We’re in the fine-tuning…

We're in the fine-tuning fixtures stage of the remodel. Choosing faucets for the bathtubs (sadly, the ones that came with the clawfoots we're reusing are no longer up to code, and so we have to replace them -- expensive, sigh); deciding on where we want recessed medicine cabinets (oddly, almost nowhere, it turns out, which was not what I expected when I started the process); figuring out what goes on the master shower door. Which is where I could use some advice.

Here's the situation. It's a fairly large shower enclosure -- 3' x 5', I think. There's a large Gothic arched opening, set slightly off-center. Ideally, I would have liked to just leave the opening completely open (the way you have them in a spa, for example), but I don't think the enclosure is quite big enough that we can get away with that without some spray landing in the main bathroom. And since the floors are hardwood, even if we put a little rug in front of the door (which I imagine we will, for wet feet), it's probably wiser to have some sort of way of closing off the shower. Yes?

Now, most people would put a glass door there. But I don't like glass doors on showers. I find them either cheesy-looking (the 80s versions with the gold-tone trim) or overly-modern for my tastes (the sleek frameless ones). So I'd rather have a shower curtain, which also lets me change it out periodically as my tastes change. (Sadly, the John Robshaw Stone one I showed you earlier is completely out of stock. Argh!!! Very frustrating. Will have to keep looking for the perfect shower curtain.)

I was just going to hang a fabric curtain on the outside of the shower and figure that would be enough to catch a small amount of spray. I'd planned on a long shower rod, that was hung above the point of the Gothic doorway, and which extended to the right, so that the shower curtain could be swept entirely away from the opening most of the time, because I think the opening onto the quartzite tile will be very pretty, and I'd like to be able to see it when I'm in the bathroom. But Kev is worried that a fabric curtain won't be enough -- I guess that there will be enough water that it'll get sodden and drip down onto that little rug sitting on that wood floor. So he suggested hanging a liner. (I don't like plastic ones, so it'd probably be nylon.)

Okay, well and good, but then the liner would be outside the shower (along with the fabric curtain), and if water does spray, it'll drip down very smoothly, back onto the little rug and the wood floor below. So it seems like the logical solution (which Kev came up with), is to hang two rods -- one inside the shower, for the liner, and one on the outside, for the fabric curtain.

That would work, but now I'm wondering whether it would be tedious to use -- would we be constantly pulling aside two curtains (one after another), and then pulling them back? I guess you'd only pull the liner one closed after you got in, for functionality, which means you'd only pull that one open when you got out, which means you'd probably end up with the fabric one just pulled open most of the time. (Which would have still been nice with the Stone curtain, because it was still very pretty bunched up rather than spread out. But most shower curtains are less interesting when bunched up.)

We could also just skip the fabric curtain at that point, figuring that we'll keep the liner swept out of sight when we're not actually taking a shower, so we'll just have the pretty view directly into the tiled shower. But I do like the aesthetics of a fabric curtain; it brings some textile softness into the room.

Anyway, thoughts? I don't think I've ever seen a shower enclosure with a curtain before, and certainly not curtains mounted both inside and outside. Which makes me think I'm being dumb here. Or perhaps inspired. But probably dumb. Help?

To be clear, the options are:

a) no shower curtain at all
b) nylon shower liner just on the inside
c) fabric shower curtain just on the outside (my preferred option, if it would be sufficient to keep the water in)
d) liner and curtain, two rods, one inside, one outside

9 thoughts on “We’re in the fine-tuning…”

  1. Here’s my thought. Get one of those pivoting curtan rods from restoration hardware. They are attached only on one end and you can turn them 90 or 180 degrees so you can move them completely out of the way. Then I would use a typical fabric shower curtain plus plastic liner set up, and mount it inside the shower. While you are taking a shower, flip it around and cover the doorway. When you’re not taking a shower, leave it open and spa-like.

    I would not mount it outside the shower at all. You will have more water dripping than you think, and a rug won’t protect your wood floors, and you will have damage and you’ll be sad.

  2. Catherine — interesting idea. I should have mentioned perhaps the configuration of the shower. North wall is what you face when you step in through the opening. West wall has the fixtures. South wall has the opening. East wall has a window.

    So if I did the flipping thing, I think we’d lose a little light in the bathroom regularly, since the curtain would be covering the window. Which is maybe not a big deal, as there are three other windows in the bathroom. But something to think about.

    More of an issue, I think the fabric curtain would look a lot prettier on the outside, where you could see it all, in its draped, dramatic way, rather than just on the inside, where you would just see it through the Gothic opening. Does that make sense?

  3. I like Catherine’s idea. But even if you don’t do the swiveling rod thing, I think the cloth+liner shower curtain could still be a good idea—I think I’ve seen a bunch of bathtub curtains that hang both on one rod, so you open or close them together.

    See also, for example, a double hook.

  4. What Jed said. I have fabric + liner on the same rings and rod. It works because the fabric is quite thin, and takes up little space on the rings. The curtains are drawn most of the time to allow the liner to dry out properly, and I like the look of the diaphanous textile curtain.

    But I do agree that you’ll probably need to put the rod inside, unless you have a lip where you can lodge it after you close it.

  5. In a normal shower / bath combo, I usually do have fabric/liner on one rod. But I really don’t want to have fabric on the inside of the shower — if I had to do that, I’d rather just not have fabric at all.

  6. I think you should try hanging a cloth curtain on a rod outside the shower, and see how that works. If it leaks too much water out, add a nylon liner on the inside. If that turns out to be too much of a pain, move the cloth curtain to the inside as well. Keep it flexible, and experiment a bit, is my two cents.

  7. In my experience, nothing but a thick plastic curtain inside the shower really keeps water off the floor. The problem is that they are really hard to keep clean.

    An additional fabric curtain outisde is an aesthetic preference, which I certainly share.

  8. I think we’re going to go with irilyth’s plan (good plan!) and start with just the fabric curtain. I’ve actually used just a fabric curtain before and had no water on the floor, but it depends a lot on the angle of the showerhead, how the water sprays, and how thick / absorbent the fabric is.

    One or two showers should be enough to tell us if we need to add the liner, and if so, Pam’s guys will be around doing their two months of punch list, so we can just add it to the list. I think I was thinking I’d have to do it all at once, but then I remember that they’ll be in and out for a while after we move in.

    Thanks for all the thoughts, folks!

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