The Curious Case of the Half-Wall Shower Stall

So in my last post I told you about how I just love showers, and how my vintage home did not have one when we first moved in, but I didn’t show you the said shower.  The lone bathroom in my house it tiny and cramped. To make matters worse, it only has 2.5 walls instead of the 3 that you need to have a bona fide shower. Here is how it kind of was for a long time:

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Hand-held shower and no shower curtain rod. The hose you see going up was not actually there when we moved in. The spigot that now holds the hose used to hold a hand-held shower. This is what we used the first 3 or 4 years that we lived here. Until one day when an apple hit me over the head and I realized that I could actually rig up a shower using the same concept as a hand-held shower!

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I actually completed this project a while back (and by completed I mean done for now, subject to change, still looking for a more elegant solution.) So anyway, like I said, this project was done about 2 years ago, but I did not post it because I was….ashamed. Yes, I was ashamed of my bathroom because I bought into the whole ‘gotta have the palatial pinterest-worthy bathroom” ideal. I thought my bathroom wasn’t good enough to blog about, despite the fact that I had come up with an ingenious solution to what is probably a common problem for people with old homes or Claw Foot Tubs.  It can be so intimidating to put out your imperfections, especially when all the cool kids are carrying on like they have unlimited funds for big projects.

But what about the little projects? The small projects that, while they maybe not a swoon-worthy improve your life? If I waited until I could do a full tear down bathroom remodel (which is what this room would need) I may still be doing the one-handed shower boogaloo. Those first 4 years without a shower were uncomfortable at best, miserable at worst. Washing my hair was a “challenge” to put it nicely.  So while my bathroom may not be gorgeous, It functions. Sure, one day I want to replace that tub, replace those hideous ceiling tiles, maybe even knock-down a wall and expand the room, take out that ugly-ass window, etc, etc, and so on, and so forth, and so that! But right now it works.

If you are in a similar predicament (I’m talking to you, Claw Foot Tub owner), I’m happy to show you what I did.

what you need

For the actual shower rig up:

1 extra long shower hose (I think mine was 6 or 7 feet)
1 shower arm
1 shower head of your choice
1 shower arm bracket

For the custom shower curtain rod:
1  1/2” x 10’ EMT conduit pipe
2-4  pipe straps or clamps (depending on how many you want to put on, I used 2)

My bath tub already had a hand shower installed. So you will need that at the very least. If you don’t have a hand held shower, get some type of setup that will allow you to.

I connected the extra-long hose (about 6 feet or so) to the spigot where the hand-held shower was.

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On the other end of the hose I connected the shower arm which I then connected to the shower head:

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I then mounted the Shower Hose Clamp to the ceiling. I had to find the sweet spot known as dead center, so that the shower head wasn’t too far on one side. Once the shower hose clamp was in place, all I had to do was snap the shower arm (with the shower head attached) into it. The hose clamp snaps into about 3 positions so that you can find what’s most comfortable. This is especially helpful in directing the shower spray so that it’s not just going straight down, but to make it point a little bit forward to compensate for not having the spray come from an angle on the wall.

For the shower curtain:

Since your bathtub/shower wall is not standard, your shower curtain will not be standard. I searched high and low for a shower curtain that would meet my needs, but I guess there’s not a huge demand for L-shaped shower curtains. So I made one.

This is where you use the emt conduit pipe and clamps. Of course you need to measure your space to determine how long, where to bend, etc. I am aware that you can have the pipe bent with a nice curvy radius. The angle was too wide for my purposes, but I’ll keep looking to see if it can be bent at a shallower angle. You want to bend your pipe at 3 points. I can show you better than I can tell you:

 

shower curtain rod design

You will notice that there is not another pipe coming down from the left front corner. This has not affected the stability of the curtain rod even with 2 plastic and 1 cotton shower curtains hanging on it. I wouldn’t use it as a hang bar, but it works as-is. If you are seriously concerned, I would advise you to find a way to add a piece of pipe either going up or down to anchor it.

So once my pipe  was bent, I mounted onto the 2 full walls I had, using just 2 pipe clamps/straps, one on each end. I added shower curtains, and  ta-da!

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I now have a shower. Oh happy day.

This project, while fairly simple was really trial by fire (as I had tried a couple of other solutions previously). I may have glossd over a few points, so if you have questions, please ask, and I’ll give you my best answer!

what to do when

4 comments Add yours
  1. i think what you did is ingenious and i don’t think it looks as bad as you think it does i wish i had the brains like you do xx

  2. Seriously, I think we live in twin homes. I have one bathroom. The small tiles. The clawfoot tub (which I found in my parent’s backyard). And a strange way to shower. So I do understand your situation. I had a hard time keeping all the water from the shower inside the tub. Oh the stories I could tell. lol (On another side note, my tub is currently back outdoors. Getting my bathroom done!)

    You are a bonafide genius. Love the way you problem-solve. 🙂

  3. Why thank you Libby! I dunno about genius, but they do say necessity births inventions. So happy for you getting your bathroom done! The things I would do in this house if the Mister would only go along….

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