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.

Kenmore Intuition 28014 Canister Vacuum Review

Kenmore Canister VacuumI was offered a chance to review a Kenmore vacuum cleaner and after a bit of research decided to try my first canister vacuum. Consumer Reports liked the Kenmore Intution 28014, I thought I might, too. We also have a flight of 14 stairs that’s easier to vacuum with a canister than a traditional upright. We also have hardwood or tile floors throughout the house and will be adding rugs eventually. The Intuition is well-suited to go from one surface to the other with ease.It also comes with pet-hair removal tools, whould I lose my sense and agree to the dog that everyone else in the house seems to want.

Given the shiny blue exterior and high tech look, I convinced my husband to give it a try. And after he vacuumed up I made him write a review. Score!

It’s probably cliché to review a vacuum cleaner by saying it sucks, but Kenmore’s Intuition really does. I haven’t used a canister vacuum since the 1970s. Owning one disappointed me because, with the stand-up version my mother had gotten rid of, I could pretend it was a microphone and perform my Elvis impersonation.

With the full brush head for carpets.

The Intuition not only picks up dirt and dust far better than I recall from the Gerald Ford era and anticipates our house full of hardwood floors, but comes with features that, while intuitive in some cases, certainly improve the vacuuming experience.
My wife, the blogstress, is nearly a foot shorter than me, and the Intuition comes with an easy-to-adjust telescoping extension wand. The two nozzles that come into contact with the floor nest into each other and snap easily into place. Well labeled foot pedals help identify how to take the wand out of the nozzle assembly, so you can attach accessories and go at harder-to-reach spots.

Attachments like brushes and crevice-getter-atters snap into pre-defined spaces in the body of the motor unit

With the smaller head for hard surfaces.

(which Kim calls “Scooter”). Not that you can’t lose them, but it’s just a little bit harder. The spring-loaded extension cord winds up at the press of a foot pedal and the buttons to turn the unit on and off and change from carpeted to hardwood floors are near your fingertips so that you don’t have to crouch down to do anything. A lit-up display explains what mode you’re in and how much sucking it is doing.

The canister body itself has a built-in handle and can be moved upright or lower to the ground. The unit is much lighter than I remember canisters being when I was 10 years old. Is it because of more plastic or because I’m bigger? Who knows?

In any case, the vacuum does a great job, especially on our stairs, which have always been difficult to clean. Hand vacs never have the power to do a decent job and uprights are difficult to manipulate on stairs. The Intuition with its extendable wand and extra-long hose have made it easy to safely and completely vacuum every part of the stairs. And because it’s light and compact enough, carrying it up and down the stairs is not at all a hassle and it consumes a modest amount of closet space.

This was the vacuum cleaner we’ve been waiting for to tackle our hardwood floors and stairs. We look forward to many years of keeping the house clean with it.

One-touch controls in the handle.

We were provided with this vacuum for cleaning and review purposes. The vacuum retails for roughly $450 and is available at Sears and through online retailers.

Plumber Buts

Living room or plumbing supply warehouse

Living room or plumbing supply warehouse?

The bathrooms are done! This being our third major plumbing project in less than a year, I have a few things to say about our plumbers. Read my column at Angie’s List to learn why each of my plumbers has a big but.

We still have to add a few accessories, and the final electrical inspection is today, but for the most part, DONE. Now that my living room no longer looks like this, it’s time to start thinking about a cushy couch, maybe a relaxing chair and a coordinating rug and then we start saving for college again.

Of course that last line is a joke. What middle class family can afford college these days? We opened accounts for the boys practically at birth and if we’re lucky, those funds could get them through a year of school.

But I digress. My main point is that I hope we can coast for a while and put our time and energy into planning things other than home improvements. What? Oh, hello two cars in the driveway each with more than 100K miles on them.

Don’t Let The Bedbugs Bite. We Have New Mattresses!

Serta Pefect Sleeper, Lasalle

The Teen’s new Serta mattress.

So the boys are at sleepaway camp in the Poconos and we get an email. Bedbugs have infiltrated their camp. Okay, not the whole camp. In fact the bugs were not spotted in either of my boys’ cabins (they brought in a drug bedbug-sniffing dog and everything), but still they were found in one or two bunks. With three lovely new Serta mattresses in the house, I needed to prevent a bedbug invasion. Once those little critters get in, it’s near impossible to get them out and I didn’t want my kids to get bitten fabulous new mattresses to get ruined.

I told the boys to leave their pillows at camp. One boy brought his pillow home, and the camp sent us the one that was left behind.

I told my younger son to leave his sleeping bag at camp because it’s a cheap little kid model that was destined for our garage sale pile, anyway. He brought it home. My older boy, the one with the new, adult-size sleeping bag, left his behind. He said this was because on packing day it disappeared from the spot it had been hanging in all session long and by the way, their campout was rained out so he never used it. The camp sent it to us with the pillow.

The camp also sent us, under separate cover, a pair of gym shoes my younger boy left behind. I’m pretty sure my shipping bills exceed the cost of the items.

But back to those bedbugs, the hypothetical ones that might have hitchhiked their way back to Chicago. I was going to protect my new mattresses at almost any cost. I scrapped my idea of wearing a giant plastic bag over my clothes when I greeted my boys at the airport. That seemed a little extreme. Instead, I brought a set of clothes for my boys and had them change in the car.

The clothes they’d been wearing went into a plastic bag in the trunk. I would have gone straight to a laundromat, but the one near our house was already closed for the day. Instead, everything went into our detached garage and as DH settled in the house with the boys, I began unpacking. I created piles of sheets, towels, shorts, undies, t-shirts and socks and bagged up each pile where it sat until I was able to wash it.

We turned up the temperature on our water heater and washed everything, no matter how delicate, on a long, hot cycle. After each load finished the wash, it went into the dryer for another long cycle (55-60 minutes) on hot. The items, even a stuffed animal, all survived the heat, but if there were any bedbugs, they would have been killed.

My younger son packed in a soft-sided duffle, which I put through the wash along with my older guy’s backpack. Both pieces came out fine. My older boy packed in a rolling duffle bag with metal parts that can’t make it through the wash, and has been sitting in a garbage bag in the garage. Assuming a family of chipmunks is not making its home in there, I’m going to try this anti-bed bug technique from Real Simple before I bring it back in the house.

So far, so good.

As a Serta Ambassador I want to tell you a little more about what I’m trying to protect.

My teen has a twin Serta Perfect Sleeper LaSalle with a plush top. (pictured above)It rests atop his already high platform bed and I jokingly refer it to is the “prince and the pea” mattress. I practically need a ladder to climb up on to it, it’s so deep and plush.

Serta icomfort "Prodigy"

His room is big enough for two beds, so he got to keep the old one. Sleepover time!

My tween is resting easy on a twinXL iComfort Prodigy. Unlike my fancy iComfort with the motion perfect base, which you can see here, his bed rests on a standard boxspring. Serta’s “cool action memory foam” is perfect for kids like him who tend to “sleep hot.” The mattress had a bit of “factory” smell, but that dissipated after we allowed it to air out.

The mattresses were delivered shortly before the boys left for various summer programs and camp, so they are just now truly settling in to them. And if we can get the boys to bed with lights out at a reasonable hour, they’ll be refreshed and ready for school each morning. Sweet dreams, indeed.

On a related note, Serta will be hosting a Twitter party (#Serta) on Tuesday, August 28 from 8-9 PM EST to discuss sleep tips, sleep habits and sleep struggles as we start a new school year. Join the conversation next Tuesday, as Serta Blog Ambassadors, @AudreyMcClellan and Vera @VeraSweeney lead the chat.

This post was written as part of my role as a Serta ambassador. I am compensated for my role, but all opinions are my own.


My Lady Garden and the One in Our Yard

lettuce crop

lettuce in the spring

The hot summer and our bathroom renovations dragged on and both depleted my energy and the will to blog about the house. I’ll whine blog about that later. My gardening philosophy is throw a few seeds (or starter plants from the nursery) in the ground, say a prayer and water as needed. The results are usually decent. DH really owns the garden here. It started out as a joint project, but I got pushed out. Or maybe I jumped ship as he was all too serious about it.

I did have a lady garden, though.

At any rate, with our warm spring, he planted early lettuce and it grew like gangbusters. We ate like happy bunnies. The results since then have been, uh, mixed. We were thrilled to pull our first carrot, tiny as it was. I should say that I’m not sure what variety he planted (the baby kind?) and that the soil might have been too packed too allow for optimal growth.


home grown carrot

first carrot

That was back around June. Yesterday, the Ukrainian grandma next door brought us these:

home grown carrots

They looked like normal carrots! What’s her Old World secret? We’ll never know; she doesn’t speak English.

She’s got a bumper crop of tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini and pretty much everything else she planted.

We’ve harvested a handful of sunflower seeds, two small red cabbages, 3 cukes and barely any tomatoes. Though we do have some promising Brussels sprouts growing. I’m most disappointed about the tomatoes. I love fresh Romas. DH likes variety: yellow tomatoes, peach tomatoes, purpleish tomatoes- he’s harvesting a few of each. But I don’t want a fuzzy orange tomato that’s sweet like a peach. I want a nice plump Roma. Guess which plant is not producing?

Oh well, it’s our first garden. There’s room to improve next year. Besides, the weather has cooled a bit and the season’s not over yet, so who knows what surprises Mother Nature may have in store for us?

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!