Retro Renovation projects are all about the details — and no detail is too small! You know those mill-finish screen doors that everyone had back in the day? Including with the style with a grille guard protector thingie designed with a place to hold the family surname initial? Geoff and Beth found the door and grille relatively easily — but a “P” to finish it off — that took a while!
Our house was built in ’58 and had been last updated in the ’70s. Once we moved in around 2011, we started renovating and trying to get it back to how it would or could have been originally. It’s been a long process (partially because finding old stuff takes a lot longer than new, as you know, but that stuff has so much more character). The house had a hollow core front door and a cheapo full glass storm door on it when we moved in. We replaced the front door with a wood slab that we cut a diamond window into. After that, I found out that Sutherland’s still keeps mill finish screen doors in stock. We got one and replaced our storm door with that. We found the grille at a vintage shop in the West Bottoms in Kansas City, and I took it apart and polished it up and riveted it back together. Finally, after looking on ebay for a “P” for four years one showed up — (it’s a hard letter to find) — and I riveted that into the grill. We love it and it makes the porch and door feel complete.
Here’s another pic with our pug Tilly enjoying the breeze:
Readers, you can follow Beth and Geoff on Instagram here:
Note, while we have identified several sources for mill finish screen doors (<< plus read the comments in that story for possibly more), we have not identified a source to get either the grilles or round initials made new. As far as I know: You must find these vintage. They are around, though. I’ve seen either and/or both on ebay and at estate sales.
- See vintage numbers available on ebay right now (affiliate link)
- Vintage screen door grilles seem pretty rare, but they are out there (affiliate link)
Another idea: Keep an eye out for people moving into the neighborhood who are immediately renovating their houses: They’re likely to toss these screen doors out without hesitation — ask them if you can have them before they go in the dumpster.