Saturday, August 18, 2012

Garage Door Redux

One of the most dramatic and pragmatic cultural changes in American homes over the last 100 years has been the evolution of the lowly garage. We started with a carriage house left over from horse and buggy days. It was often set behind or off to the side of our property, separated from the primary residence by space and design. Over time, as our vehicles became larger, this newly named building grew as well. When 'Mom' started working outside the home one car became two, and with the growth of the suburbs the separate garage became attached.

Lowly Beginnings
The garage is not lowly anymore. In some neighborhoods the garage has begun to dominate the initial impression of our homes. I've always felt something akin to negativity toward this kind of 'presentation' garage. To celebrate this big box and our ability to fill it easily with our possessions has never been a favorite part of my design mentality. Don't get me wrong, with our now two car families we need safe and secure storage. 

Start Somewhere
Given the opportunity to mask the reality of our storage needs, some new owners are opting to go back in time a little to the sentiment of the 'carriage house', often linking this renewed structure with a breezeway for convenience. What could be a better way to tie these elements of design and neccessity together than carriage doors?

Cutouts for Windows
There are many companies across the nation that are supplying this need. Shadowline, my design/build company, has developed a door set that can be built on site and customized to more truly reflect the style of the home and the owners' taste.

'Plain' Carriage Door with Natural Patina

We use a standard insulated 'blank' door that is purchased locally at a reasonable price. It is made out of wood which allows us to apply various materials over it, and comes with all the hardware neccessary for the functionality we all expect, including remote door openers.

Barn as Garage/Storage
Most of the doors we have constructed use Western Larch (Tamarack). Less expensive and harder than cedar, it has some of the positive weathering properties of cedar, coloring beautifully as it ages.

Colored by Nature

On-site construction allows us to make each door unique to the installation. Some are fairly simple, without crossbucking or windows, while others have the more traditional look of carriage doors of the past.


  1. I love your garage door! It blends well with the color of your house. The use of wood materials for garage construction is widely accepted. Wood is a sturdy material, and what’s even better about it is that it can lend a warm and cozy atmosphere to a house. Just make sure to use a durable door knob or lock for your garage door. After all, you don’t want other people getting a hold of your stuff in there.

  2. That's a one of a kind garage door! You don't get to see lots of wooden garage doors these days. True, garage doors made from Tamarack change colors as they age. Colored by nature, it is!

  3. My friend has been looking for garage doors in Calgary that are made of wood. Are they as weatherproof as traditional garage doors?

  4. I really like your Garage door.. and the way you design and style it.. is Awesome! Nice posting here... Good work!

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  5. The first photo reminds me of my cousin’s vacation house where we usually spend our summers. Anyhow, the house structure really blends well with the surroundings. From the roof, to the sidings, up to its garage door. It all goes well with the wonderful view around!

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  9. I really like your garage door.Personally I'm a huge fan of the Wood Garage Door, it looks much more natural. thanks for sharing I enjoying reading it


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