We are in the throes of what I would consider the tough part of this build (at least for me): making sure the technical requirements are aligned with the actual construction which is about to hit full throttle. It has made pulling the trigger a little tough at times as I am scared to death of doing something wrong that will result in a costly error (or of equal concern, will illicit an “I told you so” or “what were you thinking?” from my sweet but less engaged husband). As someone who probably shouldn’t be acting as her own general contractor, I am learning a lot but hopefully not at the cost of making a horrific mistake along the way.
One area I do consider to be a personal strength, however, is in finding those over-clichéd “diamonds in the rough.” I have already shared a few of them with you here through “look what I found” entries.
These might be items we can use in the construction of the house or as part of the décor once the structure is finally complete. No matter where I am, I seem to have an uncanny ability to unearth items that others might not give a second look and imagine “what if?” Sometimes that can result in an interesting but unusable relic that I need to then unload at the end of a project but generally I usually make things work in a way that makes people smile or at least say “I would never have thought of that.”
Finds for this house have been sourced from places as diverse as Craigslist, the Habitat for Humanity ReStore and an out of the way booth in a local antique mall.
One of my favorites is this. I knew that I wanted a big soaking tub for the master bedroom. I thought the internet might be a source to find such an item at a reasonable price. At a minimum I was sure that surfing the web would at least give me a point of reference in regard to pricing before visiting all the usual suspects.
But the treasure I unearthed after doing a quick search for “vintage claw foot tub” was mesmerizing, both in terms of its appearance and back story. An entry came up near the top of my search results that referenced a “steam punk” tub, a unique juxtaposition that compelled me to at least click through and see what appeared at the other end. Imagine my surprise when the image that popped up showed a steel tub with a rusted exterior patina sitting atop three metal wheels. The description authored by its owner on Craigslist, was equally intriguing. This tub was not a creation of an avant garde artist trying to assemble something simultaneously vintage and edgy. In actuality, this tub was the real deal, over 100 years old and found in a factory in the northeast. But what was up with those wheels? I sent a quick note to see if the item was still available (in fact the description mentioned there were several) and to ask some more fundamental questions about functionality and condition.
Ben of Housewerks Salvage in Baltimore told me that the tubs had been unearthed in a confectionary warehouse. A century ago, the company decided the best way to move their product around the factory floor would be in a container fashioned after an actual soaking tub. So the company brought in a claw foot tub to create a mold and build dozens of the tub transporters. They were used for decades, only retired for more modern methods a couple of years ago.
I immediately snatched up the tub you see here. I can’t think of anything more fitting than a steel tub for a steel house. We will seal the interior but leave the exterior in all of its rusty, imperfect glory.
And once I have gotten through the stress of construction in a couple of months, I can’t think of a better place to kick back, soak my tired bones and reflect on the process for better or worse.