When, a few years ago, we kept coming across garage doors inside hotels during our travels--and, locally, inside restaurants, we got to dreaming about installing a garage door in an unconventional way—in a residential interior space.
We were very excited to have a client who shared our enthusiasm for the idea, and have since found many, many more clients in Nashville who specify a roll-up, glass-paned garage door be used in their home, serving as a bridge between the indoors and out. In fact, using garage doors in this way has become one of Bynum Design’s trademarks. We most often install them to open from living spaces onto patios, decks, or pools. As for the pros and cons of an interior garage door, we sometimes find they are one and the same; that's why, when determining whether or not a garage door is a good fit for you, it’s worthwhile to consider how it fits with your taste, your lifestyle, and your priorities. Here are some of our thoughts on interior garage doors, with the pros and cons all mixed in together:
You’ll let gobs of light in. Hello, beautiful sunlight every single day. Even when your garage door is closed, you can enjoy all the light that it allows to pour in. And a garage door can prove to be the perfect vantage point from which to watch a sunrise, sunset, thunderstorm, or snow shower.
Window coverings are a challenge. When it comes to window coverings, you're certain to run into all kinds of problems accommodating a garage door. You can’t hang draperies in front of them; instead you have to rig something else—a roller shade could work. Nevertheless, protecting privacy can prove to be challenging.
The power button isn’t pretty. Most of these garage doors come with a gigantic power button and some other bulky metal mechanisms that can’t really be prettied-up. Homeowners have to live with—and preferably dig—the industrial vibe this contributes to. Many of our spaces are a cross between industrial and farmhouse and modern, so it works fine. A wooden garage door would probably be better suited for a traditional home.
Your utility bill may not be pretty either. Obviously, having a garage door open to the outside doesn’t exactly promote energy efficiency. So if you’re going to roll your door up when you have company over, you pretty much have to make up your mind to just enjoy the juxtaposition between hot outside and cool inside; I like to think it’s kind of like being at the ocean, when you get both hot and cold currents. You may choose to install blower fans to keep hot air out of the home—I’ve seen that done at restaurants—but they’re loud. We recommend installing insulated doors to eliminate drafts during colder months when your door is kept shut.
You can temporarily "take a wall down." There’s no other way I’ve found to visually—and literally—open up a space so quickly and so dramatically.
Safety may be a concern with children. For homeowners with children, we’ve had some concern about how safe these doors may be. They come with backstops, but that doesn’t always assuage the worry satisfactorily. One of our clients ultimately decided to remove the garage door from her home and install French doors instead so she wouldn’t have to worry about her young son being near it.
Expense and construction concerns: Creating a nontraditional opening can mean added expense, especially in an existing home. Writing this into the plans for a new home, right from the get-go, may mitigate this. We’ve also run into some engineering/constructional concerns, as extra space is required for clearance where the door needs to align with the ceiling when opened. In other words, expect that your request for an interior garage door may present your contractor with some problems that may require creative thinking to solve.
Add value to your home: A garage door is such a chic and desirable feature inside modern homes that adding one to your house is almost certain to boost your home’s value and increase its curb appeal.
Do you see any other pros or cons inherent to this trend? Tell us in the comments.
Dee Bynum has his finger on the pulse. Whether it’s following trends, scouting emerging neighborhoods and infill opportunities, or overseeing the development of a design, Dee’s dedication to—or obsession with—his projects is renowned.