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Turn a Vintage Tub Into an Outdoor Hot Tub

4/26/2011 12:15:29 PM

Tags: clawfoot tubs, DIY hot tub, vintage tubs, Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailI want a hot tub. I can’t afford one right now, and my back garden really isn’t big enough to accommodate one. But I have a plan.

I first encountered the idea of planting a vintage clawfoot bathtub in the garden when I photographed artist Linda Drew’s wonderful straw bale home in northern California. This week I came across two more outdoor bathtubs, and that makes three—a trend! Kate and Jeff, who live off the grid near Taos, New Mexico, soak in hot water on cold winter nights in an old clawfoot tub that they picked up for $100. And Michele Holt of Austin, Texas, whose wonderful blog wabi-sabihomeandgarden chronicles her family's realistic and inspiring home renovation, made a clawfoot tub the centerpiece of her still-in-progress patio rehab.

Creating an “outdoor spa” is a great way to make use of ubiquitous cast-iron clawfoot tubs without the expense of super-restoration and installation that putting them indoors entails. And all three of these folks picked up their vintage tubs for $100 or less. I’m going shopping.

outdoor tub linda 

Linda’s outdoor “spa” sits in front of a gravel bag wall painted with an iron-based fertilizer and water. Photo by Matt Lankes 

 mann hot tubbing 

Jeff escapes a chilly night in a vintage “hot tub” heated by a wood fire. Photo courtesy of spa tub 

 In Austin, Texas, the Holts are making a vintage bathtub the centerpiece of their patio renovation. Photo courtesy of wabisabihomeandgarden 



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Post a comment below.

 

coboll
7/1/2013 1:38:01 PM
I would like to put a tub on the deck at our cabin in the woods. What type of chemicals should be used or is it not recommended??

coboll
7/1/2013 1:37:47 PM
I would like to put a tub on the deck at our cabin in the woods. What type of chemicals should be used or is it not recommended??

noexit23
5/25/2013 10:26:56 AM

Howdy Folks!  We've got one of these tubs on our deck and need to make a cover to keep the leaves and trash out when not in use.  Would anyone who also has an outdoor clawfoot care to share what they use as a cover as we're not quite sure what we want to use.  We tried a hand made vinyl cover with elastic around the bottom but it "bowed" in the middle and collected water.  Eventually it would collapse  inside the tub.  Any guidance is greatly welcomed.


noexit23
5/25/2013 10:25:44 AM

Howdy Folks!  We've got one of these tubs on our deck and need to make a cover to keep the leaves and trash out when not in use.  Would anyone who also has an outdoor clawfoot care to share what they use as a cover as we're not quite sure what we want to use.  We tried a hand made vinyl cover with elastic around the bottom but it "bowed" in the middle and collected water.  Eventually it would collapse  inside the tub.  Any guidance is greatly welcomed.


Mary Demattio
6/3/2012 11:52:12 AM
I've had an old claw foot tub in my "naked garden" to soak in for years and we are using 4 other claw foot tubs for raised beds in this years veggie garden. We have a small plumbing company and I refuse to let my husband scrap a good claw foot tub!

Frank Douglass
5/31/2012 5:10:00 PM
I live in the New Orleans area and am willing to take it off your hands. phileaux@hotmail.com

Jenna Hinds
5/31/2012 11:32:31 AM
Hi John, I have been looking for one of these tubs for awhile because I live in a 140 year old farm house and I want to put it in my bathroom. I want to bring it back to how it originally looked. The sink sounds great too. Where are you located? If we live close enough I would love to come and see them. My contact information is as follows. Best Regards, Jenna fireflyfarm2078@gmail.com

Celtic
5/31/2012 3:49:19 AM
Linda’s outdoor “spa” sits in front of a gravel bag wall painted with an iron-based fertilizer and water. Seriously? Painted with an Iron based Fertilizer? That sounds like "crappy" workmanship!!

Trish Widdershoven
5/30/2012 6:18:40 PM
WHERE ARE YOU jOHN??? I just might be able to help with getting that old tub out of your house for you!!!

John Woodward
5/30/2012 4:37:50 PM
i have one of these dinasaurs in my one bath, 4 bedroom, 100 year old house now, along with the orignal water closet pull chain elevated tank, which was moved down off the wall and set behind the toilet to "modernise" it. I'm 65 now and can't get in the monstrocty to even try to take a hand held shower in. It would take the fire department to get me out of this 125 gallon waste of cast iron junk if I ever got down in it. You want it? Come haul it off! it's all going to the dump if I could get someone to get it out for me.

Robyn Griggs Lawrence
5/12/2011 3:36:14 PM
Hi, Michael: I checked in with homeowners about the fire under the tub, and here's what they had to say: "The tub is up on a couple of boulders, and there is a pit dug out underneath for the fire. We burn the fire for an hour ahead of time and then it sits for another hour - you don't have an active fire while using the tub, as the metal gets quite hot. The water stays warm as the tub cools." So, Lupe, in answer to your question about using a tub with a base, I believe that would work fine as long as you elevate it. Hope that helps! Robyn

Lupe Rodriguez
5/6/2011 9:52:57 AM
sounds like a great project would this work with a tub that has a base

Michael_82
5/4/2011 9:25:26 PM
So... Where is the fire and how does it heat the water? That cartoon where the cannibals were cooking the hunters in the big vat comes to mind.

Teri Schneider
5/4/2011 12:39:24 PM
This is a fabulous idea! The first time I saw such thing was in a MaryJane's Farm magazine. MaryJane Butters is a creative woman who showed in the magazine just how it is done. Trying to talk my husband into it since we live out in the country. Believe me, I'm looking for the right tub at the moment!










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