Garage Doors – Make Them a Feature and Not a Problem

Garage Door Accent

Garage doors are often one of the ugliest features on the exterior of a house. There are now quite a few carriage house type doors to choose from that look much better than the traditional flat or raised panel doors. But those special doors come at a significant cost increase. There are other solutions you might want to consider.

    Garage doors are often an unsightly feature simply because of their scale. We human beings tend to prefer objects that are an appropriate size or scale to our own size. The doors and windows of your house will be most appealing when they are size-appropriate to the people who will occupy the house. They will “express” an interaction with other people. On a subconscious level, we can emotionally connect with architectural features like that. Garage doors must, by their very nature, be sized and scaled to the automobiles that must pass through them. Garage doors end up being the largest doors on your house. We find them unattractive for that very reason.

Being true to his sardonic nature, Frank Lloyd Wright once said, “Doctors can bury their mistakes. Architects can only plant vines.” It’s a clever line, but vines can serve a greater purpose for architects than simply camouflaging errors. They can be useful elements that can be integrated into the architecture. Here is an example of vines used to soften the visual impact of three, blank garage doors in an otherwise featureless portion of a house.

There is another dynamic going on here. It’s one that I discuss at length in my book, Designing Your Perfect House. Because the vines did not grow in this position by the luck of nature, someone must have planted them, trained them to grow in this configuration and clearly the vines require maintenance. What happens is our subconscious mind senses a connection with the person who did all of that and will likely return to provide more maintenance. It’s a dynamic I call “peopling” of a space. And nearly all of us are happier when we feel the presence of other people. The driveway and garage doors, items meant for automobiles, take on a more humanistic quality by virtue of this managed pergola and vine. The space becomes “unlonely.”

This simple and relatively inexpensive element greatly improves an otherwise inhuman, uninviting space. All that was required was a little thought and effort. I think it was worth it.

I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.

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Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch


  1. Garage Doors on November 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Some of the new garage doors on the market, are now the fastest and easiest way to add curb appeal to your home.

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