Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Bathroom (2 of 2)

It is a noble tub. My tub in the city is less than 12" deep; pretty pathetic. This one is almost twice that. OK, if I fill it to the top no one else on this side of the house can count on hot water for at least 40 minutes, but such is the price for being able to truly soak - at least in my house. When we moved here, twenty-nine years ago next month, we found that vintage combination shower head and curtain ring abandoned on an upper floor. We had a plumber connect it to the tub spigot with a flexible metal clad hose

Here's a closeup of the towel bar next to the tub. Maybe it's more correctly a washcloth bar, or a safety bar, since the towels are either hung on hooks or stored in the bottom shelf of the rattan table (see below). You can't really haul yourself out of this tub without holding onto it. The mounts are nickel plated brass and the bar itself is a 2" diameter tube of glass.

The trouble with old ceramic handles - particularly in 122-year-old bathrooms - is that over the years they inevitably either fall off or get dropped by plumbers, caretakers and/or people like myself doing work on the tub. Ergo, they break and get replaced by anything similar we can find. Which is why I appear to have two hot water valves in my bathtub. Heaven only knows how many old faucet handles I've gone through in this house since 1982. The original tub spigot was doubtless more beautiful than the one that's here now. However, the new one has the advantage of a hookup for the shower hose. The fitting leaked, of course, so the plumber wrapped it with electrical tape, which is still there twenty-nine years later. (It works; why bother it?) The black tape on the floor holds heat tape to the exposed water lines connected to the sink on the other side of the room. When I'm working in town on winter weekdays, the btahroom can go below freezing. Very "old house" I think.

Every old house bathroom needs a wicker table. This one has lost a few of its decorative elements, not to mention its original oil cloth cover, but it is still ideal for towel storage and catchall counter space. My former wife and I bought the painted iron lamp at a thrift shop, let's see, that must have been about three or four years before Moses crossed the Red Sea. P.S. I hate overhead light and am strangely accepting of wandering extension cords.

Besides the lamp, is a cut crystal dish we got for a wedding present in 1975. It has been sitting in my various bathrooms - full of nail clippers, safety pins, a nose hair scissor, etc - for over half my life. The oval mirror next to it is a shaving mirror meant to be mounted on the wall. I bought it thirty-or-so years ago from the Tuxedo Park School, an old palace in the Park built by a man named John Innes Blair. When we moved here in 1982 I taped the mounting screws to the bottom of the mounting plate and left it in a high visibility location so I would be sure to get around to installing it. Haven't got to it yet.


  1. just so you'll know you didn't write this for yourself, here I am. i also live in the ancient family dwelling - a Federal period house slowly (i hope) disappearing into its own foundation. i am much more of a fan of victorians but somehow we escaped that phase altho almost every wall in the house has been moved at least once and my kitchen has 8 doors.
    i love your bath and even more your commentary. i too have things that have been sitting in the same spot for 30 years waiting to go somewhere. sometimes thats the frosting on an old house - the walls, dressers, cabinets, closets, etc with things that have hung there for half a century or more. the gentrifiers that buy these places are quick to remove these touches which are the history that makes them great.
    keep up the good work. one of my favorite places to visit.

  2. I like the idea of putting the towel bar on that spot because it can also serve as a hand grip when you step out of the bath tub. It will help you support your body and keep yourself safe while in there. It's both an aesthetic and functional piece, which is really smart.

  3. It's cool tub! My one is also 12 inch but still I am missing something here.

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