Bathtub couches go from trash pile heap to living room chic

Ruff House Art, a local Lawrence company, takes discarded cast iron clawfoot bathtubs and turns them into chic couches. The company is competing in The Green is Universal Contest.

In today’s Town Talk, reporter Chad Lawhorn features a local Lawrence company that is making good – and stylish use – out of old bathtubs.

• It is a little bit bathtub and it is a little bit couch, and of course, something that unique also is a little bit Lawrence. A Lawrence-based company called Ruff House Art is gaining some national recognition for making couches out of old cast iron, claw foot bathtubs. The company is in a national “Green is Universal Contest” being sponsored by the online retail site Etsy and the Green is Universal web site.

The idea for a bathtub couch is the brainchild of Jill Morrison, who owns the company with her husband, Jared. Morrison had a career in the marketing industry as a designer, but then found herself out of a job as the economy soured. So, she decided to start her own business (we’re two for two in that category today). The business originally focused on custom-designed wedding invitations, but then she got the idea of bringing new life to old cast iron tubs that she says often times get tossed aside. (Well, not really tossed. I would hate to meet the guy who actually tosses a cast iron tub.) She notes that Audrey Hepburn lounged around in a bathtub couch in the movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and that got her to thinking about how her business could make the product. She says all the couches are made from tubs of the late 1800s or early 1900s, and are a very green product because they reuse something that otherwise would take up space in a landfill, or even worse, in a ditch or a hedge row somewhere.

You can vote for the product in the national competition here. (Note, it appears you have to log in and register on the web site to vote.)