September 15, 2023

The Classic Clawfoot Tub

By Sarah E.J. Williams
clawfoot tub inspiration

Clawfoot tubs were originally styled to resemble the look of furniture and are designed with either a talon and ball or a lion's paw. They originated in the Netherlands during the 1700s and quickly spread to other parts of Europe. By the 19th century, they had grown to be considered a status symbol as many people at the time didn’t even have indoor plumbing. 

blue clawfoot tub

Double Ended Tub - Picture via Pinterest

There are many reasons to love a clawfoot tub - not only are they beautiful but they are a timeless element to incorporate into any bathroom design. The fact that they are made of cast iron makes them extremely durable and functional. Cast iron absorbs the temperature of the water and therefore helps maintain the temperature of the water for a longer period of time. 

Another great attribute is that the outside of the tub is paintable and can be customized in any color to coordinate with the overall design of the space, which also means that if you decide to redesign your space again, the tub can easily adapt. This is great for those of us who would like to take a risk and choose a bold color but still have the option of choosing something a little more subtle down the road.

black clawfoot tub

Double Ended Tub - Picture via Pinterest

Depending on your space, you may choose to use them as a freestanding tub with a separate shower, however, they can also be used as part of a tub/shower combo in a smaller space. 

clawfoot tub

Single Ended Tub - Picture via Pinterest

Whether refinishing an antique tub or choosing a new design, there are many great options including flat rimmed, rounded edge, as well as single and double ended slipper. Single ended means that the faucet and drain are at the foot of the tub, whereas doubled ended tubs have the faucet and drain in the middle of the tub. When a tub is slippered, the sitting end(s) curve up, which also offers more neck support when soaking.

Another take on the original clawfoot tub, is the pedestal tub, which is simply the same tub without the legs and placed on a pedestal base for a slightly more built-in look.

Pedestal Tub

Pedestal Tub - Picture via Pinterest

If you're in the market for an antique tub to refinish, places to consider sourcing one from would be estate sales, antique markets, eBay or local building supply salvage yards. However, there are many new options that are designed using traditional methods. 

Here are a few of my recommendations if you’re interested in a new clawfoot tub that is antique inspired.

 Kohler Artifacts Clawfoot Tub

Watermark Fixtures Single Slipper Tub
Single Slipper Tub by Watermark Fixtures
Watermark Fixtures White Antique Inspired Tub
Double Ended Tub by Watermark Fixtures
Watermark Fixtures Short Clawfoot Tub
Short Single Ended Tub by Watermark Fixtures
Here is another beautiful option and unlike most clawfoot tubs, it is not made of cast iron but is instead made of copper and brass.
copper clawfoot tub
Natural Copper Tub by Watermark Fixtures

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