MidCentury Suburbs Part 7: Modernize your garage door!

The garage door was yet another point of elaborate decoration for the MidCentury home. It provided a broad canvas for designers to decorate; in the 1950s and 1960s, the automobile was newly risen to its place of supreme importance, and its home was something to be celebrated — as was the design innovation of the attached garage, a new luxury for most home buyers at the time.

Raynor Door, based not far from Chicago in Dixon, IL, was a major vendor of both doors and the patterns for them.

Two patterns were particularly prevalent, and can still be found by the dozens today:



Midcentury garage door

Midcentury garage door

But the designs ranged all over the place. Asymetrical patterns were common:



Another common theme involved a series of small, repeating patterns instead of one big one:



Such small patterns were often another reflection of the Old West influence on Chicago’s MidCentury suburbia, as seen in this rope-like pattern:


Midcentury garage door

Small patterns didn’t have to cover the whole door; they could form a border pattern instead:


In the age of Kennedy’s Camelot and the attendant New Formalism, you too can be a king!

With your very own caligraphy-styled monogram!

Or you can just be stunningly modern, classy, and geometrically smooth.
Midcentury garage door

Midcentury garage door

Or exuberantly modern…
Midcentury garage door

You can shout your modernity to the world!
Midcentury garage door

Midcentury garage door

Or you can quietly wait for the world to notice it.
Midcentury garage door

There is no end to the patterns. Still more may be seen at my Flickr account.

35 thoughts on “MidCentury Suburbs Part 7: Modernize your garage door!

  1. Dang, Robert, you beat me to it. I started gathering some mid mod garage photos last year but haven't gotten very far. One of these I'll get to finish up. In the meantime, great post. I enjoy all these cool designs.

  2. Great collection. A certain sense of style has been lost over the years but passionate design-centric people are bringing Mid Century Modern sensibility back. Cheers,-Baz

  3. I'm looking forward to your tri-level post (home of initialed garage doors). The awning is the other personalization point for these houses, especially the "late bungalow" style…

  4. My parents had a white-with-brown-boxes variety circa 1974 (or earlier) wooden variety in Wheaton when I was growing up, but they have since modernized to an all-white door made of some composite plastic materials.It looks… well… modern… the other was falling into disrepair (paint chipping off) occasionally got stuck, and practically woke the neighbors when it would go up or down. The new one is whisper quiet and, along with a new window and side door makes the garage a good 30-40 degrees warmer, thus making the upstairs of the split-level much warmer too!

  5. A number of the old house plan books show a distinctive door with a very large ameoba shape on it – ever seen a real one of those?

  6. Whoa! You made those garages look great with just a few modifications! Well, I agree that this is also one way to add value to your house. On a side note, I like the 2nd garage the most.

  7. Bo, I think the garage doors you are referring to have three bug-like creatures on one side, a single window with arrows pointing at them on the other side. I’ll have to post them soon.

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