Upstairs Bathroom (Prologue to the Shower Chronicles)

I drew a diagram.  You see, I might be good with words here, but put me in front of a stranger, or even a friend, anyone that is not related to me by blood or marriage, and I start to sweat, my heart starts pounding, I make too many jokes, and my point is far lost.

(Working from home is the ideal situation for someone like me, but it does nothing to improve this condition.)

We will be ordering fixtures for our bathtub soon, so I am posting this diagram here to show to the plumbing folks (hi plumbing folks!).

Free diagramming tool courtesy of As much as I say otherwise, I do love the internet. (Has anyone else noticed how customized advertising is these days? If I look at sheets at Lands End's web site, I see Lands End sheet ads on every site for the next week. Makes me want to disable my cookies and crawl into the closet for the next decade. Or at least disconnect.)

We will be ordering a shower assembly — a nice one, good quality — so that we no longer have to take showers in my tiny office bathroom off the back porch.  (Brrr.)

Notes and questions to consider:

1) The bathtub is far from the walls (side of tub is approx 20 inches from wall).  The faucets are in the center of the room.  We will not be able to attach the riser to the wall. The riser must be attached to the shower ring, which needs to be supported by ceiling supports only.

(Proof that I sometimes have difficulty with words over the phone — I was asked by a plumbing company if I could turn the bathtub around so that the faucets were near the wall. Uhhhh… what? I better draw a picture.)

We're not turning it around.

2) The room has a sloped ceiling on the other side of the tub (non-faucet side).  The angle of the ceiling is such that a 58″ oval shower ring will not fit at 60″ high.  We don’t particularly want a round shower ring because we think it would feel too small — can the oval rings be cut to a custom size?

3) Do  you think we need new waste, overflow, or supply lines?  Our supply lines bring hot water to the right faucet and cold water to the left faucet. We can switch the handles, right? Will our children be forever damaged by reversed handles?

Our gorgeous supply lines. Note the block of wood wedged between the pipes presumably to prevent rattling. Old school.

Updated March 19 to add this photo of the faucets and drain.

Our current faucet situation. It's noisy, but makes an awesome bubble bath.

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  1. Whoa..I am confused!

    • Here’s the one we’ll likely order (the second one down, #424):

      Normally, the riser attaches to the wall behind the showerhead, and if we were lucky, we wouldn’t have to worry about the sloped ceiling (both interfering with the curtain ring, and creating a challenge to attach the ceiling supports).

      But, Sunrise Specialty got right back to me, and they answered all my questions, and we can totally customize everything. They made it sound so simple, and I love them.

  2. Is the tub original? Did you have it redone in any way? I ask because I have one sitting on a pallet in my driveway and covered with a tarp that is about the same age as your house and if it actually fit in my bathroom as is, it might be there.


    • It’s likely original. When we bought the house, there was a more recent poorly handpainted mural of mushrooms, flowers and fairies on the side of the tub. Or something like that. I promptly painted over it with primer (I wish I’d taken a picture!), and we’ll eventually paint the exterior of the tub, and the claw feet.

      The exterior had some flaking paint that was painted over and looks pretty bad, but we’ll use a flat paint and hope it doesn’t show too much. Someday I’ll strip the paint off the exterior and paint it correctly.

      I would love to have the porcelain refinished, but I bet it’s expensive, and it would be terribly difficult to move the tub from upstairs, and then back again. It’s good enough for us anyway, with just some stains and scratches that I’ll do something about someday.

      I know that there are companies that provide new feet, if your tub happens to need them. Most of the tubs have standard holes drilled, from what I understand, so plumbing fixtures shouldn’t be a problem.

  3. You can’t really redo the porcelain, although there are products that can be used (by professionals) to recoat a tub. If I recall correctly, it can run about $500 or so, which is a lot cheaper than a new tub, but not exactly free, either. The inside of mine was pretty good, last time I looked at it.

    I started stripping and sandblasting the outside of mine, but it was about the same era and it had an astounding amount of paint on it—a yellow layer, a blue layer, lots of white layers—and it was miserable work. The little sandblaster attachment I got from Sears was taking forever, and I didn’t have a place to put it, so I put it aside. It moved with me. I did take the feet off and sandblast them. I was going to have them powder coated, but I was talking to a sculptor of iron in West Va and asked if his gates and other, painted outdoor stuff was powder coated. He said no. Rustoleum. He said that powder coating is fine except when iron or steel are going to come in contact with water.

    When I tear apart my bathroom—no time in the near future—I’ll get back to it one of these days.


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