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Help me save this 1950's pink bathroom and cinderella tub!

last month

I have a 1950's pink bathroom with a cinderella tub in an alcove. There is no shower head or separate shower, so currently that bathroom (the only one of the bedroom level) does not really work for day to day. I am trying to find a way to make it work, without having to demo everything and start new. The house was designed and built by the first owner, and the idea of destroying the bathroom breaks my heart. So I need some ideas and solutions....

I want to make the cinderella tub alcove ALSO work as a shower. But I am concerned about water damage longterm, leading to mold. Here is why:

The tub alcove has 4 x 4 pink tile half-way up the walls, with bullnose tile where the tile meets the walls. So in transforming it into a shower, the upper walls would be bare of tile or waterproofing, which is obviously not ok. I am also not entirely certain the tile that IS there is waterproof, as they constructed that area as a tub, so they may not have felt it needed a waterproof backing behind the tile. I have the same concern about waterproofing under the floor tile.

Here are my questions:

1) How likely is it that the tile surround IS water-tight, given the 1950s construction, supervised by the original owner? (I am including a photo of a similar bathroom where the tile has been removed. Based on where I removed the faucet to look behind our tile, our tile is similarly backed by a greyish hard substrate with embedded wire. I am not sure exactly what that is or if it is waterproof.)

2) Does anyone have any other suggestions for how to ensure water does not get on the walls or behind the tile, if the consensus is that the current tile is NOT waterproof? (one thing I considered was installing a hoop & surround shower curtain. From prior experience with a claw foot tub, I know my husband hates this solution. He feels it looks ugly and is uncomfortable, so I am certain he will eventually insist we demo the bathroom and build a proper shower. ) I need creative ideas to save this bathroom!

Thank you, everyone!

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