The New Front Door


There was a time when the front door was the way people would enter and leave the house.  The back door was usually off the kitchen and used as easy access to the outhouse or perhaps the barn or carriage house.  Barns and such were detached from the house for a lot of good reasons.  If you did keep horses, goats, and chickens you wanted it separated from the house itself for some of the same reasons you kept the outhouse out back an separate from the house itself.

The back door was at the back of the house and the front door faced the street where your visitors were likely to come from.  With the advent of the automobile things changed.

If you had a barn on your property it became a garage to keep the weather off your car.  Not everyone, in fact many people, could not afford a car and a garage so it was outside for the car.

After WW II there was a boom in suburban living as the population was demilitarized and people thought about careers and starting families.  With these new houses came the attached garage.


Now that the garage was part of the house an interesting thing happened.  The Garage door started to become the front door.  The front door has become a remnant of a bygone era.  Even with a detached garage the back door got far more traffic, even visitor traffic than the front door.

With electric garage door openers people can open this new front door from the comfort of their vehicle as well as close it remotely. 

Its not unusual to find that just about all traffic in and out of a house today is done through the garage.  So much so that people are now starting to invest a lot more into their garage doors in terms of how they look and how they greet their house guests.  Garage doors can look incredibly sumptuous.


So what is next?  Now that the garage door has taken on a new importance is the garage far behind?  Will this mean the end to the first floor attic that many garages have become and a person will invest in the look of their garage?

I’m way ahead of you.


This entry was posted in Car Stuff, Garages, Life and Cars. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to The New Front Door

  1. Noel says:

    Yes, the garage has become an entry point to many houses, but this is partly due to the pathetic state of home design in the U.S. One of the worst things about the state of residential architecture (if it can be called that) is making the garage the dominating aspect of a house. Sure you can dress it up with fancy doors but it still, in my opinion, is about as attractive as having an outhouse or pile of construction debris in the front yard. There’s nothing wrong with an attractive set of garage doors; it’s making them the dominating architectural feature of the house that I don’t like.

    Some of this is due to developers shoehorning houses onto lots that are far too small for the house, so the garage must be front and center. In other cases it is simply weak, unimaginative design. Either way, it is fugly, especially when the garage is thrust forward toward the curb so there appears to be more garage than house. And in fact, given that a 2-bay garage is roughly 22 x 24 feet, it may well be the largest “room” in many houses.

    In my opinion, garages should be set sideways to the street or set back so they are effectively behind the house, even if they face the road. This often requires more land, but then I don’t think anyone should have to live on much less than an acre unless they prefer an apartment or condo.

    My garage? Behind and under the house at the end of 135 feet of driveway.

  2. Tim Supples says:

    Interesting back-story and thoughts Jim. That pic before yours is amazing, people truly do design their houses around the garage door.

    Everybody has a different habit when it comes to the usual things in a house: what room you congregate in most (which may or may not have a TV in it), where you eat (dining vs kitchen rooms), and what door you enter through. I always found it odd when people entered through the garage primarily. Nothing wrong with it, just stuck out to me.

    Accordingly I’ve never thought of having the type of residence where most people would enter through the garage. However re-examining that in reference to this post, I must say there would be one-exception: once that garage is filled with some super sweet cars 😀 I don’t need a fancy garage door, the cars will say it all…

  3. Judy says:

    My garage door is a promenant feature on my modern designed house (i’ve never thought of it as unimaginative or ugly) and when the door is open, most of my friends do enter this way. Coincidently the center door pictured above the picture of the interior of your garage is the exact door that I am having built to replace my current door…guess I won’t expect Noel to visit anytime soon.

  4. Jim says:

    Dan –

    That is amazing! I think I will have to post the link you provided in a blog entry. Thank you.


  5. Howard says:

    Jim, Does this mean you are going to replace your door? I can design one for you that will enhance the beauty of your home. Sounds like Noel has some issues.

  6. jimsgarage says:

    Howard –

    Noel is a good guy – he just has opinions, like all of us. And he lives in New Hampshire 😉

  7. Dan Paquette says:


    Feel free. I just came across that link today. You always hear stories like this. A person buys a house or old farm from an old widow and in the garage or barn is an old corvette or something else worth a fortune to someone.

    As I am also an aviation buff, one of the better ones I remember was about an old widow or remaining family selling a farm in the 80’s or early 90’s. The buyer discovered a WWII era P-51D Mustang parked in the garage intact and in remarkably good condition. If you look up the sales price of one today, you can imagine what a find that was.

    My garage is strictly my workshop. No cars allowed unless I need shelter while working on one. Woodworking tools are fast taking up any and all remaining real estate in the deep two stall I have. I recently replaced the old generic and sagging wooden door with a double sided steel insulated door. Nothing fancy for our simple and modest house. Next house is going to either be a big three stall or have a separate out building just for the purpose creating thing with my hands. I’m starting to like the rear entry style garages, so I think fancy doors are not in my future.

  8. Noel says:

    Thank you, Jim, for allowing my opinions. 😉

    And for what it’s worth, as I noted, I don’t have a problem with attractive garage doors. In fact, I’m putting one on the place we’re building in Maine because it works with the siting of the house and slope of the land. My problem is when they are made a dominant architectural feature of a home.

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