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The Bathtub Diaries are back!

The original Bathtub Diaries began in 2007 when we renovated and enlarged our closet sized bathroom to a walk-in closet size in order to add a claw foot tub (background story: What began as a two week project stretched to a ten month parody on renovation timelines and high jinks. I was able to enjoy luxurious soaks for a couple of years in my newly renovated bathroom before we purchased Faith Cottage. The plan was to add a claw foot tub to the spacious bathroom after we moved in; however, unexpected financial constraints prevented the dream from moving forward.

Claw foot tub from the bathroom remodel at our former residence, Terra Cottage (turn-of-the century, Neo-Victorian Revival, c. 1999).

Not only did the original bathtub reno go well past the timelines, it also exceeded budget (way beyond the typical 20%). At the time, I was sending weekly updates to my family who in turn shared them with friends. Before I knew it, people across the country were reading the Bathtub Diaries and waiting for updates every Friday. During one of my visits with my mom in Atlanta, I went to my favorite antique store (mom was sharing the diaries with the owners because we'd purchased several architectural pieces from them for the reno). While I was there, the antique store owners introduced me to one of their customers. When she heard I was from South Carolina she smiled and said "Are you the one with the bathtub diaries?" It seemed the bathroom reno was well renowned. Needless to say, it was a fun endeavor despite the delays and antics that accompanied the renovation.

Fast forward a few years after we moved into Fatih Cottage. I found a five and a half foot antique claw foot tub (the last one was five feet and yes, when it comes to tubs, bigger is better) at an antique mall on Sullivan's Island. At the low price of $200, it was a no brainer. Although we still didn't have the funds to install it, we would store the tub until then. Since my car didn't have space, we went back the following week to pick it up (hubby brought some muscle, Chris Humphreys, with him to help with the heavy lifting). For anyone who has purchased a claw foot tub, you know the plumbing is generally more expensive than the tub itself. The $200 deal on the tub would help with the $1000+ price tag for the necessary accouterments. But it wasn't a concern at the time since we were nowhere near the installation process.

And then something unbelievable happened.

While hubby and Chris were loading the tub into the back of the truck, a couple pulled in next to us and parked. Emerging from the car, the gentleman smiled. He said something about the tub and how they had just redone their claw foot tub. They'd replaced all of the plumbing hardware with brass and were throwing away the old stuff. There was nothing wrong with the old hardware, they just wanted a different look. (I may have gasped when he said they were throwing it away). I inquired further. Are you ready for this? It was the exact hardware I wanted for my tub (nickel plated with the telephone shower attachment). His next statement was "You can have it if you want," Trying not to hyperventilate at this offer, I asked when we could pick up the plumbing. "You can get it now," he said and proceeded to give us his address and the code to their garage (meanwhile hubby was saying something about not having time and needing to get back to Beaufort which you know I ignored-I wasn't leaving without that plumbing!). I was flabbergasted! We drove to their house and picked up the plastic bin of plumbing which included the sink faucet as well. The first segment of the Bathtub Diaries, part II, Replumbed was off to a great start.

Thirteen long, soakless years later...

In fall of 2023 it was apparent that the large bathroom at Faith Cottage was in need of some work to include plumbing (no hot water at the sink and fragile plumbing elsewhere). The original 1975 tub/shower insert was worn and the 16 year old vanity was a bit shabby at the corners. Since repairs were needed, we got an estimate for a remodel to install the claw foot tub. Much to our surprise. the estimate was within our budget! Let the games begin!

Before photos of the bathroom:

The hot water side of the sink didn't work and the 16 year old vanity was beginning to show wear. We considered refinishing it but weren't sure it would survive the demo.

You can't see it in this photo, but the toilet tank cover is broken.

Ceiling plaster was peeling in places.

This antique cabinet, purchased from the Lowcountry Living Room in Yemassee, would replace the storage lost when the linen closet was removed for the tub.

A few of the tiles were cracked.

The man who renovated Faith Cottage installed the floor tiles behind the toilet. In the next segment, see what we discovered when those tiles were removed.

Demo pics and updates in the next installment of the Bathtub Diaries, Part II, Replumbed! The quest for a long soak in an old tub continues...

Blessings for a Happy Easter!



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