Nov. 17 2010 12:00 AM

1326 N. Chestnut St., Lansing


Property: 1326 N. Chestnut St., Lansing

Owner: Exodus One LLC

Owner address: 4604 N. Saginaw Road, Midland

Assessed value: $29,200

Owner says: Could not be reached for comment

eyesore sits unkempt among manicured yards and well-maintained homes in
north Lansing. The yellow siding, which still has some good years left
in it, has a thin layer of dirt throughout. A mangled gutter adorns the
front porch, while the inside of the house is barren.

to the house is a garage that contains a shopping cart and a red Ford
Probe with no wheels, windows or a hood. The garage doors are perhaps
the most noticeable piece of the property with broken panels, offering
easy access for critters.

A neighbor from across the street says the house has been vacant for about a year.

— Andy Balaskovitz

Architecture critic Amanda Harrell-Seyburn says: Neglected garage doors diminish the overall attractiveness of this early 20th century house. Everyone thinks garage doors are no big deal. All too often, people choose doors that are fairly commonplace. The fact is that garage doors (especially for two-car garages) cover an immense amount of the facade and deserve attention. Stylish garage doors enhance both the beauty and value of a home. If you take a walk around your neighborhood, it’s likely that the houses you like best will have the most attractive garage doors.

Think options for garage doors are as limited today as they were ten years ago? Think again. Today’s garage doors are a far cry from the nondescript retractable metal/vinyl automated garage doors of the 1990s. Savvy and attractive, garage doors come in a whole host of colors, style and materials.

If you’re in the market for a new garage door, do your homework. A garage door is as important as any other feature of your home. Take the time to carefully research the style and material that most compliments your home.

First Step: Walk around your neighborhood. Take care to notice what you like and don’t like about the styles of garage doors you observe. If there’s little variety in your neighborhood, visit other neighborhoods with houses of similar style and period of your own.

Second Step: Consider which doors you find most attractive. What materials are they made of? Are they original to the house or have they been replaced? Do the garage doors suit the architectural style of the house? Take photographs of those you like the most and use them to envision what your home would look like with them.

Third Step: Think about windows. Garage doors, especially attached two-car garage doors, cover between 30 percent and 60 percent of a house’s facade. Windows add more character to your garage door. And the garage, as an extension of your house, helps integrate it into the overall facade. Windows add natural light to the interior and give the garage doors a sparkle that all too many windowless ones lack.

Fourth Step: Nearly all garage door styles can be found in steel, fiberglass or wood. Determine which material best suits your lifestyle and the architectural style of your home. Steel is very durable and is low maintenance. Fiberglass is more durable than steel, especially in regions with harsh climates. Wood is the most attractive — for its authentic quality and aesthetic — but requires the most maintenance.

Last Step: Garage doors are an important investment and one of the most affordable ways to add instant curb appeal to your home. Take the task of choosing a garage door very seriously, for what you choose will have a huge impact on the overall aesthetic and value of your home. With the affordable styles available today, there is no excuse to choose a Plain-Jane door.

In addition to aesthetics, other factors to consider include colors, size, hardware, insulation, safety and installation. Visit your local garage door showroom to consult an expert.