A few years ago I happened across a craigslist post for items being sold from a 1950s house that was going to be demolished. I got five screen doors and all the hardware, and dragged them home and stored them. I wanted to use the widest one on our front entry, but it didn't swing the right way, and it would have looked butchered up if I had tried to change it around to make it open the other way.
Luckily after some googling I found a source online for new aluminum screen doors with mill finish (not painted). They look a lot like the old mid century aluminum screen doors you used to see on lots of houses, but the quality is not as good. The doors probably weigh about half of what the old doors do. They're not as strong or substantial. But at least you can still find them. And since they are available from a chain hardware store, you can order the size and swing direction you need and have it delivered free to your closest hardware store so you can pick it up locally and save on shipping.
After I installed the new door in our front entry, I transplanted one of the scroll-work guards (or grilles, or grills, or grates, pick your favorite term). It really gave the door a finished and vintage look.
Today I installed the fourth door on a side entrance to our basement. This door also had a grille. (I just realized that when I made this post yesterday, I didn't include the pics of the basement screen door. Duh! Here are a couple of shots of the door I just installed.)
It looks good, don't you think? I like giving something like this a second life.
Sometimes you can find a monogram letter or a grille on ebay, but as far as I can tell, you can't even buy a new monogram letter in the right style. Sadly, I cannot find a single source for these screen door/storm door grilles/guards/grates. Tried every search term in Google, and found nothing. I'd love to see this stuff available new. If you luck into something you can afford, you still have to be sure the width and height are correct for the door you want to use it on.
(So if you run across one of these guards with an R monogram, the Uncle would like to acquire it.)
This one is on ebay right now.
Another one on ebay right now.
There's one business that makes decorative grates that are a lot bigger than the ones on my doors. They look like they're made to go on a modern full window storm door, and they're a heckuva lot more expensive than I'm willing to pay too.
I think there's a market out there for these screen doors and decorative guards, just as there's a market for mid century doors. What do you think?