English/Victorian Exposed Shower Plumbing

Exposed shower plumbing was a trendy choice here in the U.S. when we remodeled our master bathroom nine years ago. The look is industrial, it’s vintage, it’s a little bit country depending on the finish you choose. It’s often imported from England by brands like Rohl, Samuel Heath or Perrin & Rowe. It’s a design choice in the U.S., but in India it’s a necessity. Both our bathrooms in our Chennai apartment require exposed plumbing and pipes. Exposed shower plumbing looks like this:

Exposed Shower Plumbing

True to the name, the pipes are exposed on the outside of the wall.

It’s also called exposed thermostatic system.

The exposed shower plumbing choices we’ve seen so far in Chennai showrooms are very chunky looking and they’re nearly always shiny chrome. Contemporary shiny things are popular there. There’s limited design options available especially if you want an oil rubbed bronze, or a soft brushed brass look like this unlacquered brass from Waterworks:

Waterworks Unlacquered Brass

If you can get these finishes in Chennai, they will be special ordered and we will be there only 2.5 weeks and really want a shower while we’re there. Surely everyone around us will appreciate it if we shower too. So there’s no time for special orders. So I’m seeking shower plumbing in the U.S. to haul over in suitcases. !!! Yes. We fly Etihad and we get four large check-in suitcases between the two of us with 200 pounds of stuff for no charge. You can easily take bathroom sconce lighting, plumbing, sewing machine, drilling tools … yes that is our vacation packing list right now!

While we installed Rohl in our Chicago area home, the quality and cost were worth it in a master bath we use several times daily. But for only very occasional use in our place in India, the more upscale brands like Rohl, Perrin & Rowe and Waterworks are way too pricey. We also don’t want to risk getting docked for import taxes while bringing expensive plumbing into India. So I’m seeking other brands this weekend, and meanwhile finding the coolest showers with exposed plumbing …

Exposed Shower Plumbing

Shower Plumbing Exposed

You can also build an exposed shower system yourself with copper pipes. In the right setting, usually very simple and purposely understated, it can look charming versus just cheap DIY.



So wish me luck. I hope we’re hauling finished shower pipe systems on Etihad instead of rigging up copper pipes in a pinch!


Did you like this post? Don't miss out on more:

What topics interest you?

9 Replies to “English/Victorian Exposed Shower Plumbing”

  1. Hello,
    The brass exposed thermostatic shower fixture is amazing. I have been unable to locate this item online, would you mind sharing where i can locate this? It is for a private residence.
    Thank you,
    Lane Walters

  2. Hey Deb, thanks for sharing …

    I found it really interesting, some of the designs they really look beautiful … and the best thing is … if you have any plumbing issues later on … you don’t have to break any wall down :)

    Very good taste!

    1. Glad you liked the exposed pipe ideas. And yes, our place in India has thick concrete walls — it’s a mess to break through them. Plus the concrete is tiled in the bathrooms. And the water is tough there, pipes break down. So the exposed pipes are a great solution for inevitable future problems!

  3. Hi Deb, thanks for the reply.

    I want to congratulate you for your blog, it’s really cool.
    Although I love to do DIY , my kind of DIY it’s a bit more dirty and heavy style DIY like construction and building, but I love to check out decoration ideas as well, because that helps me expand my vision when I do a project.

    I’ve looked at your older part of the blog, “India pied-a-terre construction” and I loved the style of the guest bathroom. It looks so nice, I bet your guests are more than happy with that bathroom :
    Those builders are such a mess :) … I know you said you are working for a safety organisation, myself I am Safety Rep, and when I looked at your video on how they worked and left all those tools and materials on the floor … oh my God :) but they are famous for the lack of safety at work in Asia … culture is one thing and safety is another, well done you kept your shoes one for your own safety.

    I will love to see more of your DIY projects like this one Deb, I am going to keep an eye on your blog for new posts!

    Happy New Year :)

    1. Thank you Adrian! Yes, there are safety surprises all around, everywhere in India! We have a nice new ladder but the painters didn’t want to use it. Ironically they felt safer standing on things that were balanced on the top of a barrel, high enough for them to reach 10 feet up. I have tried to show them safer ways but there is only so much you can do!

  4. haha … you made me laugh Deb!

    For a second it came to mind a circus picture where you have all this guys climbing on things that are not safe … but at least, if you didn’t had anyone injured whilst working on your premises … that is all it matters as far as it concern you I believe!

    But all in all … excellent post and I hope to see more DIY construction or building on your blog very soon! I’ll keep an eye :)

    BTW … Happy New Year!

  5. I LOVE the look of the exposed plumbing. It’s elegant and beautiful. It should be matched with every claw foot tub.

  6. I wish this will prompt some agency to import these for domestic consumption. Lesser mortals like us don’t have multiple residences across continents

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *