#childsafety | ‘Repaint that $23K garage door!’ – Orange County Register | #parenting | #parenting | #kids

The fate of garage doors – any garage doors  – does not exactly rate high on the list of world problems.

But for Julie Good, her new garage doors are a triumph, a piece de resistance, a tour de force. Less hyperbolic, they improve her house’s curb appeal.

“I’m very sad at the prospect of having to remove them,” Good, 62, said.

When she bought the North Tustin house a decade ago, it featured a long garage with three narrow egresses. Good kept banging up her car getting in and out.

“I lost two mirrors and scraped a side panel,” Good said. Last year, after one repair bill too many, she decided a garage remodel was well past due.

Completed in mid-January, the face lift merged two of the garage doors into one larger entrance for easier maneuvering.

Aside from the pragmatics, Good is thrilled with the aesthetics – Southwestern-style metal doors bearing a weathered, patina look. “They’re even more gorgeous than I had imagined.”

But that feeling isn’t universal. Soon after the grand unveiling, Good learned that her homeowners association is not so impressed. Retroactively, the board denied approval.

“Needless to say, I was shocked,” Good recalled. “It’s mind-boggling.”

A bank executive, who also holds a masters degree in architecture, Good has a head for business and an eye for beauty. She could not fathom replacing old generic doors with new generic doors. After all, the garage consumes almost the entire front of her split-level, most of which is stacked behind on a hillside.

For advice, Good turned to Ray Hare – a prominent photo-realism artist who consults her about home decor.

“Those doors are all you see from the street,” said Hare, who lives in Anaheim. “There’s a lot riding on them.”

Hare told Good about the striking metal doors he’d spotted in Palm Desert. Internet research led her to Dave Koch, an Arizona artisan who specializes in patina metal doors.

Good flew to Tucson to meet with Koch and tour houses exhibiting his creations. Enamored with the natural “tarnished” look, she hired him for the job.

Then Good received a puzzling a notice from Charter Point Community Association. The HOA oversees 54 houses in Cowan Heights – an affluent nook of Santa Ana that borders Tustin.

“This work needs to be approved by the architectural committee,” the unsigned email read.

Good quickly submitted the requested forms, albeit after-the-fact. In response, the HOA asked her to “remove/replace/repaint or modify the garage doors …. to conform to the design of the neighborhood.”

“A solid color would be more in keeping with the style of the community,” another email stated, referring to the doors’ various rusty brown hues.

“If you don’t comply you will be subject to fines and legal remedies,” the missive concluded.

Pointing out the rather eclectic array of houses surrounding her, Good inquired, “Just so I’m clear, what is the definition of a design conforming to the neighborhood?” No answer arrived.

Members of the HOA board did not return calls requesting comment for this article.

Hare argues that painting the mottled brown metal would destroy its reason to exist – a raw, natural appearance. Besides, he added, the paint soon would peel off.

“Let’s get real here – there is nothing offensive about these doors,” Hare said.”It’s not like they’re painted in geometrical patterns and polka dots.They are organic and pleasing to the eye.”

Good said the HOA has never questioned her about other changes she has made, such as repainting the exterior and re-landscaping the front yard with succulents.

“We only pay the HOA  $125 a month,” Good said. “Its main function is to maintain the hillsides.”

Former HOA board member Elinor Silverstein agreed with that assessment, describing the neighborhood association as “easygoing.”

“Honestly, the association doesn’t nitpick,” Silverstein said. “Our houses don’t all look alike. We’re not Irvine.”

Emphasizing that she does not speak for the board, the longtime resident said she has no idea why Good encountered pitfalls. “I think those doors are the coolest,” she said. “But (Good) must have skipped an important step. There’s a process you go through.”

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