noelle o designs

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I dream of summer- outdoor showers

Winter. She’s still looking pretty good at my house in the mountains but I’ve had to venture down into the winter inversion filled Salt Lake valley (nicknamed the “dirty dirty” this time of year by Park City locals) frequently and for boring reasons like taxes and the like. Record breaking bad air quality, smushy brownish melting piles of snow and accounting has made me reflect on warmer, greener climes and a simpler schedule those places bring.
Adding to my angst and worry- my 16 year old is leaving on Thursday for a 6 month foreign exchange in Costa Rica (more about that later), I’m trying to figure out how to fit into her suitcase.

If there’s one fantastic thing about summer and warm places ย it’s the water and more specifically outdoor showers on a hot summer day is what I long for… again.
Years ago we had an outdoor shower, at the first house house we owned. The house was over 100 years old and had capped off hot and cold water pipes coming right out of the back of the house to what once was perhaps a laundry room but was gone before we arrived. With minimal expenditure, we built a cedar fence enclosure, put down gravel then bricks (no drain) for the floor, extended the pipes and added a shower head for what became the envy of all our friends- not necessarily the neighbors- I think they assumed we were weirdos. We used it from April until October, then turned it off so the pipes wouldn’t freeze. When we sold the house, I think it was the first thing they tore out- who’s the weirdo now? I’ve always wanted another outdoor shower, even if the water is heated with one of those solar shower camping device. Washing that soap right out of your hair under a bright blue sky, sun rays beating down on you- euphoria.

outdoor-shower6source Very similar to the shower we once had, fenced in, with a changing area and bench.

outdoor showerThere are plenty of fancy outdoor showers out there, I’m going for beautiful simplicity.

simple swimming poolsource And maybe a pool someday, not too fancy, tiny or narrow and long for swimming laps.

outdoor shower1source From a hotel on Mykonos, Greece, an island we visited a few years back on a most excellent sailing adventure, I wish we’d visited this exact spot.

outdoor shower2source This is more like my climate, flora and fauna and what I’ll end up with someday, but seriously, loose the roof.

simple outdoor showersource I or you could totally make one of these. I’m planning it out in my head… it looks portable or moveable too.

outdoorshower3source Our old shower looked similar to this, but even less fancy.


4-outdoor-bathroomsource Taking it to the next level. See what you can do with a recycled toilet, some rocks and cement? I’m all over it.

outdoor-shower-5source Ok, you might need to be doing a little house remodeling for this one, but still fairly simple.

outdoor shower7source See how easy Martha makes it look?


  1. Patch

    February 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Hmmm, lovely idea but my neighbours would definitely think we are weird and might enjoy the spectacle too much also! It wouldn’t get much use even in the summer here the weather is so rubbish!

    1. NoelleOlpin

      February 4, 2013 at 5:57 pm

      Yes, you need some serious privacy landscaping or substantial space to give the outdoor shower the proper attention!

  2. kalamitykelli

    February 4, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I love them all! But our neighbors to the back might get an eye full since they have a 2 story house and we don’t! ๐Ÿ™‚ Of course, there was a time – eons ago – that I wouldn’t have cared. Hahahaha!

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