Handled That

by Cait

With the holiday, we didn’t really do anything project-wise over the weekend other than pricing/planning the shower plumbing. While we were looking at galvanized pipe we noticed that the $11-each handles I saw on the Lowe’s website were special order, so I got to work hunting down two vintage shower handles on eBay for $7.50 (that includes shipping). Score!

Though we have yet to measure or talk to Ryan, our current plumbing plans are sort of a cross between these designs (below). Fortunately for us our shower won’t cost as much as either of those.



Ideally I’d like a porcelain or metal handle that says “shower” for our shower diverter (like the second picture), but if we can’t find one we’ll use some sort of gate valve (as opposed to the ball valves in the first picture). I’m only slightly bitter that I missed out on the handle below (it came with a “hot” handle that we didn’t need, though, so I guess it’s ok).


So, until I find what we want (or am convinced that something else will do), I am That Person who emails eBay sellers, vintage hardware websites, etc asking is they have a single porcelain shower handle they’re willing to sell me. Ugh. I wish there was a good architectural salvage place around here somewhere! Here’s hoping that all the begging/pleading/emailing pays off (or I’ll just say “screw it” and special order two of these or rig up a gate valve & a hose bib handle).

Is anyone else neurotic about details like this? Hopefully I am not the only one… Until then, I’ll the crazy woman wandering the plumbing aisles.

Edit: Mariah at Historic Houseparts has been so helpful in answering all of my questions. If you’re looking for anything specific be sure to check them out, and also their plumbing division Period Bath Supply Company. They even have air vents like the ones I was looking at a while back.

13 Responses to “Handled That”

  1. Those are fantastic! I’m planning on stopping by a great store in Rochester that probably has exactly what you need. If I see something in person I’ll send you a photo and any important info, but in the interim, you can browse lots of their inventory online too – here’s the link: http://store.rehouseny.com/

    • That would be awesome, Emily! I’m actually emailing another place in Rochester (I guess y’all are the place for historic plumbing?), but if you see anything there please let me know!

  2. What’s the other Rochester shop? I didn’t know we were a mecca for this stuff.

  3. LOVE the vintage shower handles! I really want to have a vintage bathroom, but BF won’t go for that stuff. Maybe if I bribed him with Taco Bell.

  4. Totally LOVING the vintage knobs!!! Wish I could find some amazing resources like you guys have, but out here in Cali… :(

    • Thanks Ashley! Oh, I haven’t been able to find anything locally (maybe I need to try harder). The best resources we seem to have are Goodwill and ReStore. I think Emily lives in the/a mecca for all things vintage plumbing.

      If you are anywhere near Sacramento you might check out this place.

  5. These are great. I need to start using ebay more because they have great finds. Love seeing the progress.

    • Thanks Jordan! I find eBay kind of hit-or-miss, but after a lot if searching I found the handles we wanted (not the shower one yet, but that’s ok). Good luck!

  6. You could always DIY a plain white handle with a “Shower” label! I don’t see why you couldn’t just print out some letters and seal them on. It’d make for a pretty interesting blog post too, don’t ya think? ;D


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