10 vintage shower doors help answer, What kind of shower door for my retro bathroom?

shower door with a naked woman etchingKris recently asked, “We may need to install a tub/shower door due to the fabulous water pressure in the shower. is it possible to find a shower door that will complement the style and not look like an 80’s redo?” My thoughts:

First of all, you could find something vintage, preferably a door that included an etching of a naked woman, as above. I can’t remember where I got the photo, oopsy.

Note, though: Old shower doors may not be tempered glass, which means if you crash through them you could really seriously hurt yourself *another concern for owners of vintage home to be aware of.* Consult with your own properly licensed professional to assess what you have so that you can make informed decisions.

Some examples of vintage shower doors:

shower door with deerAbove: A shower door with deer etched into it, like Amy’s 1953 Portland time capsule house.

shower door with fishes…Fishes swimming in the sea, as in Shelly’s gray bathroom.

shower doors with herons or cranes

…Herons or cranes or egrets or whatever they are, as weed30 spotted in a time capsule house and posted on the Forum.

And ooh la la, this is a fine specimen — spotted over on Retro Ruth’s blog, NoPatternRequired. But warning: Don’t go look if you get upset by the house-flippers of old. This shower door got gutted for, big gulp now, large slabs of beige travertine or travertine knock-off yadda yadda yadda.

accordian folding shower doorOr a vintage accordian-style shower door, like the one that Mary Deluxe spotted in a time capsule house…

vintage folding shower doorCarrie has one of these folding shower doors, too.

Here’s another style of vintage shower door — notable for the chrome or steel or whatever metal that is triple-bar-thingie at the top. This is Randy’s Mermador shower door, and I think it must have been very high-end:

vintage shower doorHere’s another lovely prewar (most likely) shower door that a reader spotted at Seattle’s Second Use. You know that post yesterday about the Streamline Moderne time capsule house? This is the kind of shower door you’d find in that sort of interior. This heavy, shiny metal framing is a moderne legacy.

Yet, the look continued on for a while. I captured this photo at an estate sale in Pittsfield — for a 1964 blue bathroom decked out with all kinds of Hall-Mack and Nutone accessories. It was a beauty!

I even go nuts for little things like the handles. And oh, the fluted (I think you call it… or reeded) glass.

Beyond naked vintage, For shower doors, I tend to recommend a simple, metal framed door with simple wavy ripple glass. You can get a peek at what I’m talkin’ about in this video about my blue bathroom renovation.

finishes for a shower door frameMetal, as in: Satin finish nickel in the above photo is from Basco. Ix-nay on the antique pewter, bronze, burnished copper, wrought iron, oil rubbed bronze etc. etc. that more rightly belong in contemporary homes.

glass choices for a shower doorSimilarly, I went with the very simple “obscure” glass for the two showers in the bathrooms that I renovated. One of the good things about mid century bathrooms is that if you go with “period”, these simple finishes also tend to be the least expensive. Let other elements of your bathroom decor do the talking. Unless you can get naked ladies, of course.

Where to get a shower door? I went to my local glass and shower door shop — local guy, he could show me all the samples, he came to measure, and then installed. At the same time, I also had him install one of my mirrors. He was great.

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. linda bruneau says

    i have a vintage set of flamingo doors i purchased…my husband has discouraged me from installing them, because the old tracks are harder to clean out than the new. does anyone know if you can convert to the new tracks, but use the old doors?

    • Debbie says

      Please let me know if you are interested in selling the flamingo doors. My house had these exact doors, but they were thrown out by the original owner before I closed on the house. I was heart broken.

      Thanks, Debbie

  2. Josh says

    Hi!
    While my shower stall door is fine…..i’m having issues finding a period handle! Or any shower door handle, for that matter. I am looking for one similar to the one that is pictured above. I recently stayed at a crummy motel and the shower door had the perfect handle that I was tempted to take, because it was the perfect retro sideways “V” shape. Any ideas where I could find one, new or used? Thanks for the lovely site!

  3. mark says

    recently closed on an old home with two vintage shower doors without tempered glass. frames are great and I hate to lose them even though I plan to rent the place. I’m considering having custom tempered glass made to fit the frames. any thoughts?

  4. Terri Smith says

    If anyone has a set of Tub master bath shower doors to sell. I would like them?

    I have a track and need replacement doors and can’t find anything to fit these tracks.

    Thanks for any help!
    Terri
    Scranton, PA

  5. Terri says

    I need a folding accordion style door to fit my tub/shower. Hardware still there just the door as this one fell apart. Clear or white only….

    Thanks
    Terri in PA

  6. Lydia says

    Where can you find door like the cranes? I have a white tiled 1967 home and would love something like those, my is just the double no itching.

  7. Ruthie says

    What is the proper term for the fully enclosed tile showers? I am sure “cave showers” as my Mother in law refers to them as isn’t correct.

  8. MC Hirsch says

    You may want to re-think using old shower doors. My aunt fell through the non-tempered glass “beautiful” doors, and nearly bled to death. Luckily (?) got away with just the loss of use of both arms due to ligaments being severed. Happy decorating. Tempered glass became required in 1977. Even that can cut you when it shatters, but nowhere near as badly.

  9. Stephenie Ramirez says

    I have a shower door with a naked lady. She appears to be standing on the ocean foor with coral, etc. I love it but really would like to have the aluminum frame redone. It was originally from about 1949 from the Downey Shower Door Company. Anyone know of a company that can redo or refurbish the frame?

    • Derrick Vogel says

      Stephanie I really wish I could help you! I’m trying to do the very same thing with MY vintage 1949 etched-glass shower/tub doors! I’m not giving up hope and will let you know if my continuing research results in any real progress. The doors are too beautiful not to redo or refurbish the frame, I agree! Let me ask you: how were you able to determine your doors were manufactured by the Downey Shower Door Company? I’m hoping to be able to pinpoint the name of the company that made mine (same year as yours). Even though I realize they don’t exist anymore, it could certainly help uncover what other options, if any, may be available to us. Did you locate a marking or identification label somewhere?

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