Gabe and Amanda rescue and restore a beautiful vintage screen door

midcentury-screen-doorWe’ve all done it — admired something in a neighbor’s home and secretly wished they would sell it to us. Gutsy Gabe and Amanda, owners of a 1954 North Carolina time capsule house , had their eye on a nearby home’s vintage screen door for years before they inquired about buying it. Much to their delight, the owner gave it to them for free.

midcentury-screen-doorGabe writes:

I’ve passed this house my whole life but for the past few years I’ve longed to own that killer screen door! The house has been vacant for a couple years now so I stopped to ask the neighbors about the owner and told them I was interested in buying the decoration off the screen. They took my name number and I also left a note on the door as well.


Last month I finally received a phone call from the owner. She was so nice and said I could just come get it. She had acquired the property from her grandmother who is now in assisted living. They were planning to sell the house on the courthouse steps and wasn’t worried about a missing screen door. As a matter of fact she was delighted that we took interest in preserving it.


After getting it home and taking it apart from the old door frame, it needed quite a bit of TLC. My dad and I bent the pieces back into shape, fabricated a new cattail leaf to replace one that was missing.


Then we made a frame out of square metal tubing to help attach it to my door at home. We also made little mounting brackets to mount it by, and to hold the whole thing up off the glass.


Then it was sent off to be sandblasted and powder coated to match my door at home.


When I got it back I was amazed at the detail that was preserved under the decades of house paint and rust. Notice the feathers, beak and eye. Things were made so great back then (1920’s or 30’s) this thing is still a heavy and beautiful piece of decorative steel even after being in the elements all those years.


Next, I centered it up, and mounted it to our glass storm door using sheet metal screws. I think the little lady’s grandma would be proud of our repurposing her vintage screen door appliqué ! Now it may survive on for further generations to be appreciated!

midcentury-screen-door midcentury-screen-doorYou guys did a fantastic job refinishing the vintage screen door — and it looks wonderful on your house, too. Thanks so much for sharing your story with us. You’ve given me the guts to finally ask some of my neighbors about those midcentury bits I’ve been wondering about. Hopefully I have your kind of luck!

UPDATE: After this story went live, we heard from Linda, granddaughter of the woman who was the original owner of the vintage screen door that Gabe and Amanda refinished.

Linda writes:

OMG! my Grandmother’s screen door looks so beautiful, you did such a fantastic job. As a child,I always loved that door, unfortunately my Grandmother passed away and my 2 aunts had the house and as they aged so did the house. I’m so glad that you left that note and you preserved a part of my childhood. Indeed Ms. Lena would have been so glad that it found such a beautiful home. Enjoy!


  1. lynda says:

    What a fun look! How nice when hard work and perseverance pay off. Good job! I am sure you and your guest smile whenever you enter your home.

  2. virginia says:

    Beautiful! I also enjoyed very much clicking on the original link showcasing this lovely house. Kudos.

    And all of this bounty in the wonderful state of North Carolina.

  3. Allen says:

    This door screen is a fantastic restoration! It just makes me smile to see it restored and that it didn’t get thrown in a scrap pile.

  4. Andi says:

    How wonderful to rescue that unique piece of metalwork—and it was sadly in need of rescue—and install it on your absolutely amazing house. I marveled at (i.e. drooled over) the house when I read about it before, and this fabulous flamingo is the perfect finishing touch—not that you needed one!

    I do believe that “grandma” would be tickled to know that her whimsical familiar flamingo friend had a new life, right in the neighborhood.

    Job well done!!

  5. Sydney says:

    What a beautiful restoration job! I know it will look wonderful on your awe-inspiring house. I once had a similar experience with a sparrow screen door that sat on someone’s front porch for over a year, then one day it was gone before I worked up the guts to ask about it. Lesson learned!

    By the way, we are neighbors, loosely speaking… my husband and I are restoring a semi-fabulous mid-century ranch in Albemarle.

    1. Gabriel Nicholson says:

      Wow!!! And Thanks!! Where are you guys?? We’d love to check it out!! I’m on Facebook- Gabriel Nicholson, message me!!

  6. Mary Elizabeth says:

    This took real skill and dedication on the part of you two and A’s dad. Great work all around!

    I have always wondered what to do with those old decorations from screen doors when the door itself is in bad shape. Some of my ideas were:

    Make a wall decoration of it, spray painted black or silver.

    Make an exterior or interior door decoration (on a totally flat door).

    Make a distressed painted wood frame for it and hang it on a fence in the garden.

    1. Mary Elizabeth says:

      Red is a traditional color for a front door, through many centuries. When you see how it pops with the screen decoration, you can see why it symbolizes hospitality.

  7. Scott says:

    The entire entryway landscaping setup was already beautiful but the new door puts a cherry on top. Wonderful you can enjoy the view from inside as well.

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