"We like camping better!" --Raymond Alexander Kukkee

view of the north shore Critter Pond, KOA Canandaigua NY [c] 2009 jcb

Here's my Spring project

While I was waiting for the good weather to show up, I dreamed up a warm-days project. I wanted to do something affordable, yet dramatic, to beautify our home. Whatever the reason, I settled on the idea of changing the way our boring old garage door looked--changing it by "fooling the eye." Have I ever tried anything like this before? Nope. I don't even like to paint, although as a homeowner now, I have to at least learn to tolerate it. Since a picture's value is well documented, I've included this photo so that you may judge the results for yourself.

I wish I'd thought to take a "before" picture, since that would show how dramatic the change really was. Our house was built in the early 1960's, and remains largely unchanged since then. The previous owner took extremely good care of the place, so most of what was here when we moved in last year was original. The paint and floor coverings were all fresh, but even the kitchen and bath fixtures dated back to the beginning. Anyway, of course this is the door that came with the house. It was patched and caulked, painted and repainted, and topped with a layer of grime from the constant traffic on our road. Washing this old door was actually the hardest part of the whole job. Otherwise, the new paint job was easy work, physically, but difficult mentally. I didn't have any experience with creating this sort of illusion. (There are only four real windows in the original--the ones that appear as a darker black in the photograph.)

There are a couple tricks to this illusion, nothing too fancy. First, the original door already had those nice panels in it, so I didn't have to create that look. Second, the existing windows were in the third panel from the bottom, so there was room to add-in the top row, in any configuration I wanted. I chose the arched-top design because it matched the house's main trim. The most important "trick" isn't a trick at all: the handles are real, metal handles of exactly the right kind. Everything else is paint! The reality of the two handles lends weight to everything else. The four hinges were created by masking and painting; I did add some real screws, but they're a minor detail. The crucial eye-fooling detail is the simplest of all--the vertical black line down the center of the door, which convincingly mimics the shadow-line created by two real doors. All together, we've invested in a gallon of white and a quart of black paint, a roll of masking tape, and a pair of handles. The result speaks for itself, for well under $100. Not too shabby, huh?

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