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Redoing/restoring 1929 tub surround and plumbing--stumped

10 years ago

We want to do a simple redo on our bathroom tub area. We have very hard water and the plastic tub surround is just not cutting it, and our shower/tub plumbing has frozen into the shower postion. Prior to that I was replacing the tub faucet about every two years because it would start leaking and I would get water coming out of the faucet and shower head. It has a pull up stopper mechanism. We'd like to use both the shower and the tub faucet consistently, so our preference is a system with a lever instead of a stopper. But all the modern systems we see in the local showrooms use a stopper system, if that is how to describe it. Basically a stopper on the faucet to block the water from going into the tub, instead of a lever that closes a valve.

It's very hard to describe what we're up against so I am attaching photos. We want to keep the old cast iron tub, it works with the tiny space. We are removing the plastic tub surround and replacing it with ceramic tile. The tub is enclosed by two walls on two sides, but the side with the plumbing fixtures is weird. Looks like it was open at one time and an "L" shaped wall was constructed around it, and the shower was replumbed.

We don't know what to do--redo the weird "L" shaped wall and keep the plumbing there? If so, what type of plumbing options can we use? Or move the plumbing back to inside the tub, re-using the original holes. Not sure how good that would work either.

Has anyone had any experience with re-furbishing these old plumbing fixtures? Just not sure what parts we need and where to get them. I've looked at restoration hardware sites online and see tub fillers with an attachement for a shower, and what looks to be a valve, but not sure if that system works well, no experience with it. We'd like to keep the shower curtain rod and shower head and shower pole if possible. We will eventually reglaze the tub.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sort of what I'm envisioning, but I'm skeptical it would work

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