Friday, November 19, 2010

My $65 Carriage Garage Doors!

I have always loved argyle!  Back in the 1980s when my favorite read was "The Official Preppy Handbook", my Dad and I designed and made this garage door design out of trim and paint.  It was SO cool.  Fast forward a few decades and it was time to go!  I always wanted the fancy carriage doors but could never afford them.  So, on a whim, I decided to try to re-create them.  Daunting?  A little but after several days of sanding, priming, mitre sawing, painting, etc..... here is my result!  I love them!  Total cost (other than my blood, sweat and tears) $65! 

It took a long time because I also was repainting the house and went through 12 sample colors to finally get it right!  From the street, you can hardly tell the "windows" are actually Rustoleum gloss black paint. 

It was bittersweet removing the trim and design from the old door.  Underneath, I found a few pencil markings of measurements from when my Dad and I designed it.  It was a little emotional to sand and prime over those.   Once that was done, this was all that was left of the original door!

Because I wanted a raised appearance to look a little more authentic, I used 4' x 8' sheets of birch underlayment and cut them for the design.  I sanded them and painted them all white.  I adhered them with liquid nails and a brad nailer.  The difficult part was doing each of the four panel individually so when the door opens and closes, the continuity is maintained.  Here is the door before the addition of the hinges and handles.  The hinges were on sale for $3.88 a pair and the handles were from Hobby Lobby for under $1 each.  They were a rust color so I simply spray painted them.     


  1. I took one look at the pictures of your house and thought, that house has got to be from a Chicago suburb. I am originally from Palos Hills and it looks just like I remember the houses to be in the new subdivisions near my home. Stone arches and brick scallop things on the corners were a big thing in the mid to late 70's homes in that area. Thanks for the little "blast from the past" for me.

    Great door re-do too!

  2. Wow, I am totally blown away with your door. I have wanted to do this to my metal door but couldn't quite figure out how to do it.

    I was thinking about some sort of thin plastic material as mine faces south and gets the all day sun... not to mention our nasty Canadian winters. I am not sure how the wood would stand up to that.

    If I could ask, how did you compensate for expansion in the wood when the door closes?

    You make me excited to tackle this now. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    Love your blog and love all the projects you have done so far. You rock.

    Keep up the great work.

    Hugs, Deb

  3. Hi Deb - Thank you for your compliments! I was worried about the wood here with our crazy snow and cold but it has been been awesome. I used two coats of Sears Weatherbeater 30 year paint on it so it is actually sealed from the elements. I did each panel separately so when the door closes it look like one piece. But all the wood pieces are all divided into the four sections. You can always just paint the effect on your metal door too and forego the wood. Try it - you will be thrilled!

  4. Your garage doors look great and you went through a lot of work to get them there. Awesome. Thanks for visiting my blog. You have some great ideas on yours.

  5. I love your garage doors! How did you do the windows?

  6. Hello Sunshine - the windows were SO easy. I painted the entire garage door white and then I made an arched pattern out of newspaper. I then traced it onto the door, taped it off and painted it with Rustoleum black gloss paint. For the grids, you can do it two ways - you can tape it off before you paint or I used the screen door molding which is flat and white and very inexpensive. I painted it wide and cut it to resemble molding. Good luck!

  7. I love it! Where did you find the hinges? Also, I'm surprised Hobby Lobby has handles...what section would they be in?

    1. Hello Robyn. The hinges were at Fox Lumber here in Chicago but Lowes has them for like $7 a pair. For the handles at Hobby Lobby - they are rust in the store (I sprayed them black) and are where all of the rust items are. Also check where the cabinet handles/pulls are. Thanks!

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  9. Hi Tracy,
    I work with, and we'd love to feature your great garage door makeover in an upcoming slideshow. Would you be interested? Email me at for the details!
    Libby Walker

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