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Front yard make-over and garage doors

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Joined: May 8 2004


What do you make of these doors for a '61 atrium Eichler in Terra Linda?

Our designer is recommending them to replace our double door Eichler doors. He likes them because they are simple in an Eichler kind of way. My greatest worry is that we're south-west facing, and our garage might become a sauna. It already is in the summer.

If I had my druthers I'd modernize the interior mechanics, keeping the exterior the same. My wife likes the suggestion of the designer so far.

Actually, my biggest concern with overhead doors is that I go in and out alot through the garage door, and it's easy to just slide it open a little. With overhead rolling doors, I'd have to open the whole thing every time.



Joined: Jan 16 2004

Those are pretty groovy glass doors. Might get hot but with Low E glass and such, they probably will react well with the environment.
We have a standard overhead electric door that we put on 7 years ago and we use it 20 times a day or more (We don't use the front door) and we have no problems with the heat as long as the garage/kitchen entrance is closed.
I am a fan of convenience and never liked the Barn Doors when we first moved into the house. Especially lovely on a Rainy Day when I had to get out to open up the garage.
Anyway, we all have our opinions and those glass doors are very unique and would give your house a certain "Cool Factor"
Good luck with the project.

Joined: Apr 2 2003

Ok, I might get in hot water with your wife over this, but... it's my belief that the garage doors were never supposed to be a "feature" of the facade. If you think about it, the garage doors were done in the same siding and same color as the rest of the exterior so they would *blend*.

Using a different color and different material and different design (grid rather than vertical) makes the doors way too prominent and draws the eye away from the overall feel of the design. You get the all too common "garage with attached house" feel.

At the very lease, I'd investigate having the interior mechanism updated for modern functional convenience--you can keep it side-by-side. It's not that expensive if you do it yourself (just the mechanism). If you do that and live with it awhile you can always take the next step to replacement doors later... but I'll bet you find you don't want/need to.

Apologies to anyone I've offended.

P.S. You can find some pictures from someone who's done this at:

Good luck.

eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Aug 28 2003

I agree with Jake. Less is more! One aspect of the genius of the Eichler design is the clean facade that blends the garage doors into the rest of the house.

Joined: Apr 10 2003

Are of the roll up type but you can get a vertical siding pattern (I dunno if your can get the match to the vertical 'eichler' type siding tho)-it's usually fibreglass and looks pretty good-just a very fine (in some light you don't see it) horizontal line. It comes in a variety of other patterns (ie ranch type gates, story book gates etc.-but you don't wanna go there) often seen on high end homes. So you might get something appropriate for an Eichler.

Wishing for modern home.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

They are great if you want your house to look like a fire station.

Why spend an extraordinary amount of cash on glass garage doors? They are just another expensive, trendy design. One day we'll look back and laugh! I am laughing now! In the spirit of Eichler and Modernist design, these doors don't work. They are just expensive decoration.

One of the great design features of an Eichler are the original garage doors and how the "disappear" into the facade. Today's mechanics can work fine on original doors.

Joined: Oct 13 2003

One more decentling opinion - sorry.

My husband and I have a S.F. Eichler that had the original doors removed back in the late 70's and replaced with an automatic roll-up garage door. We have a unique Eichler since there are only three with our steep-hillside floor plan. (we are all right next to each other) The other two homes have their original doors and their facades looks MUCH better than ours! Their house-fronts look spacious, while ours screams - HEY THIS IS A BIG GARAGE IN FRONT OF A SMALL HOUSE. Even though we all have the same house design! (this is because their doors blend into the entire house design while our doors do not)

A day does not go by that we don't envy all you Eichler folks with orginal side by side doors. Replacing our "modern" door with originals is on our list of fixes for the near future. FYI - if you DO decide to get rid of your orginal doors we will buy the hardware/track from you! If the doors are the right size, we would by them too.

More reasons we hate our roll up door (other than the fact that it takes over the look of our house as if that isn't reason enough):
1. since the Eichler garages are not that high, when it is the door is up we can't open the hatch back of our car (it's a SAAB so the door is big)
2. if we want to go in or out we have to wait to open the ENTIRE door. Noisy and slow. We wish we could just open one door slightly to go in or out like you do! :-L
3. We would like to be able to leave one door open while we work in the garage (we use half the space as a work/art shop) instead of having the entire door open. We like to let in light + air circulation and be able to look outside and see the kids. If we only crack the door we let in air and some light, but we can't see outside.
4. we are unable to hang anything for the ceiling since we need to leave clearance for the door (like sports equipment)

The glass doors your designer has suggested ARE very cool looking, but are they really the best design choice for your mid-century home? And are you SURE you want to let go of the many advantages of your orignal doors? IMHO what you've already got is as good as it gets.

Joined: Mar 2 2004

What great comments. It's great to be able to open one side of the garage. It is also great to be able to open the whole garage. Don't worry about wearing out your garage door opener. Good quality models are very durable and not expensive.
From the comments, I must be the only one that has seen one of these doors. There's one on a new house on Southampton Drive in Palo Alto. It would seem like a neat item...sauna and greenhouse characteristics aside. Here's the problem - At night, it looks like someone has installed a glass storefront in a residential neighborhood. If you want your garage to really stand out, and be the night-time focal point on your block -this is the door for you. I don't think the neighbors will forgive the family that brought the 'Big Apple' to their street. What they have is a 7 1/2' by 16' porch light. You can't even see the neighbors homes when their garage light is on.

Joined: Jan 4 2004

I have a couple of comments as well
First of all, a general guideline that I have consistantly seen Architects follow concerning the relationship of the garage to the front elevation of a home is to minimize the impact of the the garage as it relates to the entry. I am not sure if this is a rule or a more intuitive design detail. It was explained to me that it directs the focus away from the garage and directs the eye towards a more inviting (or intimidating) entry (depending on the desired impact).
This can be accomplished by using a similiar type of facade on the garage door(s) as covers the exterior, or by simply the clever use of paint. (i.e. more striking colors in the entry area, like maybe a red front door) and using the same colors from the exterior to cover the garage door(s).
As far as the operation of the door(s), You can leave the post in the center, and install 2 separate doors with individual motors, so that the garage can remain partially closed (at least halfway).
Also, as I have mentioned in a previous thread, there are a number of garage door companies that will install Eichler siding over a normal sectional roll up door. If you have the narrow line siding ( 1/8" X 1/8" grooves runniing at 1-19/32" on center) you also can have this siding made out of 3/8" thick siding material to help keep the weight down and,
therefore, causing the motor to labor less. Regardless, it can be a nice marriage of the technology available today (remote sectional roll up doors) to what is probably what the various Architects intended when they designed these homes. That does really help to remove the visual impact of having a dissimiliar material as is the case at Stacey's house in SF (and by the way Stacey, I think your house does not look so horrible, nothing a a gallon of paint won't fix...).
As far as practical use and mechanical function (overhead vs. sliding) there is no compelling arguement to be made either way (like the old debate over vanilla vs. chocolate). It is strictly a matter of personal preference, and you'll have to sort that out in terms of what specific factors apply to your situtation (such as SAAB hatchbacks , Kayak storage, basketball players and the like), Just know that you do give up the use of some overhead space for the garage door tracks (but there are solutions for even this problem....).
Any way, I would suggest fully exploring these options before making a decision about something as important as the front of your home.
If you want further info about who to talk to about some garage door companies that do competant lamination of Eichler siding on garage doors, email me any time, I check my mailbox 2 times a day and am always happy to steer Eichler owners to a good referral (even whem I'm up late working on payroll...)


Joined: Apr 13 2003

Hey Bob!

You have a designer there who knows what's cool (or 'hot' I should say?). These doors have been used for quite a few years in modern homes throughout LA (Santa Monica, Brentwood, West Hollywood etc). One of the photos on the website is the home of the screenwriter of American Beauty. I happen to know this because I was standing outside his house admiring the garage door up close when he pulled into his driveway. (Oops, not cool!) Anyway, they are beautiful and modern. But I probably wouldn't use them on most Eichlers because the garage should blend and the horizontal frosted glass against the small scale vertical siding is just too much. However, if you have the wider, larger scale siding it could be pulled off quite well. (In the photos, the brick facade is the least successful) Scale (and the perception of scale)is as equally important as concept, material and color. Also important is what else on the house harmonizes with the glass garage door. Paint/ stain? The front door? The stainless repeated in hardware and house numbers? Anyway, the glass doors aren't wacky, and they can be used in many beautiful solutions. Best of luck to you!

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