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.

  1. Chris says:

    Curious. The one with the reed glass what does it say on the handle. Any idea who makes it. Love it would love to get the hardware at least and attach to a custom tempered glass

  2. Gary says:

    Ck out the vintage etched glass bathtub shower doors on eBay now . They are etched with swans 1950s I think. They are beautiful . Week of Jan 22-27

    1. LD says:

      I looked for these Gary but couldn’t find them even doing a search on sold items. If you could send a link that’d be great. I want to sell my 50s swan glass shower doors. I’m new to this site so I’ll see if I can figure out how to do it here. I’m in MA.

  3. Richard Price says:

    The white accordion style shower door, the one on your website says “the one that Mary Deluxe spotted in a time capsule house”. I am looking for the plastic push/pull latch that is on both sides of the shower accessible from inside the shower. Any help would be appreciated.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Hi Richard, I don’t know where to point you to this. We have a separate story on accordian-style doors – use the Search box to find it, there might be a company there that can help you. Good luck.

  4. Terri Roberts says:

    We bought a home with a 70’s three glass panel shower that has etched glass lines with what looks like gold painted lines also on all three panels. I would like to remove the gold lines any ideas? Cannot scrap them off tried that.

    1. Pam Kueber says:

      Terri, I don’t know the answer to this — I suggest you find a painting professional — or perhaps a shower door company can help you. In either/any case, be aware that there can be safety issues with projects like this. See our Be Safe/Renovate Safe page for more info https://retrorenovation.com/renovate-safe/

  5. 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?

    1. 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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