Nanette (of Nanette and Jim’s new pink bathroom and new blue bathroom fame) wanted to replace the heavy, drafty, worn — and scary — garage door that was a defining feature of the front of their house. Taking a chance, she walked into a local garage door company and sure enough, the company was happy to work with her create a custom design with the look of midcentury modern garage doors, but using 21st Century functionality.
Replacing our garage door was something we talked about doing for many years but wanted something period correct and just couldn’t find anything available on the market to replace it with. We were in love with the style of the original “Swing Up” door even though it was semi-functional, so we just lived with it for the past 17+ years. Then last year, I turned our garage into my art studio, and it became crucial to have an insulated garage door that would seal so we could heat and cool the space.
Above, the “before” door. Nanette explains:
We’ve loved the original door visually, but it needed restoration and it was pretty difficult to use. It hung at an angle creating large gaps which allowed a “nice” flow of air into the space. The old door was also really heavy and difficult to use — swings up, one large unit with massive springs. I needed a helper to get the “swinging” started in order to open it.
Precautionary Pam reminds: Old garage doors may be another thing in old houses that may present safety hazards. As another example: In our house, the original garage door — which was electrified — did not have the modern electronic eye sensor that would prevent it from closing if something — or someone — was underneath. We changed the door out almost immediately for that reason. And of course, be aware of the potential for lead paint, safety glass, golly, there may be other issues. I am not the expert >>> talk to a pro! For more info see our Be Safe/Renovate Safe page.
A friend told me about this company called PacDoor — Pacific Overhead Door — that she had used for a recent install, and as it turned out they were located very close to my house. I decided to just head down there with photos of my garage door and a print out of garage door styles from the Retro Renovation website in hand and see what they could do for me. I was kindly welcomed by Peter, he pulled out some brochures of stock doors but told me right away that he thought I would be happiest with a custom door. He took me into the shop right next to the salesroom and gave me a tour. He showed me other custom doors they were working on, nothing like what I wanted to do but it certainly planted a seed. He told me they could make a door that looked exactly like our old door. He asked me to email him the dimensions and a photo of the garage door and he would work up a mock up and a price. l loved this idea but figured a custom door would be way out of our price range. A few days later I got back a bid with a scale drawing of our door including the raised details like the old one at a very reasonable price. We were over the MOON!!
Adding raised trim to get the look of midcentury modern garage doors
I decided I wanted to change up the design a little from the original door and sent Peter some new drawings. One key element in the new design is the placement of the raised horizontal details. I placed the raised design elements just above the segments the roll up door is composed of. This detail helps to create the illusion of a solid swing up door by disguising the segments. Once we worked out the details it took about a month to have it installed.
We were jumping up and down when we saw the photo of the door in the wood shop. Just couldn’t believe how awesome it looked!
Painting the garage door to make the midcentury detail pop
And finally — the project comes together — with a paint-color twist. Nanette says:
We finally finished painting the garage door so this story could happen any time now.
We got it all primed last October but then it started raining, and life happened, and we just now finished painting it.
Originally I had planned to paint it just like the old door, dark green with minty details. But after seeing it white we got attached to it that way.
For now it’s white with minty trim. The big issue with painting it all green is there’s this bendy plastic trim that seals the door and that stuff can be challenging to paint. That plastic trim is white so it was easiest to leave the door white for now. I did find products out there that say they will adhere to plastic and a local resource that could help, some suggest pre-treating the plastic with some special stuff before painting. (Plus we need to paint our house soon so we figured we’d wait to do anything crazy until that happens).
We just LOVE it. I no longer need help opening the garage door and it’s noticeably much warmer and cooler in the garage/studio now. Thanks so much PacDoor for helping make our garage door dreams come true!~nanette
Beautiful, Nanette! You really did recreate the look of midcentury modern garage doors! And, the square detailing on the garage door kind of reminds me of breeze blocks! Thanks for sharing!
See our Midcentury Modern Garage Doors archive — including the story Nanette used for ideas — here.