Monday, October 30, 2017


Happy Halloween from the Retro Ranch!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

How to Make a Garage Door an Important Design Element

The Retro Ranch restoration project is a marathon and not a sprint, you've read that here before. Years ago I heard my father use an expression just one time that has stuck with me my entire life. I feel it captures all the things we have to do at 3301. He said “I’m like a mosquito in a nudist camp – I don’t know where to begin.” As you can imagine that stuck with a pre-teen boy for a variety of reasons.

On our check list of things to do the garage door was a low priority even with a sag in the middle, a row of windows that let anyone look in and a tired, noisy opener. It was functional (other than the Sunday evening spent replacing a burned-out belt) so replacement was planned to be a 2018 or 2019 expenditure.

Old garage door

When we moved in, we marveled at one of the remotes. It brought to mind the keys you are handed at a gas station or convenience store to be able to access the washroom. I don’t know about your experiences but often, the bigger the key fob, the worse the condition of the washroom…but I digress.

Would this fit in your pocket?

As we were preparing to paint the exterior of the house, scraping and prepping the various surfaces, I started to study the condition of the old garage door. It would take a lot of scrapping, sanding, priming and paint just to make it look acceptable, even on a temporary basis. Being at the front of the house and right by the front door, not painting the garage door when the rest of house was getting refreshed wasn’t an option. But the time and paint needed to refresh a door that would be replaced in the next two years (or less) didn’t seem like a good use of my time or paint.

So it was time to research a new garage door. With a couple of estimates we pulled the trigger a few weeks before the bathroom project started and Shazam – one new, fully functional, quiet, smooth running 4-panel garage door with an exterior key pad, new track and motor in basic white was installed.

Installation excitement!

Plain, but quiet...and with keypad entry!

Kind of plain – kind of vanilla – not in keeping with the Retro Ranch theme is what you are thinking now isn’t it? (Obviously you don’t have faith in Beth’s design skills and vision like I do.) You may recall from previous blogs that Beth had scoped out garage door designs for 60s garage doors. So one week while I was traveling Beth bought materials and created the garage door trim. Note - it helps to have a frame shop to cut perfectly mitered corners and pin them together. I had painted the garage door our exterior light gray (or as Beth’s brother John calls our color – primer). The trim was painted the darker gray and then we researched the adhesives needed to assure that they would stick. About two weeks ago, they went up and as you can see, a plain garage door is now a subtle design element that adds so much curb appeal to the Retro Ranch. Don’t you agree?

We still have lots of work to do on the inside of the garage but that is a winter to early spring project. However, the Mini is thrilled to be a garaged car again. The more I look at this garage door the more I think about how a '65 or '66 Falcon Futura coupe would be the perfect accent to this perfect accent. Hmmm…