Posts Tagged ‘custom mirrors’

Applied Frames for Existing Mirrors

One issue that is common to bathroom mirrors is the pealing of silvering around the edges of the glass. This phenomenon is known as “black-edge,” and is especially a problem near the coast. It is a type of oxidation that happens (like rust)… I won’t bore you with all of the technical mumbo-jumbo.

There are couple of ways to address this problem before it happens. One is to treat the edges of the mirror with an industrial sealer. This prevents moisture from compromising the reflective layers of the mirror and prevents black-edge. The other method, which we prefer, is to provide copper-free mirrors that are very resistant to the contamination that causes this problem.

Aptos Mirror Frame-01  Aptos Mirror Frame-02

But what if your mirror is already showing signs of the hideous mirror disease? Is there any way to fix it? Sadly, no… There are really only two options. One is to remove and replace the mirror with a new one. The other is to use an applied frame. These mirror frames are made to be installed on existing frameless mirrors, and come in a wide variety of styles and colors. I had my doubts about them, and haven’t really suggested them much in the past… The cost of having them installed is about 25% less than just replacing the mirror with a new one, in most cases. I didn’t really see the point…

Aptos Mirror Frame-03 Aptos Mirror Frame-04

Then we actually installed some of them on a job in Aptos, California last week. I was really impressed with the high quality of the product, and the way the frames looked after installation. Having had first hand experience with these applied mirror frames, I really like them, and would recommend them to anyone. Even though the cost savings isn’t that significant, the experience for the customer is very low-impact, which is important when it comes to renovation. There is virtually no mess of any type, no dirt, no noise, and the work can be accomplished in a very short amount of time. Best of all, the result is a beautiful framed mirror instead of the old mirror with bad edges.

For more information, give me a call at (831) 464-3899.



The Magic Box

Recently, a customer that I was doing some work for asked me if I would do some repairs on a small wooden box that was very special to her. The little box was brightly painted with images of a sun, moon, and stars painted on the outside. She called it her “magic box,” and she told me a story about having it since she was a little girl. She thought she remembered it having been built by a famous rock musician… Maybe one of The Doors? That idea would sound completely crazy if it wasn’t for the fact that her father worked in the music industry during that era, and know a lot of famous people. I decided to take the little box to my shop and replace the mirrors that were inside of it. It’s the type of fun little job that I really don’t get to do very often. My customer told me she would contact her dad, and find out more information about where the magic box came from.



When it came time to return the box after completing work on it, there was a lot of new information available. She had spoken to her dad about the item, and learned that box was actually made by the “The Fool” design collective. This is the Dutch group of artists that designed clothes, sets, and musical instruments for the Beatles and other musical groups in the 60s and 70s. This particular piece was designed and built by Marijke Koger. It was so much fun learning about the history of this little wooden box, and having the opportunity to work on it. Here are some links you can check out to learn more about The Fool Collective and their work.

Using Laser Levels for Shower Layouts

Hello Chris,

My name is Dan, my wife Holli and I own a glass shop in Anchorage AK you can visit our website at we have enjoyed your blog and your story. we started our shop in 1991 doing anything in glass including vinyl windows and auto glass. In recent years due to shortages in qualified help and price slashing with competitors and the overall grind of that type of business we did something similar to you and streamlined our business to just her and I doing custom Showers, tabletops, back-splashes, custom glass basically anything indoors for obvious reasons and we really enjoy it. To the point we really have focused on the shower doors and noticed a reference to laser levels in you blog we are trying to get info on the best type to use for meas and install I am currently looking at a Bosch GLL3-80 I wondered if you had any insight on the best types w/wo tripod and applications with respect to things like no-angles and step ups. A distant colleague looking for a step up.

Thank you

Dan DeLucia

Owner – Aurora Glass

red line

Hi Dan,

I first started using a laser level six or seven years ago. I found something that was pretty affordable (around $200) that worked well for me. It was a Craftsman self-leveling laser that came with a tripod. It shoots your choice of a level line, plumb line, plumb/level cross hair, and a cross hair that is not self leveling (actually helpful in some situations.) I still have that level to this day, and have actually purchased a second one within the past year. The cost of these has actually come down since I bought the first one, but it is a good, rugged, and inexpensive device.

I’m sure the one that you are looking at (or have probably bought by now) is at lease as good. As you know, a straight line is better than a plumb line in most instances. A customer will rarely put a level on your work to check it, but will always look at the lines and reveals. That is the thing that makes using a laser so nice. Even if it gets out of calibration over time, you know that the line it shoots is perfectly straight. The cross-hair feature is awesome for laying out mirrors. In the old days, we would take a level and draw a plumb/level intersection on the wall to do a layout. This is really only necessary when all four corners are out-of-square. With this laser, there is no need to mark. You just project the intersection on the wall and measure to the lines. Very nice!

Thanks for writing, and best of luck with your enterprises.


Showcase Shower Door – Our New Location

Wow! I can’t believe how long it has been since I updated my blog. There has been so much happening in the past 30 days that I have been forced to prioritize everything that I do, and I’m afraid that my blog simply didn’t make the top 20 (sorry.) My wife, Tiffany, and I (along with our dog Cecilia,) relocated our residence this month. The move went very quickly and quite smoothly, thanks to our awesome friends. They showed up in droves to help us load, unload, and move our stuff! We are really blessed to have such a great bunch of people in our lives. At the same time, we moved our business delivery address to a different part of Live Oak (in Santa Cruz.) The new delivery location is working out great for us. And in addition to all of that, we also signed a lease for our first commercial building, right here in Santa Cruz! The new 1200 square foot location, at 1970 17th Avenue, is large enough to house our shop, office, and showroom.


Of course, we just moved in, and all of those things are still in the process of getting set up, but we are operating out of the new store right now. We’re fixing up the front “showroom” area, where we will be able to meet with customers, display some product samples, and stuff like that. We still need to get our sign for the front of the building, and finish getting stuff organized, but we are making excellent progress. We have been staying pretty busy with installations at the same time, so the move has been a bit challenging. I’m not complaining, though… You guys know how much I love shower doors, so this is a pretty exciting time for me. Expect a lot of new and exciting things to be happening at Showcase Shower Door in the coming months. I’ll be sure to keep you updated as things continue to happen. Thanks to our loyal customers who continue to make our business a success!

“Suite” Shower Doors and Enclosures

Work was completed, on schedule, at the Beach Street Inn and Suites in Santa Cruz last month. To date, this is the biggest job that we have performed, and we are really happy with the results. Installing 12 heavy glass frameless shower enclosures in the rooms being renovated at the Beach Street Inn (formerly Terrace Court Motel) was certainly a test of Showcase Shower Door’s ability to supply and install a large number of high-end shower enclosures (not to mention mirrors and glass table tops) in a short period of time.


 As owner of Showcase Shower Door, I personally installed each enclosure, with the help of my assistant. I’m not bragging… that’s just the way we do things around here. I install every heavy glass shower enclosure myself, and have done so for years. I intend to continue doing this for as long as I can. How else can I possibly maintain the highest standard of quality Showcase is famous for? Standard tub enclosures and manufactured (1/4″) shower doors are another story. My helper is qualified to install those, but I take a “hands on” approach to these beautiful European style shower doors and enclosures.

Today, I am 45 years old, and figure I can keep installing glass for at least another 20 years, or so. My dad, Chris Phillips Sr., was working in the industry until he was 70, so I feel an obligation to hold up the family tradition. Showcase Shower Door also got a nice mention in the Santa Cruz Sentinel on April 28th for this project. Thanks, Santa Cruz, for making Showcase Shower Door number one! We know that it is you, our beloved customers, who are truly responsible for our success. We couldn’t do it without you!

What to do about mirror “Black Edge”

Do you have a mirror in your bathroom that has started to develop dark, cloudy looking discoloration at the bottom? Your mirror is suffering from “Black Edge.” The silvering on the back of your mirror has been infiltrated by a type of contaminant that has begun eating it away like a cancer. It is actually more like rust… The back of your mirror has begun to oxidize, and the black edge will continue to spread over time. The mirrors that we install are treated with a product that seals the edges of the silvering, protecting them from the dreaded black edge. Unfortunately, most glass contractors don’t.


If you have a mirror that is very important to you, due to sentimental value, you may be able to have it re-silvered. This can be expensive, and it is almost always more economical to replace the mirror. Showcase Shower Door does not provide re-silvering, but we can replace the mirror that you do have. We can also add a frame to your existing mirror to cover the edge that has turned black. We work with MirrorMate frames, which allows us to install a frame in the style and color of your choice without removing the existing mirror. This is a great way to make the old mirror look new again without spending a lot of money. Even if there is nothing wrong with your existing mirror, a MirrorMate custom frame adds a touch of elegance to an existing mirror. Click here to download a flyer.

Artwork in Your Shower? Yes!

I have been really fortunate to have the opportunity to work on some great showers lately. I am having a great time, and really have to say “thank you” to all of my great customers out there, and the many nice things you say about Showcase Shower Door. It really is the reputation that you have given us, and word-of-mouth referrals that keep us so busy. It is an honor to be referred by you, and we are going to do all that we can to take excellent care of the friends, family, and associates you send our way.

These are some photos of one of the really incredible showers that we are working on right now. We are seeing more of these artistic shower stalls with interesting geometry and top-notch tile work. The shower you see here is located in the Live Oak area of Santa Cruz County. We are getting ready to do the glass installation later this week, so I’ll be sure to get some fresh photos to show you as the project progresses. The door itself is going to have some really cool artwork sand-blasted on it, so you are going to want to see this!