'm thinking of making these instead [link to site]:
If I stain to match what's in the hall, I think these would hit my preferred 'simple but elegant' note. It's more 'modern' in style, so that's my first question: too modern? Does it clash?
There's a great lumber yard near our house where I can get project advice, but I thought I'd check in with you as well. The other option is to buy a sheet of oak plywood (to match what you can see on the landing), add some molding and stain to match. That would give us a solid gate there instead of the slats. I like that it matches the style better, but worry about cutting off the sunlight that comes through those northern windows in the stairwell.
Even if you don't have kids, I'd love your aesthetic opinions.