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Tank girl: Woman creates headboard, shower from farm supplies

Three years ago, Skyy McNair had the stairs torn out of her three-bedroom Fargo home. She ordered a custom headboard for her upstairs attic, and because it was so large, couldn't replace the stairs until it arrived. In the meantime, she, her husb...

Three years ago, Skyy McNair had the stairs torn out of her three-bedroom Fargo home.

She ordered a custom headboard for her upstairs attic, and because it was so large, couldn't replace the stairs until it arrived.

In the meantime, she, her husband and their two old cats made do with an extension ladder.

Twelve weeks later, the company called and said it could take another 16 weeks before the headboard would be delivered.

McNair, owner of Restyled Furnishings in downtown Fargo, said forget it and drove to Fleet Farm.

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"I got impatient and creative," she says.

There she bought a 374-gallon oval stock tank.

Yes, a metal tank that usually holds water for cows and horses.

"I wanted something inexpensive and quick, and I knew the size of it," she says.

She coated the top with weather-stripping to make it level and flipped it upside-down.

The tank is 7 feet wide -- just a little wider than their king-size bed -- 2 feet tall, and 27 inches deep. It cost less than $100.

"I really had to talk my husband into it," McNair says. "I told him in the end, if you don't like it we can take it outside, fill it with water and have a tub."

Now two lamps, a clock radio and a retro black phone sit atop the tank.

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The room, with maple hardwood floors and walls painted many shades of light brown, is filled with black and gray fabrics and silver accents. A metal wastebasket next to the bed mimics the lines of the tank.

Tank as a tub

The McNairs tackle a remodeling project in their home every two years. Last year was the kitchen, but they needed to recreate a bathroom next to their upstairs bedroom, too.

A tiny, impractical bathroom had been there before, but had been torn out and the space used as a workout room.

They'll expand that space next year, but McNair needed a quick fix in the meantime.

Her plumber and contractor "came back with the exact same shower I had torn out three years ago," McNair says, and they wanted her to pay $300 for it. So once again, she thought of the stock tank. She wouldn't actually use it as a bathtub, but as the shower base.

This time she bought a 100-gallon tank for about $40. Her plumber and contractor cut a hole in the bottom of the tank to match up with the drain, then lined the tank with rubber so it wouldn't leak, dry packed it and cemented it down.

Tom Spaeth, remodeling division manager with Accent Contracting, says the tank installation was something his company had never done before.

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"I think she came upon a lot of resistance from my carpenter that helped her out with this and my plumber," he says, "but with her encouragement, they tried it and it turned out well.

"It was actually a pretty simple process compared to putting in a full shower stall."

McNair still needs to tile the tank, although that is for aesthetics rather than function.

A shower ring holds the curtain, and magnetic clips keep it in place, attaching to a metal wall.

The bathroom is also adorned with silver accents, including an ornate framed mirror and a tackle box McNair painted silver and set on her vanity to hold her makeup.

McNair encourages homeowners to look to magazines, store displays and movie sets for inspiration.

An item "doesn't have to be used the way it's made to be used," she says.

Next, she plans to buy a baby pig feeder.

"I'm going to fill it with plants," she says.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5525

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