CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County Magistrate Kim Aaron said she got the idea to make a dog bed crafted from a claw-foot tub several months ago, while watching the television show "Salvage Dawgs."
"I was watching TV and I said, 'Oh I can do that!' So I took a picture of the screen and immediately got on Facebook asking if anyone had an old cast-iron tub."
She said most people wanted more for a tub than she was willing to invest in a dog bed, but eventually friends Dave and Amy Cotrill responded to Aaron's Facebook post. The couple offered her a 97-year-old tub that had been kept in a storage unit for several years.
The Cotrills met Aaron and her husband, Bob (WCHS TV-8 news reporter), at Bob Evans in South Charleston. From there the two couples proceeded a few miles to the storage unit where it took the four of them to load the tub into a borrowed pick-up truck.
Aaron paid $150 for the tub, which she estimates weighs more than 100 pounds. She said it was important to have a heavy-duty solid tub because she did not want it to be easily moved. When Aaron and her husband picked up the tub, she said it looked like "it had been spray painted by clowns on drugs." It was a variety of colors including orange inside.
Once she got the tub home to her carport, Aaron paid her neighbor to cut an opening in the side of the tub and to power wash it, which removed all of the paint. Neighbor Mark Jarrett also used a sander to round down the cut edges.
Aaron then painted the outside of the tub using an enamel finish and moved the tub inside to the living room to await its new resident, Pepper, a solid black American standard poodle. The Aarons purchased Pepper for $700 from a breeder in Jackson County.
Aaron purchased a custom made cushion and bolster from the Textile Mills in Spring Hill by tracing a brown paper template of the tub basin.
Aaron climbed in the tub to demonstrate how she, or her husband, spends their evenings training puppy Pepper to sit in her new bed.
When Pepper is full-grown she will weigh almost 70 pounds. Aaron said she chose to buy a standard poodle because of family allergies and because she wanted a "hearty, hypoallergenic" breed.
The experience of repurposing this cast-iron tub has given Aaron a fever for more up-cycling projects. She said in the future she plans to make a chaise-lounge for their bedroom and an outdoor decorative planter both from cast-iron tubs, but first she must find a supply of old claw-foot tubs.
Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at autumn.hopk...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.