...because home doesn't happen overnight.

Recently, I’ve been sharing snippets of our master bathroom reno.

We’re this close to having a fully functioning bathroom in the Underdog! I should be able to post more progress pics later this week. The bathroom is one necessity almost crossed off our ‘Must-Have Before Move In’ list. Yippee!

Even though we have a second full bathroom {which will mainly serve our kiddos and guests} still in the gutted stage, we think we could realistically move into the Underdog without it being completed. We’re okay with sharing one bathroom for a while and finishing the other bath after we’ve moved in.

Even so, that’s not stopping us from brainstorming ideas for the kid/guest bathroom. One feature we want to incorporate into the kids’ bathroom is a vintage clawfoot tub that we bought on craigslist.

After a hauling snafu, we were left with a three-footed clawfoot tub. Handy Hubby was confident he could replace the broken foot. But a few weeks ago, a friend of mine in the design/event planning field – who knows me all too well – encouraged me to take a peek at page 121 of the March 2012 Martha Stewart Living glossy.

I don’t subscribe to Martha Stewart Living so I shelled out the $5 for the single issue. It was sooooo worth it.

There on page 121 was a vintage clawfoot tub that had been modernized by removing the traditional feet and replacing them with a wooden base instead. I was in awe. I showed it to HH and he said “I’m doing that.”

It looks as though our clawfoot tub will be getting declawed in the near future. I even went as far as to contact the designer whose tub was featured in the glossy. Turns out she’s one of my favorite professional interior designers of all time, Jessica Helgerson. You may have heard of her. She’s responsible for these lovely spaces…

Crazy good, right?

Anyhow, I contacted her since I read in the magazine that her own handy hubby had DIY’d the vintage tub’s wooden feet. Honestly, I didn’t expect to hear back from her. I mean, after all, I’m just a wannabe designer who writes a little blog and she’s this uber famous designer with professional training. Much to my surprise, Jessica replied to my brief email! Turns out the wooden feet are two pieces of douglas fir scribed to fit the bottom contour of the tub. Essentially, the wood base acts as a cradle to hold the tub. No adhesive, no welding required.

We’re so in. If all goes well, our vintage clawfoot tub will be getting a facelift footlift. I still plan to paint the exterior of the tub a charcoal gray. That, along with a new wooden base, should bring our craigslist find into line with our more modern aesthetic. See, some design ideas from the pros are applicable to us average peeps! You’ve just got to be on the lookout for them. Or have a friend with a good eye looking out for you. Thanks Stephanie!

What do you think? Have you seen clawfoot tubs with wooden bases before? This is the first I’ve heard of them but apparently they’re out there. Any other ideas for modernizing a clawfoot tub I should know about?

To check the rest of Jessica’s downsized cottage retreat, click here. I’m in love.

images: 1-4) Dana Miller for House*Tweaking 4-8 ) Lincoln Barbour Photo & Jessica Helgerson Interior Design



I love clawfoot tubs so I can’t wait to see the after. Great idea!!!


That is a great idea! Can’t wait to see how you guys do it.


Love that idea!! We are working on a bathroom right now as well, and have been fixing up a vintage clawfoot tub that we found on craigslist. It’s a lot more work than we expected to get all of the old paint off and fix the exterior, but it will be so worth it. Can’t wait to see more of your bathroom updates!

Wow, Jessica does great work judging by those photos! Really like that tub option.. wonder what wood you’ll use? Teak, cedar or even pine would probably be solid options for underneath a tub. I love carpentry projects!!


Love that. I can’t wait to see the end result!


Oh, I love Jessica Helgerson too. That second image of the living room is my all time favorite image (…of a living room… I guess)!! I LOVE it! What a great idea for the bath tub – it will look unique and solve your problem beautifully :)


This is brilliant. You are by far my favorite blog: honest, share lots of details- both design and daily life, and you are one sharp cookie!! Any kitchen updates or recent purchases you can share?


Love this idea! Great idea!


What an absolutely fabulous solution to something that could have been a negative situation. And how nice that the designer contacted you back with such good information. I checked out the link you posted and I think I want to steal everything about that house.


Love me some Jessica Helgerson design. The kitchen shot was the one to get me hooked. My hubs and I are also trying to plan a bathroom renovation… won’t quite be to the actual “doing” portion for some time. Anywho, I was thinking of modernizing a clawfoot tub and am so glad to see you’re going the same direction since I’ve been a somewhat silent follower (don’t know why) of your blog. (My husband thought he’d make a wooden tub, the woodworker he is but I couldn’t wrap my brain around it.) For some reason I kept focusing on making the parts around the tub more modern but the feet idea is genius.


I love this idea! its so old school meets modern and I certainly havent seen it done before!! Cant wait for the finished product!


That is SUCH a great idea! I have never seen that before. Claw foot tubs are great, but their claws tend to show the most wear, in my experience. Will be great to see how you do it.


This idea is kind of genius. I agree with Leese you write my favorite blog. I always leave reading your posts feeling inspired. Thanks for the wooden feet inspiration.


I love this solution! Perfect combination of vintage, modern, rustic, and clean. Can’t wait to see how it turns out for the kiddos


Think I would do teak or redwood footings over doug fir- more water resistant.
A big tub will be great for the kids, but I have lived with one and it’s a real pain to clean under/behind. I would try to raise up the base so the clearance is higher to make cleaning easier.


I hab clipped a picture like that before we moved for a future bathroom (you know, what we used to do before Pinterest ;)) but we ended up with a modern version of a clawfoot tub. I still love it though and I’m not surprised you love it too ! Take care !


Leese – Aw, you are too sweet. I’ve got yet another master bathroom update coming…the vanity, sink, faucet, shower fixtures and toilet (reused the old one) have been installed! HH is busy painting, cutting, installing, touching up and caulking baseboards…not super fun…but great progress nonetheless. I’ve been more into the nesting mood recently, getting things ready for this baby so I haven’t done a lot of shopping around BUT I can share some more recent purchases. I’ll keep you posted!


I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I think it’s a genius idea and I love the way the wood base looks with the tub.


just wanted to say i love claw foot bathtubs and i love jessica helgerson. this post was perfect.


So my husband is a design nut and showed me your blog and now I’m hooked. I just sent him this link (because he hasn’t read it yet) and said “You can only blame yourself for what I’m about to tell you. I want you to do this for our bathroom”. What an awesome idea! Can’t wait to see how yours turns out.


Using wood on that clawfoot tub is going to be awesome!! I can’t wait to see how you guys do it!

I’m drooling over my mind’s image of the charcoal tub with a warm wooden base. Gorgeous!


What a great idea! We also installed a Craigslist vintage clawfoot tub and discovered while refinishing it that the feet are really unique to each tub and each spot on the tub. We took them off to have them powder coated and then had quite the time getting them back on the exact spot – with one missing foot, it’s smart to find such an attractive alternative! Wish we would have seen this before last year.


You might want to consider using Ipe or Teak, for the base, both which you can seal. Both are beautiful woods but are great for outdoor projects or indoor ones where moisture (or water spilling over the side of the tub!) might come in contact with it. Dark wood, with the grey tub, will add an even more modern touch.


Have you thought of using chalkboard paint for the bottom of the tub? I saw that used in a kids bath somewhere and cannot, for the life of me, remember where. It was so cute with messages written on the tub for the kiddos.

I absolutely love it! The wood is a gorgeous idea!


I’ve been spotting this trend lately and have a few similar wood feet ideas that I’ve saved on Pinterest. I’m very jealous of your clawfoot tub find and can’t wait to see how the wood supports turn out! See more examples I have here:


Macy – Thanks for the added imagery!! I knew there had to be others out there since a completely original design idea almost never exists nowadays with all the sharing going on. I love each of those tubs! The first one will be most similar to ours, I think. I plan on painting the exterior a contrasting color like charcoal or black.


PAppel – I have thought of chalkboard paint! That’s definitely the ‘color’ I’m shooting for. Just not sure how easy it would be to clean since it’s flat. That would be my only concern. Thanks for the idea!! I’ll keep you posted on what we decide.


Jen – It’s always fun to hear that there are male H*T fans! Makes HH feel not so lonesome ;) I’m hoping over the next few months for HH to get a little more involved on the blog with a regular ‘ask HH’ post. Maybe after we move and get settled in with the new baby.


Be sure to update us on how it’s working out with the boys. I really wanted a claw foot tub in the kids bathroom, but their baths end with more water outside the tub than inside so I just couldn’t fathom figuring out how to clean behind it. Tis life though I guess…..can’t wait to see how it all turns out!


Hey Dana, excellent idea with the wooden tub base. I don’t know what kind of wood is ideal, but I like dark walnut. We have it as our feet for our couch and it looks superfine. Might be nice with your charcoal paint. Love the clawfoot tubs, we had one in our old house on S. Main Street. Love your blog, you’re so brave for doing this! Was thinking of starting a food blog myself. Anywho, sending good thoughts your way for a healthy delivery when the time comes!


Oh I love the idea! It will definitely give the tub a more modern and natural feel.. Can’t wait to see it, I’m sure it’ll be perfect.


My wife and I are redoing out boys bathroom and purchased a clawfoot tub just like yours. I want to do the same kind of support using wood but all the pics I see are of tubs with the drain in the center of the tub. How does you HH plan on doing these supports with the drain at the end of the tub? It would be very helpful if HH shared his design plan. Excited to see the finished product.


I restore clawfoot tubs here in Boston, and have bought my share of Craigslist tubs with broken/missing feet. The feet and the cleats on the underside of the tub to hold these feet vary widely, so you need to be cautious in replacing a foot. The feet are typically stamped on the inside with a number or letter (or combination of both). The four feet are usually the same, although the rear feet are sometimes a bit longer (sometimes marked with an “L”) than the front feet to allow proper draining of the tub. There’s a place called New England Demolition and Salvage in New Bedford, MA that has bins of claw feet for sale for $25 each. I’ve also found feet at yard sales, antique shops, eBay, Craigslist, etc. I know that you’re probably going to go with the wooden feet option, but just thought I’d throw out another option for you. Good luck with the project and thank you for saving a clawfoot tub. PS – if you’re going to sand before repainting the exterior, assume that the paint is lead paint and use care during its removal.


Thanks for all the tub advice, Sean!


I am excited to see the result!! :) I just soo love tubs..


I just stumbled across an old de-clawed clawfoot tub in my woods recently and have decided that I want to fix it up. Only… it has no feet! No idea how it got in the middle of the woods, or where along the way it lost its feet… But I’d love to know how you built your wooden base! That’s right up my alley, design wise. Do you have any dimensions/instructions from when you and your husband built it? (Buying replacement claw feet is surprisingly expensive!)


Our second bathroom is still gutted! So many other projects taking priority while we share our single master bathroom. When we get to it, I’ll be posting how we mount the tub.


Hi. We reside in a 100 year old home with 3 claw foot tubs. One had a pedastal base instead, so when we redid the floor with green onyx, I wanted as much of that floor to show, so I added feet. http://www.vandykes.com/universal-replacement-clawfoot-tub-cradle-kit/p/702994/ I bought these puppies, which strap on. 3 years later, they are still holding. For the downstairs bath, my brother slipped in the tub, knocked the tub catty wampus and now, a leg keeps coming off. I want to do a wood base for it. I am going to see if the Ceviot Regal with wood base tub folks can just sell me that wood base. Good luck to you.


Love this idea. While visiting my son and his wife I found a tub buried in their yard ( to the rim). We dug it up. It had none of its feet. I love the wood idea. I have been in discussion with a local steel shop to build a rusted iron frame/cradle. Hmmm now you have me thinking or at least comparing pricing.


[…] – claw foot tub with wood base Do you remember the claw foot tub we found on craigslist? It had four feet when we bought it, three feet when we got it home and now […]


Hi! Any chance you’ve mounted your tub? I’m in the process of doing this and am wondering how your tub turned out and if you have any tips. Thanks!


[…] seal the walls, install baseboards and caulk. (The floor is already sealed.) Then we start work on the tub. We’re equal parts stoked : horrified. Especially considering what happened the last time we […]


[…] we started this tub escapade over two years ago (!), we were inspired by a similar cradle base created by none other than Jessica Helgerson and her handy husband. At the time, I shot Jessica an […]


[…] *https://www.housetweaking.com/2012/03/20/a-clawfoot-tub-declawed/ […]