Category Archives: garage sale

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.

Bathroom Progress (or Not)

The bathrooms we started gutting back in early April are still gutted. Granted, every bit of piping including the main stack has been replaced. Out with the cast iron and galvanized steel and in with the PVC and copper. The HVAC and electrical have been updated, and because we’re going all legal with permits and such, we got ourselves sidetracked.

The electrical inspector (a woman!) raised an issue about the ventilation fan we had placed in our main floor bath which led to further questioning which led to us talking to the village and their inspection service which led us to needing to file for an insulation permit which led us to needing to hire someone to come in and apply toxic spray foam insulation (or rip out the studs and rebuild the room and get to use standard insulation).

Baby steps, people. Baby steps.

I will also note that my living room continues to look like a plumbing supply warehouse and the house is huge mess.

Oh, and our garage sale was a success, but here we are, what? 2-3 weeks later, already building up our next “garage sale” pile in the basement. And the garage hasn’t even been fully emptied from our last sale  despite two trips to the charity resale shop with donations.

Also, hubs got laid-off recently, but I’m mostly happy about that. He’s got time to finish the bathrooms now!



Garage Sale, Day 1

Today is the first day of our garage sale, so I’m keeping it simple on the blog. Earlier this week, the boys and I conjured up a great bit of summer fun with duct tape, a contractor trash bag and water.

Take a look at the Water Blob we made and let me know if you try this yourself. It was hours of fun using inexpensive materials we already had around the house. The fun was extended by the boys hovering over the computer creating mash-ups with the video segments I’d filmed. Best deal of the summer so far.

Stop by the garage sale if you’re a local. You’ll get the blog reader discount!

Big Week of Bloggy Fun Ahead

bob the builder or Hitler youth tattoo?

I thought a Bob the Builder tat would be a fun way to mark my blogaversary, but it looks more like Bob the Hitler Youth Guard. Crud.

Like my friend Tracey, I missed my blogaversary. I started Reluctant Renovator just over a year ago, a few nervous weeks before we closed on our house. What a year it’s been! But honestly, I don’t have time for a starry-eyed link-filled year in review post. I’m coming off of nearly two straight weeks of end of year performances, parties and events at night, work deadlines, not to mention a week-long biz trip for the hubs and a couple of local trade shows for me. The next couple of weeks bring a certain child’s 8th grade graduation(!), end of school for two kids, a synagogue retreat, a TV appearance for me(!), more work projects and a chance to be a fly on the wall citizen journalist at the upcoming Clinton Global Initiative meeting.

And let’s not forget a garage sale I very much hope will  take place on June 9– just in time to keep the growing pile of cast-offs from taking over our basement.

{deep, cleansing breath}

Anyway, about that blogaversary. It’s time to par-tay.

Virtually, of course. Hop on the happy train by taking a moment to de-lurk and reassure me that someone (something?) other than spambots frequent this blog.

The fun will continue this week with photos of me in a bathing suit (rawr) and chance for you to win a fab suit for your fine self. I’ll also be hosting other giveaways through the end of the month, so stay tuned!


Home Improvement, Self Improvement

While I’m working on our house, I figured it’s also a good time to work on myself and since the reno budget doesn’t have a “liposuction” line item, I’m trying to exercise at least 3-4 times a week and I joined Weight Watchers. It turns out one of my builders is on it, too. I signed on for a 20-week session with a local group. If nothing else, this will keep some of my stress eating and my holiday eating in check. In theory, the Plan A reno will be over before my session is

Earlier this year  WW came out with a new point system that’s much friendlier to short people (me) who only have a little bit of weight to lose (also me). I once flirted with the old system after seeing a colleague do well on it, but she was at least 10 inches taller than me and was trying to drop 80 or so pounds. She had a decent amount of points each day, but when we calculated my allowance, it seemed I would only be able to enjoy bread, water and air.

I have some research to do to acclimate to the Points Plus system and integrate it into my thinking and my diet. But I know this, vegetables and fruits are free. So when I wanted a snack yesterday and didn’t care to write it in my little food journal, I figured I’d snack on cauliflower. Without dip. Because surely the dip wouldn’t be free and then I’d have to do those point calculations.

So I nibbled on a few florettes (I’m a big veggie fan. Also a big cookie and chocolate fan, which is my downfall). That got boring quickly. Then I steamed the head of cauliflower and nibbled on a few more. Then I grabbed a chunk of a giant cookie my son and I baked the day before.

This might not bode well for my success* with the program.

Here are a few foodie finds from a recent garage sale shopping haul:


*The program allows for bonus points each week that can be used for little snacks like the bit of cookie. I lost more than 2 pounds my first week.

Disclosure: I have no official relationship with Weight Watchers beyond the fat (ha!) check I wrote them for the 20 week session.

Are you on Weight Watchers or some fitness plan? Any tips? My goal is to lose a total of 10-12 pounds.

Garage Sale Haul Weekend of September 10, 2011

shopping haul from garage saleThere weren’t a whole lot of garage sales taking place in the heat of the summer, but things seems to be picking up and last weekend I picked up a lot of things. It’s a joy to find items from our to-buy list, like lawn sprinkles and a fire pit, and get them on the cheap. But I acquired a few questionable items as well.

I now own quite a bit of fencing for next year’s garden, a small table that also makes a convenient chair or large step stool (handy when you are five feet small), and two new games. Anti-Monopoly II because according to the box it’s “totally different” than Anti-Monopoly I and for a single dollar figured I could afford to learn more about the game and Probe. Shah! It’s a word game. Am I the only one who played it as a child? That said, all I can remember about it is that I played it as a child.

I wished I’d taken a “before” picture of the fire pit because it was a rusty mess when we picked it up. But after a few hours of elbow grease and a fresh coat of high-temperature resistant spray paint, it’s looking pretty fine.

We also welcomed this salvage bit into our home. A small remnant of granite will top off the cabinet and it will be fabulous for…something.

cabinet picked from salvage pile

The grand total of this week’s haul?

Wait for it…


You get any good deals lately?