Our New Old House

1918 Bungalow


Archive for the ‘clawfoot tub’ Category

My Bathroom: The Rest of the Story

Some people said they wanted to see more pictures of my crazy bathroom in its recent stages of transformation. I am nothing if not obliging. Here, you dirty voyeurs! Feast your eyes on the nitty gritty recesses of my bathroom.

You may recall that when we decided to put up wainscoting, I allowed Brandon, my cousins, sister, sister’s boyfriend, and myself to draw on the bathroom walls.


Then we put up some shelf paper because we weren’t able to tackle the job of putting up the wainscoting for a while and we needed it to look nice and be easier to clean in the meantime.


THEN! We took the shelf paper off in anticipation of the wainscoting installation. That didn’t go so well.


BUT THEN! The carpenters from Loki’s Garden put up the wainscoting and our bathroom began to look beautiful.


Next up: patching a few plaster flaws near the ceiling, some fresh and lovely blue paint, and a fresh coat of primer and paint for the woodwork. Also, the tub will get paint. And shiny shiny feet.

Hooray for shiny feet.


At Our New Old House the plumbing was one of those things that we knew we’d have to do eventually but that never gave us enough of a problem to fix right away. However, when the faucet on our tub stopped working and we discovered how difficult it was going to be to connect a new faucet to the old pipes, we decided to hire a plumber to re-do our whole plumbing system.

Here are the old pipes to the tub:


And here are the new flex tubes, which are much easier to attach to fixtures.


Since we were going to have the plumber here anyway, we asked him to remove some of the scary old fixtures that had been left behind by previous owners. This toilet was a must to go.


And so it  was gone…


And they capped the drain hole.


The pipes were all galvanized before and probably very close to original on the house and had calcified inside quite a bit. Here’s the inside of one of the valves they took off:


So, with all the galvanized gone they replaced it with Pex.





Now our water pressure is GREAT, the hot water gets to the tap really hot, and fixtures are all easy to attach!

We used John Carroll of Des Moines (Carroll Plumbing, LLC) and we were really satisfied with his work.

Clawfeet mystery solved! Now what?

If you remember last year we had to remove the claw foot tub from the bathroom to put down new tile. We were shocked and dismayed when the feet FELL OFF the tub and the terrifying realization sunk in that for a hundred years or so this several hundred pound behemoth of cast iron was delicately balancing on four unattached feet that collapsed as soon as the weight was shifted.

Remember this?


And this?


Yeah, those are memories I’d like to forget.

Anyway, I don’t know if I ever told you the story of how we put the feet and the tub back together. After having several friends, including a mechanical engineer and some other house fixers, look at the detached feet and the bottom of the tub and express dismay that there seemed now way to hold them all together except by gravity and prayer, we just decided to put things back the way we found them and hope it lasted another 100 years.

So we had a couple of strong friends assist Brandon in lifting the tub while I scrambled underneath placing the feet one by one and shouting instructions from under the tub as they lowered one corner at a time onto the feet I was balancing. It was harrowing, but we did it successfully and the tub has been resting comfortably on the feet ever since.

Well, except one. There’s one foot that I’m SURE is slipping. It makes me nervous every day. I sit on the toilet looking at that foot and I just know it’s moved another millimeter while I was sleeping. I know it! That stupid sneaky foot. And then I give it a look and shake my fist at it. Like this:

Evil Monkey

Anyway, I’ve been looking around online for solutions that might work better than bubblegum, plumbers putty, and upside down welding. (All suggestions offered to me by well-meaning but ultimately cracked individuals.) Today I found this and I think it’s the right answer!

claw foot tub feet brace

Sadly, the picture’s not great, but this makes perfect sense! The feet have bolts attached so they can screw into SOMETHING but there’s nothing to screw them onto on the bottom of the tub. Okay, you need more pictures.

IMG_3835 cropped

IMG_3845 cropped

If the feet were screwed into a brace that would hold them all together and the tub rested on the brace and the feet, then that would be super stable and I could sleep a whole night through not worrying about one of the cats getting squashed under the toppling tub!

I doubt such a thing is available ready made, though I’m planning to check out American Plumbing, the awesome store I went to for my previous plumbing conundrums. I might have to have someone fabricate what I need from metal straps. The search begins.

Crusty Old Pain in the Drain

Our new bathroom floor is in!  But before I show you pictures of that, let me tell you about the drain on our clawfoot tub.

We suspect the plumbing on it was original.  Whether it was or not, it was old enough to be nothing but a pain in the drain. 

First of all, when Brandon went to take the drain apart so he could remove the tub, it came apart in all the wrong places and some of the pipe broke.  He resigned himself to having to replace the whole drain.  Not too big a deal, right?

Everything was peachy except the pieces in the drain hole itself would not come apart.  Brandon spent most of the weekend in this position, trying to get the drain to loosen:


Here’s what he had to work with:


When he tried to use a drain plug wrench, which looked like this:


The pieces inside the drain disintigrated to look like this:


Having nothing left to hold onto to turn the drain pieces, he resorted to cutting the whole thing off and hoping the threads would come apart in the process:



With a few taps of a screwdriver…


out it came!


Brandon said all that gross caked on yellow stuff is bits of hundreds of people’s skin who have bathed in this tub. I said, “Ew gross!!!” and told him it was more likely the old rubber seal that had hardened over time. Boys are so gross.


To see the finished drain he put in, you’ll have to come back next time because I forgot to take photos of it in time for this blog post.

 [tags]clawfoot tub, flooring, photos, bathroom, ceramic tile, plumbing [/tags]

Flooring Finished! (Nearly.)

Our kitchen floor is finished! Doesn’t it look great?



The contractor didn’t bring enough tile to completely finish the bathroom, but he did the areas under the tub and toilet. The rest will go in on Monday.


Things are finally coming back together.

[tags]clawfoot tub, contractors, photos, flooring, bathroom, kitchen[/tags]

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