The fate of garage doors – garage doors – isn’t exactly high on the list of world problems.
But for Julie Good her new garage doors are a triumph, a piece of resistance, a tour de force. They are less hyperbolic and add to the attractiveness of your home.
“I’m very saddened by the prospect of having to remove them,” said Good, 62.
When she bought the house in North Tustin a decade ago, there was a long garage with three narrow exits. Good kept beating and beating her car.
“I lost two mirrors and scratched a side panel,” said Good. Last year, after one repair bill was too many, she decided a garage remodel was long overdue.
The facelift, completed in mid-January, merged two of the garage doors into one larger entrance to make maneuvering easier.
Aside from the pragmatics, Good is enthusiastic about the aesthetics – metal doors in a southwestern style with a weathered patina look. “You are even more beautiful than I imagined.”
But this feeling is not universal. Soon after the big reveal, Good learned their homeowners association wasn’t that impressed. The board of directors retrospectively refused approval.
“Needless to say, I was shocked,” Good recalled. “It’s amazing.”
Good is a bank director who also has a masters degree in architecture. He has a head for business and an eye for beauty. She couldn’t believe replacing old generic doors with new generic doors. After all, the garage takes up almost the entire front of its split level, most of which is stacked on top of a hill.
For advice, Good turned to Ray Hare – a well-known photorealism artist whom she consulted about home decor.
“Those doors are all you see from the street,” said Hare, who lives in Anaheim. “They ride them a lot.”
Hare told Good about the distinctive metal doors he’d discovered in Palm Desert. Internet research led her to Dave Koch, an Arizona craftsman who specializes in patina metal doors.
Good flew to Tucson to meet with chefs and tour houses who were displaying his creations. In love with the natural “cloudy” appearance, she hired him for the job.
Then Good received an enigmatic message from the Charter Point Community Association. The HOA monitors 54 homes in Cowan Heights – an affluent corner of Santa Ana bordering Tustin.
“This work must be approved by the architecture committee,” says the unsigned email.
Good quickly submitted the requested forms, albeit after the fact. In response, the HOA asked them to “remove / replace / repaint or modify the garage doors…. adapt to the design of the neighborhood. “
“A solid color would be more in line with the community’s style,” another email said, referring to the various rust-brown hues of the doors.
“If you fail to comply, you will face fines and appeals,” the letter concluded.
Pointing out the rather eclectic homes around them, Good asked, “Just so I am clear, what is the definition of a design that matches the neighborhood?” There was no answer.
HOA board members have not returned calls asking for a comment on this article.
Hare argues that painting the speckled brown metal would destroy his very existence – a raw, natural look. Also, he added, the paint would soon peel off.
“Let’s get real here – there is nothing offensive about these doors,” Hare said. “It’s not like they’re painted with geometric patterns and polka dots. They’re organic and easy on the eye.”
Well said, the HOA never asked her about any other changes she’d made, such as repainting the exterior and redesigning the front yard with succulents.
“We only pay the HOA $ 125 a month,” said Good. “Its main function is to maintain the slopes.”
Former HOA board member Elinor Silverstein agreed with this assessment and described the neighborhood association as “loose”.
“To be honest, the club doesn’t pick,” said Silverstein. “Our houses don’t all look the same. We are not Irvine. “
The longtime resident insisted she didn’t speak for the board and said she had no idea why Good ran into pitfalls. “I think these doors are the coolest,” she said. “But (well) must have skipped an important step. There is a process that you are going through. “
Good said her case will likely end up in mediation so she has at least a couple of weeks to enjoy her $ 23,000 makeover before the next fight.
“I joke that I’ll cover my doors with cheap plastic tablecloths so they’ll be a solid color,” Good said.
Hare resists the controversy over something he helped fashion. “I feel like I have to defend Julie,” he said. “It’s almost a nuisance. Your doors are spectacular. What’s the big deal?
“At the end of the day,” he said, “we’re only talking about garage doors.”