Geoff & Beth find a vintage “P” for their screen door grille

vintage screen door initialsRetro 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! 

mill finish screen door
Geoff wrote:

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.

initial for vintage screen door
And, Geoff delivered this little extra woof of happy:

Here’s another pic with our pug Tilly enjoying the breeze:

pug in screen door
Nicely done, Geoff and Beth!

Link love: 

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.

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.

Does anyone else have a screen door with an initial in it?
Can we make a full alphabet?
I have a “K” — on a shelf for decor, not on a screen door.

  1. Geoff says:

    That’s true and that’s perfectly fine, family is more than just a name especially with blended families. For lots of folks this wouldn’t work, but for lots it also still does. We were just happy to share our story and bring a little slice of style back to life that had long been forgotten on our street. Even without the letter the grille is still an option by itself.

  2. Geoff says:

    If someone has a letter that doesn’t match it’s a great thing to sell on eBay or donate to a place like ReStore. We’ve found some great items at our local ReStore and it’s always a bummer to see something that still has some use left in it thrown away or taken for scrap. Our diamond window came from ReStore for about 20 bucks and those go for as much as 200 new at some retailers!

  3. Geoff says:

    I understand that, our house is the domain of a very little dog who is pretty sure she owns the place. P stands for pug as far as she’s concerned 🙂

  4. Geoff says:

    Yep we definitely could’ve found a new one on Etsy or made one, but the charm of the original font and texture just makes us smile. It’s fun to bring a little history back too.

  5. pam kueber says:

    Oh the vintage ones are around! I’ve been watching them off and on for 10 years. They’re out there — and yes, nothing quite compares with that vintage mill finish aluminum!

  6. Jason says:

    I too have a hollow core veneer front door original to 1956, when it’s replaced it will be solid wood, but built to match the 3 window style it is. That’s why it’s still there, I love it too much – although hollow exterior door is odd to me.

    I like these doors too, although I also like glass for the protection. I wish I had thought to get the grill and letter at least from my Mommom’s house – she had one on the front porch. My other Mommom in her 1955 house, not the one she’s in now – she had the full jalousie window storm doors – heavy as all get out!

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