Hey all, I'm at a point in my 100-year-old bathroom demo and rehab that has me a bit stuck. I knew of this issue going in, but somehow I wrote it off as an easy fix and didn't really think out the details until now (the theme of many a DIY catastrophe, I know.) So, I turn to the wisdom and experience of the DIY chatroom.
A little background - this is a 5.5' x 8' bathroom in a 1916 Chicago brick two flat. I've been DIYing my way through lots of little issues, all the way up to my crowning achievement: gutting the kitchen and one bedroom, removing the pantry, and moving a wet wall. Then installing a whole new $$$ kitchen.
It's all gone relatively well, but I found a couple glaring errors I made in redoing the bathroom. The one I'm talking about here has to do with the tub. I'm reusing the very heavy cast iron drop-in tub that was here when I bought (not original; I'm sure that was an old claw-foot) as it is in good condition. So I finished the gutting, installed a new glass block window and a vent for a bathroom fan, tore out the 2" of concrete on the floor and the original porcelain mosaic tile (broke my heart, but there were floor issues, and ya gotta do what ya gotta do), replaced part of the original plank subfloor, and installed 2 layers of plywood on top of that, and rough framed the bathroom. Due to some plumbing and original framing issues, I had to move the north wall about 4 inches into the bathroom - no big deal. I then installed the tub, connected the plumbing, foamed underneath the tub, etc.
Ok, that was more than a little background, sorry. If you're still with me, here's where I find myself now.
You're looking at the southwest corner of the room. You can't see the north wall (where the faucet is) but the tub is snug against that wall. There is a tight 3.5" gap between the tub and the original 2" by 4" 2x4s. Note that they are 90 degrees off standard installation. Also note the "chicken wire" and plaster. Also note the chimney in the corner. This was for the original oil or coal fired boiler. It is only used now for venting gases from the natural gas heaters in the basement. The "rotated 2x4" wall with chicken wire is as such due to the wall in the dining room, built to accomodate a china cabinet / bureau /etc. :
My first idea was just to add some dimension to the original wall to make it fit the tub. I know, it's a cheap and easy way out, but hey, it's only a couple inches of floor space, so who will miss it?
Well, here's who: the steam radiator pipe.
If I bring the wall out, the radiator will not fit. And I ain't messin' with no old radiator pipes. So that simpleton idea is out. And to be honest, that probably isn't the "right" way to do it anyway. So, does anyone have a good idea for me regarding this gap? My main concern is the "face" of the tub. That small gap from the wall to the front of the tub is going to look terrible if I simply fill it in with drywall, tile, etc. Incidentally, the wall is going to be wainscotted, and the area around the tub will be tiled. I'm probably going to just drywall the ceiling over the tub, but I may get paranoid and durock/tile that too, even though it is at 8 feet.
Your ideas are welcome, and appreciated, thanks!