what is this weird-ass shower?
June 29, 2021 9:52 AM   Subscribe

Found this shower in a hotel in California and cannot figure out why it was designed this way. Features: very deep tub (I stubbed my toe getting in at least once) A triangular column with little apparent function on the open side of the shower. Shower head in a weirdly recessed narrow nook. Please someone explain this shower design to me. It looks so deliberate but I cannot figure out what seems to be its specific purpose.

Features: deep tub (18") with angular edges (I stubbed my toe getting in at least once)

A tall triangular column with little apparent function save an overflow drain on right side of the open wall.

A smaller triangular bit on the left side of the open wall where the tub meets the wall.

Shower head is placed in a recessed narrow nook.

Please someone explain this shower design to me. It looks so deliberate but I cannot figure out what seems to be its specific purpose.

The entire hotel room features many examples of DIY design choices.
posted by zippy to Home & Garden (26 answers total)
 
That is screaming "we needed to put a shower in here but the room is a super-weird shape so we had to adjust".

Although, the smaller triangular bit seems to suggest this might also be intended as a seated bathtub, or a seat as a sit-down shower for someone with limited mobility. The showerhead is facing the smaller triangle, so the smaller triangle might be meant to be a seat? The weird shape would be its own issue, I grant.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:00 AM on June 29, 2021 [12 favorites]


I thought seat at first, too, but my ass would surely not fit on that! Maybe as a place to raise your foot when shaving your leg?
posted by QuakerMel at 10:04 AM on June 29, 2021 [5 favorites]


A guess, but - the high side is so that you have an option to use it as a seated bath, the triangle bit is a step to help you step in over the high side. And yeah, squeezed into a small/weird place, hence the angles on the wall where the shower head is. Maybe.
posted by penguin pie at 10:09 AM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


I bet there’s a tankless electric water heater in that triangular column. Soaker tubs and tankless electric water heaters are both pretty common in some places, maybe this is both at once.
posted by mhoye at 10:11 AM on June 29, 2021 [4 favorites]


Best answer: I'm seeing "Somebody said we had to put a bathtub and a shower, so we put a bathtub and shower".
posted by bleep at 10:11 AM on June 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: Bonus details: the room is a normal shape. The right side of the tub is against the exterior wood wall that shows no obvious access panel, exhaust stack, etc.
posted by zippy at 10:24 AM on June 29, 2021


How old is the building?
posted by fluttering hellfire at 10:31 AM on June 29, 2021


My guess is that whatever is on the other side of the wall (adjacent room's bath?) fits into that triangular wall for some reason.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 10:35 AM on June 29, 2021


Best answer: I cannot explain any of these terrible design choices confidently except the small triangular bit. That is a place for you to put your soap or bottle of shampoo etc upon. Why? I do not know. It makes no sense as you need to use a soap dish anyway. But I have lived with many of these recessed triangular bits in many showers with many different roommates and that is what humans seem to generally use them for.

I am sorry to say that because of my experiences living with many a vinyl "shower/tub combo from hell" I expected it to be a lot worse. Take a look at some of the bathrooms from pleasehatethesethings and you'll know why.

My sympathies for your toe. Bathrooms are cruel.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 10:41 AM on June 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


My bet is on floor to ceiling immovable pipe for something directly above your room. Maybe your room had a bunch of pipes drains or conduit running up/down? Wait, no - it stops before ceiling. Aaaugh.

Feels like a question that the hotel staff would have been asked enough that it might be part of front desk staff training. Call the front desk, who might be bored and willing to do some research or at least bug the maintenance staff when they come through.
posted by enfa at 10:49 AM on June 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


What intrigues me is that the bathtub looks like it's a premade, one-piece acrylic unit. Those aren't typically built custom on a one-off basis... at least I didn't think that they were. So I'm curious if all the bathtubs in the hotel are built like that, for some reason?
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:04 AM on June 29, 2021 [14 favorites]


That triangle is a bit like a shelf for your foot, to be used while shaving.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 11:06 AM on June 29, 2021 [6 favorites]


Best answer: Here are my totally just guesses:

The bathtub is nice and deep to allow people to actually soak in it. The slope of the side opposite of the shower is for leaning against. That little triangular cutout is for somewhere to set soap, razor, or even a drink without it dripping onto the floor.

That not dripping onto the floor? That ALSO explains both the recessed shower head and the funny triangular-ish extension to the wall that makes the nook - it's to help keep people from soaking the floor outside the shower when they angle the shower head too far toward the room. (Or even to prevent them from doing so deliberately...)

These thoughts are also supported by a couple other details. The overflow drain is nice and high, to allow a nice deep bath. The normal drain is very much at the lowest point in the tub, and even the sides of the tub are as angled and have lowered inside edges to encourage all water to flow to the drain and allow the tub to completely dry.

So, in short - that shower is designed for: 1) allowing people to enjoy a shower or deep bath, while 2) reducing risk of water damage and 3) being much easier and quicker for employees to clean than alternatives.
posted by stormyteal at 11:09 AM on June 29, 2021 [13 favorites]


I'd guess that the round plate on the wall above the drain once had some sort of hot tub/Jacuzzi type of pump or something to agitate or bubble the water.
Maybe some sort of decomissioned soaker tub (and behind that wall part was the pump/aerator).
posted by mdrew at 11:11 AM on June 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


I'd guess that the round plate on the wall above the drain once had some sort of hot tub/Jacuzzi type of pump or something to agitate or bubble the water.
Maybe some sort of decomissioned soaker tub (and behind that wall part was the pump/aerator).


It's possible, but I kind of doubt it. That's a standard 1960s-1970s overflow and integrated drain stopper. I think stormyteal has it. That's just a luxury 1960s-1970s integrated shower deep enough for an adult to bathe in.
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:37 AM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Seconding shelf for one's foot while leg shaving.
posted by cooker girl at 11:44 AM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


The recessed nook over the drain is odd. My only explanation is that maybe the ledge is wide enough to fit the hotel's shampoo bottles?
posted by hydra77 at 12:04 PM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Response by poster: Re recessed nook see also the one on the outside that runs from floor to top. Aesthetic design? functional? 🤷‍♂️
posted by zippy at 12:29 PM on June 29, 2021


Best answer: I think stormyteal has it or at least in the ball park. The recesses are likely for strength; a small bump like that makes a non-intuitively large difference to the rigidity of the panel increasing strength and resisting oil canning.
posted by Mitheral at 12:33 PM on June 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: To me, it looks like a tub designed to fit a particular space that was repurposed for use in this one, because of its unusual shape and made to fit the hotel space, or otherwise there was a redesign of the bathroom space out of some necessity as the floor and wall don't seem to align to the tub as a planned fixture. Perhaps there is another room in the hotel that once required an odd shape or this room did at one time, but the showerhead, faucet and control knobs look misplaced and/or mis-sized for the design as well.

Drains are more commonly under the faucet and that showerhead looks too small for the space its set into, where a bigger head would have made the space feel more built to its size and/or a separate larger tub faucet above the drain would have perhaps tied that recessed nook into the whole of the design better. All I can say for sure is that I've known a number of hotel owners who would jump at the chance to buy discount fixtures and furnishings if they could find them, and something that was planned for singular space that is no longer required would certainly come cheap if you aren't too particular about how it looks once it's installed.
posted by gusottertrout at 1:15 PM on June 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: The recessed panel directly above the drain and overflow drain is where they were expected to put the shower/tub faucet and controls. To shine the shower spray into the enclosure. Those designs also make it easier for dog washing or helping someone else bathe, being easier to reach/adjust for the assistant outside of the enclosure.
posted by janell at 2:16 PM on June 29, 2021 [3 favorites]


The ‘shelf’ or ‘step’ looks like it’s angled, so probably not for setting shampoo etc. on.

Since it’s diagonal from the recessed faucet, maybe the idea is to use the ‘shelf’ as a headrest, so you could stretch your feet out as long as possible within the tub, in order to get as much of your legs under water as possible.

On preview I was wondering if this design was something to do with a medical/caregiving context.
posted by soy bean at 2:22 PM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: The recessed panel directly above the drain and overflow drain is where they were expected to put the shower/tub faucet and controls.

Yeah, I think the question is why they didn't use that recessed area and/or why the drain was placed where it is. It all seems designed to fit a space where there was to be piping behind that triangular nook, out of necessity one assumes, but the hotel had the faucets and controls in the usual spot for rectangular tub shape and were either able to refit pipes to the drain or had the drain location determine this shape. I suspect the former, replacing an old tub, but I guess the latter is possible.
posted by gusottertrout at 2:31 PM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


The way the triangular column part is laid out, it makes me wonder if there was an intention for a more complex set of controls and/or showerhead arrangement, possibly with accessibility in mind? I do suspect that the enclosure isn't being used in the context it was designed for.
posted by Aleyn at 3:08 PM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


Best answer: If it were tile, I'd maybe agree that it's suboptimal because of the inherent shape of the room as people have been saying. But this is a surround unit! Pretty sure they don't make those custom room-by-room. If it was mass produced this way, I think stormyteal's reasoning is as good as you're likely to get. It's not what we're trained to expect, for sure, but who am I to say it doesn't work?
posted by rikschell at 3:46 PM on June 29, 2021 [2 favorites]


Best answer: Oh yeah! One more thought that I forgot to write earlier, and someone's mention of it reminded me. The regular drain does SEEM oddly placed... but it's not, for a couple of reasons. One, the entire tub shower was made as one piece, and that drain location has its own sloping portion to help it drain. Therefore, it was designed to be at the seemingly strange angle.

WHY is it at the strange spot, instead of under the shower head and controls? Because if it were back in the bottom of that recessed nook , it'd be much more difficult for the maids to reach to clean it. They'd have to either lean way in, or actually climb all the way in, risking injuries and wasting time, not to mention stepping in the shower with their shoes.

Ah, yes. And I remembered what those are called when they're added later. That odd triangle shape is like a built-in version of a splashguard.
posted by stormyteal at 10:12 PM on June 29, 2021 [1 favorite]


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