Rub a Dub Dub

The thought of soaking in a tub is something that hasn’t occurred to me in about ten years.  Obviously there is no “with soaker tub” option in dorms, and college apartments that do have a shower/tub combination are usually not the kind of tubs you’d want to touch with any part of your body except your feet.  When we lived in Richmond, our master bath only had a shower.  The idea of a bath in the Old House is, as you might expect, simply laughable.  The only bathtub in the house had to be gutted (as you may remember from one of our prior posts),


and was replaced with a Bath Fitter-type shower insert.

As a result, the thought of sinking into a tub full of bubbles (possibly with a glass of champagne, a perfect mani/pedi, and some Frank Sinatra over the speakers) has been the thing of dreams.  Until now.

Last year, we were lucky enough to obtain an amazing claw foot tub for our Little House bathroom.  Here it is still hooked up in its original bathroom, with just a little antique dirt inside as a special bonus:


We transported it back to our house and it has been living in a barn out back ever since, awaiting its great makeover.  Although the tub was actually in great shape after a power wash and could have been used as-is, we were hoping to have it refinished eventually for aesthetics.  It had bit of discoloration and a few areas of wear in the ceramic:



Once we had the bathroom painted, we used the telehandler to move the unfinished tub out of the barn and lift it up to the second floor entrance so we could put it in the bathroom to try it on for size:


We love it under the windows (and will love it even more when the paint is removed from the glass and there’s a little more natural light).

Graciously, my parents offered to give us the refinishing as our housewarming gift.  How lucky are we??  The tub refinisher did his work on site by moving the tub into our unfinished closet room and tenting the entire area off with plastic sheeting.

IMG_0260We’ve been told any areas of wear and pitting are filled with a putty-like material to fill the gaps.  Then a spray technique is used to recoat the interior of the tub and the feet.  It looks brand-spanking new!   IMG_0259

For dramatic effect, see the before and the after:




Now, that looks like something I could soak in!  The visions of rubber duckies are dancing in my head…

The last step is to paint the exterior of the tub.  You can purchase a special paint designed to adhere to metal at Benjamin Moore or your other paint store.


We hemmed and hawed about what color to choose – classic all white?  Traditional black with white feet?  Or something a little…bolder?  Our color scheme in the bathroom has evolved into navy and white with hints of coral, so we decided to upgrade that from a hint to a pop by choosing “Tucker Orange” from Benjamin Moore’s Williamsburg collection for the outside of the tub.

Chad slaved away at this one day while I was out of town.  What a trooper – it turned out to be a bit more of a project than just slapping on a new coat of paint.  First, he needed to remove the original paint, as it was peeled and cracked in places.  Those old paint manufacturers did not mess around.  Chad ultimately used a wire brush attachment for his drill and the electric sander to strip the old paint off, and then replaced it with two coats of Tucker Orange.  The result is stunning – we couldn’t be more thrilled!





We learned from the gurus at the salvage store in Front Royal that the removable feet are imprinted on the back with either an “L” or an “S” – this means “long” or “short”.  The idea is to put the short feet on the side with the drain so that the gravity will assist the water in flowing out of the tub.  We certainly would have overlooked this without their insight.  Luckily, our feet are in the right positions and our tub is at just the right angle for optimum flow.  IMG_2839

And here to the tub is back in place and ready to be plumbed in.  What do you think?  It’s bold and a little funky, but we’re loving it.


And the good news is the tub can always be repainted as trends and tastes change!

Add a little hardware, and the tub was ready for its return to glory!  Spoiler alert: I have used the tub already, and it has certainly lived up to everything I dreamed about!