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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. 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/

  2. 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.

  3. 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. 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

  5. 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.

  6. 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

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