Monday, July 14, 2008

Long Drop Shower curtain

A cheap and easy alternative to the boring old shower rod and curtain.

Rather than the typical, enclosed on three sides type of surround that is common with a tub/shower combo, our world famous (or not) NYT-featured guest bathroom has a tub/shower set up that is open on two sides.

On purpose.

I haven't shown you much of it in the past because I still haven't decided what to do with the tub base which means that yes, it's unfinished, but hey, progress has been made. And the shower has technically been usable since we moved in, with the exception of not having a shower curtain, that is, so the impending arrival of a recent weekend houseguest (our first!) forced me to get going and get it together in the curtain-ing department.

The room has ~9'+ ceilings so between that and the open on two sides thing, I needed to get a little creative. Sure, there are 90 degree bend curtain rods out there, but they're ugly and cumbersome and..well...usual. Plus then I'd need "special, extra long shower curtains that still wouldn't be long enough and can't just be bought on a whim at Target (where I noticed you can now get PVC free liners!).
Not liking those options led me to investigating hospital cubicle curtain track systems and I had sort of decided that's what I wanted, but every time I sat down to get serious about buying the stuff, it seemed like it was going to be either too expensive or too ugly or too complicated when it should be simple...because it's just a shower curtain, not some OSHA approved industrial strength kind haz-mat, antibacterial kind of thing.

On the other hand, IKEA's awesome KVARTAL drapery hanging system has parts that allow a 90 degree bend and a ceiling mount application just like a hospital curtain track plus it's a nice, sleek look and I could go and buy it at the store instead of having to order and wait.
Problem solved.
So, a couple of hunks of the straight rail, one 90 degree elbow and some of the ceiling mounts that go with it all, and I was almost there.
Like any work that involves arms-above-head for extended periods of time, getting the track mounted on the ceiling was a bit of a pain and required two people, but it's a very simple system and a fairly straightforward, according-to-the-directions install. Just remember to feed the proper number of the little plastic glide thingies (see below) onto the track before you attach it to the mounts. (FYI, a regular shower curtain has 12 holes)

Then, on to actually hanging something from the newly installed track (while I let my arms rest).

The KVARTAL system offers a few different options for attaching the drapery depending on what type of panel you are using. In my case, I bought a package of these pictured below
and used both the glides and the hooks as IKEA calls them.
And from the hardware store, some bead chain and end thingies:

I was originally thinking I was going to order the chain online, in bulk, but I was pleasantly surprised to find my hardware store carries bead chain and a large variety of styles of ends in several different sizes. A little more money, but I could buy just as much as I needed. They keep it by the key stuff. Your mileage may vary.
Anyway, I got the largest gauge bead chain they had (this is totally an aesthetic choice as I'm sure even the finest gauge would be plenty strong) and enough of the eyelet shaped end pieces to use two per strand. The bead chain is easy to cut with a wire cutters, and the ends just snap right on and off.
When I got home, I cut my 36 feet of bead chain into appropriately sized, even lengths and snapped on the ends. Then one eyelet on each strand got a clip from the package of KVARTAL glide/clips. These end up just snapping right onto the glides you already installed in the track:

ignore the photo and leave the other end eyelet-free until you can loop it through the holes in the shower curtain. Then feed the end through the hole in the eyelet and attach it so that you've created a loop with the chain through the curtain hole:

Repeat. In my case, repeat 18 times, using one and a half shower curtains and liners:

and be sure and keep the other half of the cute, heavyweight stripey cotton shower curtain to make something else. Guest towels come to mind...


Anonymous Anonymous said...

this reminds me so of my bathroom in Germany. There, the tubs are usually open on two sides, if not on three.
However, what I’m really dying to see is, what you’ve done with your outside space, especially the terrace. Is the sail up, yet? The brick-oven?

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Splatgirl, this reminds me so of my bathroom in Germany. There, the tubs are usually open on two sides, if not on three.
However, what I’m really dying to see is, what you’ve done with your outside space, especially the terrace. Is the sail up, yet? The brick-oven?

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Splatgirl -- this looks wonderful. I am very impressed. How solid do you find the KVARTAL hardware? I assumed it was too flimsy for "hard use", but it would be perfect for a few projects in my home. Same as you I want the medical curtain simplicity without the hassle.


6:59 PM  
Blogger Wingpea said...

would this system work with heavy duck tarps? I'm trying to soundproof my studio

6:16 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

I don't know how it will stand up to hard use but I can see how it wouldn't. At worst, you'd have to replace the little plastic sliders which cost 2.99 for 24 or something.

yes, I think it would be fine for that. What I've got up with it is fairly heavy...two vinyl curtains plus the two outside curtains. You could always use more of the little slider thingies to distribute the weight better.

7:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see more photos of the tub area below, I'm trying to understand the whole set up. Looks great!

12:28 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

You are totally awesome. This looks great. I'd love to put you to work in my studio apartment. I'd like to have my office cordened off like this, but I am way lazier than you are! Great work.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks great, but I wonder about how well it slides? Is it smooth or do you have to tug? I always find high/heavy curtains difficult to slide open and closed.

6:04 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

this is a great solution to a problem that i've been unsuccessfully mulling over for ages. thanks for the tips! now i'm dying to know where you found that amazing stripey curtain - been seeking but not finding such a cute panel! thanks.

10:32 AM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

the brand name was Echo Home which I know is fairly common. I got them at Bed, Bath and Beyond...on clearance, so your mileage may vary.

Hi Sandi...sorry to forget about you. It slides really well. Better than I was expecting, actually.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Andy M. said...

Hi Splatgirl - I have a question unrelated to this post but couldn't find any other way to contact you. Let me start out by saying your house (and taste) is amazing.

We are in the process of building an ICF home as well (concretecasa is our site) and I really liked your use of the hardipanel and exposed fasteners. We talked to a siding contractor who was willing to do it, but he indicated that since the foam (we used Nudura forms) was waterproof, you didn't need any type of protection underneath or between the panels (e.g. Tyvek, flashing, caulk).

Did you use any type of additional waterproofing other than the horizontal flashing? Have you had any issues or concerns with the paneling?

Thanks in advance!


7:49 AM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Hello Andy.
Yes, that is the party line with all ICF products AFAIK, regardless of the siding choice. It even seems to be one of their bragging points.
As such, we did not use tyvek or the like and at this point I sort of think it was a mistake. Your mileage may vary. Please feel free to contact me at splatgirl at gmail dot com and I'll be happy to elaborate.

8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I discover your blog today ! great ideas. I love this one...

2:20 AM  
Blogger christina said...

I've been following your great blog for some time. I know this post is about your cool shower curtain, but I am going to return to your house construction for a moment. How is your roof holding up? Did you install a green roof system? We also have a low sloped commercial type roof- ours is modified bitumen with scuppers to take the water off. We have planned to use a lower roof as a terrace. The construction details didn't come together as clean as I would like. So I am just looking for feed back and info from others. I should post a comment on livemodern also to ask others.

Just curious about your roof?


10:07 AM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Hi Christina!
The roof is so far so good aside from a hopefully now fixed for good issue with the scuppers leaking. Evidently this is one of the problems with Duro-Last in this climate, that the only barrier between the membrane and the metal scupper flashing is caulk which does not play well with the expansion/contraction of the metal.
We have not installed any greenroof as of yet, although it's absolutely still part of the plan as time/money permit. The only issue I see with that is an aesthetic one in that where the membrane goes up and over the parapet walls is not all that attractive. Plus it's blinding white, so in the areas we use for living space up there, I'd definitely want to cover this with something that looks nicer. Bamboo matting maybe. Aside from that, it should be relatively plug and play once we get around to it, but stuff is always much simpler in my head than it ever turns out to be!

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Kvartal party!

We did the same thing, except used an extra-tall curtain instead of the extender chains. We didnt want to have a split curtain or the "stabilizer" rod in the middle.


8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did you attached ceiling fitting TO the ceiling??? There is only a small hole.... no idea how to do this, please explain! Thank you, thank you...

12:53 AM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

hi Lucy
I used butterfly style drwyall anchors, so I first removed the butterfly thingie from the screw, then threaded the standoff onto the screw followed by the butterfly part.

8:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

!!!!Thx... And thanks Google for placing link to your site at the beginning of my search... Yes, stupid question but still there was nowhere to ask about and I was desperate.
OK, must they be butterfly style anchors? I am usually avoiding them since they require a big hole to drill.
Thanks again.

1:17 PM  
Blogger splatgirl said...

Yea, they are not my anchor of choice for some things for that reason, too. I always just use whatever type requires the least amount of effort and still seems like it will provide enough support. So that judgement would be up to you. I do have pretty good luck with the metal screw in type, but since this was overhead it seemed like I should make extra sure and those would have required me to find longer screws with the same thread pitch (to account for the depth of the standoff) an that is a PITA.
I think those kind that are like a metal sheath with a screw inside them that smush into a star shape when you tighten the screw would be my next choice.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous elizabeth barry said...

Hi; Years ago I had to do something similar: needing a long curtain, I went to Jo-Anne's I think, and bought several yards of a heavy-duty synthetic white fabric - it looked wonderful; you can get the length you want, and get a little kit for banging in the grommets. I sewed it top and bottom and wherever, and it was fun, very calm, and I was thrilled to the gills to see it there, looking so official. I did not use Kvartal (which I'm researching right now, twenty years down the road) because I'd found a terrific old but still GREAT angled rod; none of this silly having to buy one made in three pieces that sag; this one was a big THANG that had to be fitted into the car; no prob though. and it looked great, did I say?

10:47 AM  

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