1970 home renovation | painting the “garage side” of the house

by | Oct 30, 2023 | 1970 home renovation, Exterior, My House | 36 comments

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We had three warm, sunny days in a row towards the end of last week, so I put painting the garage side of the house on the calendar.  We were running out of paint-friendly days outside and I wanted to take advantage of them so the two most visible sides of the house were painted and checked off the to-do list.  We’ll then be ready to do landscaping in the spring.  The front is painted, has new windows and replacement shutters on the garage and it’s looking great.  We just need to replace the panels below the windows on the right side of the house, but that’s a one-day project we can squeeze in on a nice day.

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

Now we’re moving to the garage side of the house, which functions as the front of our house since it’s where we park.  As a reminder, here’s how it looked when we moved in…

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

I started on Thursday with priming the garage and cellar doors.  I thought the garage door would be a pretty quick project, but it took me most of the day.

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

To get it ready to paint, I sprayed it with and then hosed it down once it was dry, I taped off the rubber weather stripping to protect it from the paint.  Removing it is also an option, but I decided to tape it off and work around it.

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

With the door cleaned and taped off, I started priming with tinted primer.  I am a huge fan of using tinted primer anytime I’m painting with a color other than white.  It reduces the number of coats of paint needed, which almost always saves money and time.  It also gives you a better result.  Good prep work is annoying, but it is definitely worth it.  I used PrepRite ProBlock Primer by Sherwin Williams tinted to Card Room Green.

This is the first garage door I’ve painted so there was a bit of a learning curve.  My idea was to paint each panel as it was angled at the top and lower the door after each panel was painted.  I realized that it was just too tight, so I decided to just lower the door entirely and prime it while closed.  Since our door is metal with a wood-grain texture, I used a 3/8″ nap roller and a brush to apply the primer.

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

That did okay, but I wanted to get into the angled corners at the top, between the joints, and along the sides a bit better.

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

So, after playing with the garage door like a kid who just discovered the button, I discovered the edges of each panel were more accessible as they were just turning vertical on the track.  So, I cut in on the bottom panel, then lowered it a bit more, cut in some more, painted in between the joints of the bottom panel and the next panel, and then let it dry for about 30 minutes so wet primer didn’t stick in the closed joints or to the weather stripping.  While the primer on the front side of the door was drying, I went inside the garage and painted what I could reach along the top and edges of the door.  Since our ceilings in the garage are only 8′, there is only a few inches between the garage door and the ceiling, so it was a tight fit, but I was able to reach some of the spots I couldn’t reach when the door was closed.


1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

It was tedious and awkward, but I was able to get the door primed and it looked great.  Priming the cellar doors after the garage door was a treat!  I had washed them earlier in the day and scaped off the peeling paint.  As a side note, we had the entire house tested for lead before we purchased it, so I didn’t have to worry about disturbing chipping lead paint.

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

I was planning on priming and painting the doors all in one day, but I ended up applying the paint the next day since the priming took so long.  I used to plow through projects even when I was tired and it was getting late, but I’ve learned to pace myself better, allow time for rest, and keep projects more manageable.  So, the next day I started painting.  Since I did such a thorough job priming and I learned some tricks along the way, I was able to apply the paint much quicker.  And, because I used the tinted primer and made sure I got good coverage, only one coat of paint was required.

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

I used Farrow & Ball’s exterior paint in Card Room Green for the garage door and cellar doors.  This is also what I’ve used on the exterior doors and shutters.  I selected it because I felt like it worked nicely with the pinkish-red undertones of the brick.  It’s also just a lovely, classic green-gray.

With the cellar and garage doors done, Jeff and I worked together on the trim.  Jeff had scraped the chipping paint off on the previous day so we’d be ready to prime.  Jeff had been the “ladder man” to paint the gables on the front side of the house, but the vents were lower and smaller, and he was painting over grass.  Painting this vent was a bit more precarious given that there were more hard surfaces he could fall into and the position of the ladder in relation to the vent made for awkward painting.  After a few minutes on the ladder, Jeff got his feet safely on the ground and we put together a new plan.

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

After a bit of brainstorming and trial and error, we put a 6″ roller with a 3/8″ nap on an extension pole and were able to reach the gable vent and trim from the 8′ ladder.  I would stand on the ladder and apply the paint and Jeff held the ladder steady and reloaded the roller.  It worked much better and was definitely the safer option.  We have two more gables to paint on the house, so now we know the best way to do it.

And here is how it looks with the trim and doors freshly painted!

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

There is still more to do, but we’re making progress!

1970 home renovation | miss mustard seed

We’re getting a quote on having the sunken section of sidewalk replaced and we’ll replace the handrail with something that is a bit more substantial.  I’m also looking forward to doing more planting and work on the landscaping in the spring.

Our long-term plan is to add a portico over the side door and increase the size of the stoop.  Since this is the main door we use, it would be nice to have it covered.  It would also detract attention from some of the utilitarian components, like the cellar doors, electric meter, dryer vent, etc.

This is sort of what I’m thinking…

Photo via Choice Home Remodeling

Or perhaps an enclosed portico, which would be charming…

photo via Gemmi Construction

The one above is definitely too grand, but that’s the general idea.  A covered portico is probably more realistic, but it’s fun to dream!

We’ll do some cleaning up in the garden over the winter and plan to work on our backyard fence when the weather is nice, but we’re going to turn our attention mostly back towards the interior.  Up next are Calvin’s room, the boys’ bathroom, and the family room and I’m pushing to get it all done before it’s time to decorate for Christmas!

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    1. Betsy

      It looks great! We had the same situation on the side of our house. It’s the door everyone uses. We had a covered portico but we ended up going with a more clean lined covered portico and we love it. It has a place for rain boots and wet coats. It’s not big but it’s mighty.

      • Betsy

        Sorry, I meant to say we had an open portico but replaced it with an enclosed portico

    2. Cheryl

      Card Room Green is so perfect for your brick. At first I wondered about the brick but with the trim colors you chose it has taken the project a whole new level. Congrats! Your eye for color is always spot on but I wasn’t sure about the brick color and maybe had I seen it in person I would have had a different feel.. I live in the Dallas area where most every neighborhood is full of brick homes and not every brick is my cup of tea. Homeowners around the area have started painting their brick, much to my husband’s dismay, and it has been a stunning redo for these houses. I love my brick but a new buyer might feel different. I think what you have done to your place has added so much charm and freshness and I bet your neighbors are excited about it too, thanks again for sharing. Love it!

    3. Catherine

      The exterior is looking great and the pop of green is just enough to make a beautiful transformation. I’m so glad you didn’t paint the bricks, “yet”, and really hope you don’t choose to. So many people are painting their brick houses white and a few years from now that fad will be over but you’ll be stuck with paint on them and they’ll never have their original charm. I know it’s their own choice, just hope they think it through rather than making a rash decision. Also, you must live on a big corner lot, trying to get a lay of the land from garage and sidewalks and relation to front of house. Very nice.

      • Kim P.

        Looks great ! You amaze me with how much you get done.

      • Marian Parsons

        I don’t think painting brick is a trend, but it is definitely trending at the moment. I like painted brick, but this brick is pretty and I don’t feel the need to paint it. It’s a ton of work, more money, and we have other things that need our attention. It’s a unique brick and painting it might take away from some of the original charm of the home. If it was an ugly brick or I just hated it, then I would have no hesitation painting it!

        And yes, we have a large corner lot. Our neighbors call it “the peninsula” since it sort of sticks out where three streets meet in a Y. That means that the house is very visible from multiple sides. It also means we have a large front yard and a small backyard since the house faces out at an angle.

    4. Wendy Y

      Love your ideas for that side door area!! Right now it just seems like a hole in the wall 😆. All your brick areas look so much nicer now with the green paint where you have been adding it ❤️. What a wonderful transformation of this old house 😁

    5. Teresa Turner

      Lots of work, garage doors are tricky! Wonder if the front of your house sidewalk leads to where people can park and use your front door. Always bothered me that everyone would come in thru our side door in garage rather then using my front door.

      • Marian Parsons

        We do have a nice curved sidewalk that leads to the front door from the front of our lot, but most people come to the side. We get some packages delivered to the front, though.

    6. TAG

      We replaced our sinking concrete landing with a much wider and deeper brick landing and we love it. I do not have or need a handrail. Instead of investing in a temporary solution can you build your brick landing now and add the portico in the future? I would try to also get an estimate for a two step renovation.

      • Marian Parsons

        Yep, that is a good thought.

    7. Vicki E

      Looks great! I also love the look of the closed-in portico but that would definitely be costly! Your choice of Card Room Green looks amazing with the color of your brick.

      • Marian Parsons

        I know! It would be a lot just for the windows and door. It would be so charming, though. We’ll likely do with just an open portico to keep the cost down, though. While I’m in favor of splurging, I want to do that where it’ll be a good investment and will make a big impact.

        • Mona E.

          Two words: salvaged divided light windows.

        • Mona E.

          Oops! That ended up being “4” words! I added “divided light” but failed in the “edit” department. That’s what happens when you’re multi-tasking – tablet & TV! Seriously though, there must be some great architectural salvage places nearby.

    8. Babs

      Looks so fresh and clean. Love your ideas for the new and so very useful portico.
      By the way, I made your chicken patties last week and they were a big hit. Really yummy and I was able to freeze half the batch for future meals. Thank you for the recipe!

      • Marian Parsons

        So glad to hear!

    9. Deb

      I love your portico idea. About that sunken section of concrete, have you looked into mud jacking to raise it? We had it done to our front walkway many years ago and were pleased with the results. It might be a less costly solution than replacing the concrete.

      • Marian Parsons

        Our home inspector mentioned jacking it and that is a possibility. It might need to be slanted specifically to safely meet the other sidewalk pieces, though, so it might be better to just redo that section.

    10. sandi m

      That green – everything looks great! The portico would definitely be a nice addition. I wonder why the original builder never added a sidewalk or brick path from the garage side around to the front door.
      A suggestion – I didn’t like the telephone box, electric meter with pipe that extends up to the roof line and down into the basement, and the dryer vent on the brick in the backyard. Easy fix was a quart of paint matching the brick color. What a difference it made and still looks good after 30 years.

      • Marian Parsons

        Yes, our electrical box was painting in a pinkish-beige, but it has chipped away. I’m going to pick a new color and give it a fresh coat of paint to blend in a bit better as well. I’ll paint the dryer vent while I’m at it.

      • Marian Parsons

        Oh, and as far as a path, there isn’t a route that would make much sense. The garage sort of forms a “wing” of our u-shaped house and the front door is set back behind it. The sidewalk would be long and would wind around the entire garage. Even if one was there, I don’t think anyone would use it.

    11. Felicia Adams

      I love the idea of an enclosed portico for the door that you use daily. It will also allow you a drop zone for the boys. One suggestion would be that since this is the open gable side of your house, you may want to consider a portico with a shed roof or flat roof. Gable on gable is less aesthetically pleasing. I’m impressed with your painting. Love the green on the garage door.

      • Miss Mustard Seed

        Yes, that’s what I think, too, but I couldn’t find a portico inspiration photo with a roof like that in an aesthetic I liked. I agree that too gables would look a little odd.

    12. Eileen

      A covered portico is just perfect. It seems as if everyone is playing “beat the clock” with the weather. Me, too.

    13. Laura

      Fresh paint makes such a difference! Your brick is lovely. I’m glad you didn’t paint it. I like the card room green with your brick. My only suggestion would be to paint the cellar doors a shade of beige that blends in with the brick so they don’t pop out at you.

    14. PC

      Love the green and the brick. I actually have better weather here in FL where you are not roasting outside to work. I agree with not painting brick unless it is just hideous. I am working a lot and trying to fix 3 rooms before TG.

    15. Kim

      Wow, it’s hard to believe it’s already been a YEAR since you moved in. You get to enjoy those lovely fall leaves of the neighborhood already for the second time! Good progress on the painting and getting it done while the weather was favorable. We woke up to 3″ of snow here today!

    16. Addie

      Lifelong California girl here and I don’t get those cellar doors……can someone just open them and get into your cellar? Then into your home? I know a lot of people make entertainment rooms out of the cellar so that would be a lot of expensive equipment down there for thieves???? It doesn’t appear to have any locks on those doors. And why would you need doors coming from the outside of the cellar?….curious.
      Card room green is such a soothing color and is perfect with your bricks. I have to agree with Laura above, about painting the cellar doors a beige/brick color.

      • Miss Mustard Seed

        You see them on older homes in the north east and, I’m guessing, they were the precursor to dugout basement doors. They do lock from the inside, though, and we also have an interior door that locks.

    17. Patrice King

      Marian … you are certainly industrious and the consummate DIYer

      Your strategy on the garage door was ingenious…. and I have followed you since your first house …and milk painted furniture

      So your skill with a sprayer …. Why did you choose not to use your sprayer on the garage door ….??

      I’m curious because I don’t enjoy painting like you do and I have learned so much from you over the years.
      Painting like cooking is 90% preparation.

      • Marian Parsons

        The problem with a sprayer is controlling the overspray. I would have to tape off and tarp the surrounding areas and even have to be away of how the wind to carry it where it might land on cars, other homes, other parts of the house, etc. Spraying is much better when it can be done in a controlled environment like a spray booth or tent.

    18. CathyR

      Getting Calvin’s room/bathroom done before December seems pretty ambitious ! I wish I had your energy and drive

      • Marian Parsons

        I think I can do it, but we’ll see!

    19. IreneL

      Yes to a portico, closed or not, as you will need shelter from the elements and its presence will give the facade some visual depth. I agree w another commenter though and say don’t spend new money on a new railing and instead begin the portico project, even if it carries over until a future year. I also agree w you that white brick is not a trend; however, as you said, it is “trending” at the moment. I live in GA and many beautiful old brick homes have been tastefully lime washed or painted over time and this is not a new idea at all.

    20. Carolyn Dietrich

      I love the green you chose. Perfect with the brick. The outside of the house looks lovely.


    Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

    I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

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