Category Archives: bath

Crane Drexel Post-WWII Sink for Sale

crane drexel sink

Crane Drexel sink, post-WWII

Designed by Henry Dreyfuss, the Retro Renovator call these sinks works of art. I call the Crane Drexel sink another treasure we removed from the former in-law kitchen, which is now our laundry room. Every now and again I remember to post it on CraigsList, but I haven’t marketed it very aggressively and duh, I’ve got this blog.

Are you looking for a 1950s Crane Drexel sink? Look no further!

Do you covet an old beauty like this post-WWII wall-mounted Crane Drexel sink with an integrated ceramic spout and a towel bar on each side? We’ve even got the legs!

Leave a comment or drop me a note at reluctantrenovator (at) hotmail (dot) com. Price is $225 or best offer. I’m in the Chicago area and not keen on shipping, can will do it for a fee.

crane Drexel sink

The wall-mounted Drexel has a half-moon bowl.


For a total of $226 (just one extra dollar!), I’ll toss in a vintage etch-glass mirror/recessed medicine cabinet. They make a lovely set, it’s just not the look we’re going for, not even in my old-fashioned office. The medicine cabinet comes with functional fluorescent side lights.

You may notice there are actually two mirrors in the photo below. One of the mirrors needs resilvering. I’ll throw that one in as a bonus. Note: extra shipping charges will be applied for each mirror.

vintage mirror

I know, bad pic. Nice mirror, though.


vintage mirror with lights

Last mirror standing. This is the one that needs resilvering.

The Blog is Fixed!

But my bathrooms are still out of commission. I laughed when I read about my friend Melisa’s bathroom renovation over at Suburban Scrawl. Granted, it didn’t take us as long as it took her to start the reno (11 years for her, just under 11 months for me), but we’ll see who finishes first. We’ve been encountering delays every step of the way.

At this point, we’ve got the tub surrounds and floors tiled, but we’re still waiting on plumbing trim that we ordered back in June. Although our plumber wanted to finish the job in one fell swoop, he may be amenable to getting the toilets and sinks installed and coming back to finish the showers. I can’t wait to have a main floor toilet again. Not only for my own use (my office adjacent to the loo), but so we can have guests over, without having them use the master bath.

Pictures (and parties!) soon. We’re almost there!

Bathroom Updates- Insulation

bathroom wall with insulationHere we are, just weeks away from me trying to get ourselves booked on one of HGTV’s DIY rescue shows, but the end is finally in site. That doesn’t mean we’re on the finishing touches. Rather, it means I can imagine us almost being at that point. The two bathrooms might actually be done by mid-August.

We’ve got walls up with a base coat paint and the tile installer is coming tomorrow to waterproof the tub surrounds and possibly prep the floors.

But this is what the main floor bath has looked like for, oh, the last 3-4 weeks.

This wall will soon be supporting a wall-mounted vanity and sink. Those two circles near the top will be lights and there will be a lovely surface mounted medicine cabinet between them. The blue stuff is denim insulation made from recycled blue jeans.

The yellow stuff on the exterior-facing wall below is spray foam that we had to pay pros to install because we couldn’t get the required insulation value in on our own due to the depth of the studs. And when I say required, yes there was an inspection.


bathroom wall with insulation


I’m sure the rooms are going to be quite lovely when they are done, but I can’t wait for them to be done. If nothing else, I look forward to using a toilet without having to head up 14 stairs, where the temperature is about 5 degrees warmer than it is on the main floor of the house, which we tend to keep at a toasty 79 degrees.

By the way, I recently mentioned in passing that DH had been laid off and I’m happy to report that gave him much-needed time to work on the bathrooms. He started his new job yesterday!


This Post is Brought to You by Depends

We finally have a plumber in here to work on the house’s two original bathrooms, and when I say work on the bathrooms, I mean replace the cast iron plumbing stack that runs from down in the basement up through our second-story roof, plus pretty much every other original pipe. Because we’re doing the demo ourselves, DH ripped out the toilets last weekend meaning I need to run up a flight of 14 stairs if I need to pee.

And I do mean run, because I turn into a Zombie when I’m at the computer and when it hits me that I’ve been making a mental note to take a pee break  for, oh, two or three hours, time is of the essence.

Happily, the plumbers are here now. I was worried the water would be shut off while they are working on the bathrooms, leaving me no choice but to depend on Depends. (Or pee into a cup and then dump the contents into the skunk den under our front stoop, but I think it only scares them if the urine has a high testosterone content. Also, the skunks occupy the den during the day so this idea is really a worthless idea all around).

Fortunately, the plumbers are able to keep the water running in other areas of the house.

I am so glad we’ve finally started moving ahead on the bathroom renos. We have many of our new fixtures sitting in the living room and the others are on order. After the plumbing rough-in inspection later this week, the electrician will take center stage. DH, AKA the general contractor, “indulged” me by going tile hunting the other day, but I don’t think I was being premature. I really hope to have everything up and running by July.

Follow Reluctant Renovator on Facebook for the latest updates on skunks, chipmunks and all of the other wildlife trying to #OccupyMyYard.

Bathroom Updates

I’d like to say these bathrooms are the last big projects on our radar, but that would be wishful thinking. We’ve got a ramshackle attached porch (the Chicago fridge) and an even ramshackle-ier garage, not to mention a front stoop with crumbling steps and a whole mess of critters who like to make their home underneath it. (See today’s Facebook update for the latest in Kim vs. Skunk.)

The two bathrooms are almost fully gutted. Hubs has been talking to a host of subcontractors with the goal of acting as the GC for this project. It’s going to save us money, but will take a lot more time and effort. Who knows? There could be some massive screw-up resulting in lots of fingerpointing amongst the crew and that could cost us extra money as well as time.

Uh, yeah, I’m not exactly enthusiastic about this effort. I mean, we started gutting the bathrooms on April 8–more than a month ago. It’s quite likely the renovation of these two small rooms will take as much or more time than our entire Plan A renovation.

On the bright side, our Mother’s Day gathering, indeed the day itself, was wonderful. The gutted bathrooms only posed a problem for one of my nieces.

And, skunk damage aside, we have a front lawn and our window treatments should arrive in the next week or so.

Slow and steady wins the race, right?

Happy Mother’s Day!

As a long-time mom, I decided to commemorate this Mother’s Day with a video of things I never expected to say as a parent, including those things (groan) my mom said to me that I swore I would not ever say to my kids. It’s in my DNA, people. I just can’t help myself.


I’m thrilled to be hosting a family gathering with my husband’s family–including his 90-something year-old grandmother (a neatnik who I hope will not have a heart or bladder attack when she goes to use the bathroom and sees it’s completely gutted), his parents, his sister’s family, my parents and my brother’s family.

And, no, that was not a sarcastic “thrilled.” It’s so wonderful to have a home and be able to share our food, our space, and our love.

It’s also nice to host a family gathering without worrying about someone storming out, making a fuss or causing a food fight. Well, we do have a rambunctious lot of kids ages 6-14, but hopefully they’ll be using their manners.

We’ll be serving salad with lettuce straight from our garden, my classic cucumber-tomato extravaganza,  guacamole, a lemon-cucumber-dill salad, a black-bean-roasted corn-avocado deal, lot of chips, grilled hot dogs, chicken sausages and chicken breast.

If the morning’s mild, sunny weather holds, we’ll be in for a great day.

However you celebrate, happy mother’s day!