I was sorting through pictures, and starting to plot my next posts, and when looking at what to do for Flashback Fridays, the Master Bath remodel at Jackson Street seemed like a great first choice. I realized that I had enough pictures to warrant an ENTIRE post about refinishing the clawfoot tub. WHAT?!?! It really was a fun project, so here goes!
Vintage bath fixtures are the second most exciting things to me when it comes to renovation (restoring chandeliers and light fixtures is #1!). When we bought Jackson Street, there was a clawfoot in the guest bathroom – we assume it was original to the house, or rather, original to when the house first got indoor plumbing. Did you know that in 1921, only 1% of homes in America had indoor plumbing? I read that online, and since everything on the internet is true, it seems legit. The first clawfoot tubs were manufactured by American Standard in 1883 : when this house was was eight years old.
The inside wasn’t awful. but it wasn’t great. There were rust stains and scratches, which makes sense with its age – it’s super common. At our previous house, I refinished the inside of a tub myself, with a spray. It worked great, but it’s a better product if you have very minimal scratches. We decided to hire out to professionals, and had the whole thing re-glazed by a refinishing team. You can check out how the process works here.
Once the tub was re-glazed, Doug installed new fixtures. We went with gold, to match the chandeliers and lighting that were going in the bathroom. Our go-to place for reproduction fixtures is Vintage Tub and Bath – they have have a fantastic inventory, not just for bathrooms.
CAREFULLY, as to not mess the new finish, we turned the tub upside down for painting. And by “we,” I mean people with muscles (this would not be me). It is QUITE a heavy beast. After flipping it, we took off the feet, and I set about to paint it. I chose a deep peacock turquoise. It looks a little more blue in the pictures, but there is a touch of green in it.
I hate when I am at salvage yards and tubs are only painted on one side. People didn’t move them because they are so heavy. I get that. I TOTALLY get that. But I couldn’t deal with that. It felt lazy. So I painted it all.
You know who else knows how heavy clawfoot tubs are? Walter does. This is why you reinforce the floors when you put one in. DON’T FORGET TO DO THAT.
I took the feet to refinish, and used some pizza boxes to help contain the stripper. My $.02 : I stripped the paint off using Soy Gel, which I love because it’s not toxic, and I can use it inside without fumes setting off migraines. It’s gooey and messy and WORKS. Give it all the time in the world – let the time work in your advantage!
When I got off most of the paint, using the stripper, time, and a wire brush, I gold-leafed the feet. I love metallic finishes on feet. If I had decided on silver fixtures, I would have taken them to an auto place, and had them chromed. That’s an AWESOME way to refinish feet.
Once we got the tub in place (again, with the help of muscle-y boys who weren’t me), it looked AMAZING. And worked amazing. And I miss it with all of my heart, especially since the tubs here at Martin Place leave much to be desired. I can’t wait to put in an Amy-fied bathroom here. We actually bought a clawfoot tub off Craigslist for somewhere in this house. So, I get to do this process again. Right now, the tub is in the front parlor. Because that’s completely logical.
Look forward to the rest of the Master Bath remodel from Jackson Street the next time I do a Flashback Friday!