That Modern Garage Door

You’ve seen it and drooled—the modern aluminum and glass garage door that melded seamlessly with the clean lines of the modern home.  It’s impossible to deny the visual impact they deliver, and as a result, most manufacturers have some version of it.  These are a handful of brands I’ve seen around Indy and their modern offerings:


In more recent years, designers have taken it up a few notches with cues from the airplane hangar door industry—using tilt up or bifold doors.  The first projec t I saw with bifold doors is Kieran Timberlake’s ingenious Loblolly House.  You can see that bifold doors also form a canopy while in the open position.


Gray Organschi Architecture upped the ante with their Storage Barn project by using polycarbonate panels fastened directly to the frame for a completely one-off look. There are fewer manufacturers that tread in these waters, but those I’ve found include:


Renlita                   |                   Schweiss                   |                   Wilson

(Renlita has the additional option of inward bifolding operation as pictured.)

Here’s where I have to admit the role that novelty can play a big role in design.  Although novelties can help create buzz (Ooo!  Shiny!  New!)  for a project, they rarely fit in the majority of budgets like ours.  The manufacturer’s websites for that first batch of modern doors lists them non-specifically for $$$$$, with conventional models listed for $$.  I was curious enough to get quotes, and the numbers are staggering!  Here are comparative prices for a single 8′ x 7′ size overhead door:

  • Big box store CONVENTIONAL:      ~$300.
  • MODERN door:                                   ~$1,600 – $2,400
  • A BI-FOLD door:                                 ~$15,000

I would LOVE to use Bi-Folds (especially opening the main floor to the front and back decks!) but…

Fabricating a bi-fold door from scratch is a feasible option, but another strategy for shoestring budgets like ours is to use ordinary sectional doors that are uniform in appearance.  Ones with flat sections, typically called Flush Doors.  These should NOT have faux panels stamped on the metal exterior side, since these add busy details that modern design shies away from.  Of course, you can add your own trim to the flat door using 1″ lumber or cement fiber boards, and this achieves a cleaner paneled look than stamped panels.

Although parts of KB Design’s Armada House above are visually busy (and certainly high end), their use of flush sectional doors is very clever.  By using a contrasting but muted colors, they are striking without being visually dominant or distracting.

When novelties don’t fit the budget, being clever and discerning with common items can still achieve a high architectural impact.


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