Friday, August 16, 2013

ReStore-ing the Master Bath

Anyone who has tackled any sort of restoration project in their home knows budgets can get out of control really fast.  We save a lot of money by doing all the work ourselves and borrowing tools when we can but costs always seem to pile up fast.  One of our money saving tricks without compromising quality is purchasing items from a ReStore.  I learned about the Habitat Humanity ReStore a few years ago and am now obsessed!  Basically, ReStores are nonprofit home improvement and donation stores for building materials, furniture, appliances and odds and ends.  I have seen anything from lighting to tiles, french doors, toilets, trim, stoves, cabinetry, dressers and dining sets.  Most items are "gently" used but sometimes a retailer will donate new items that they have an overstock of.  All the proceeds of the ReStore go back to Habitat for Humanity who help build homes in the community.

Most people know that I HATE bargain bin shopping- even more now that I have kids- but I don't mind the ReStore too much because they are usually organized pretty well and I usually find something to take home for a great price.  Even so, I have to gear up before I go into one with the kids because 2 normal children turn into 2 octopuses with 8 arms each grabbing everything within reach.  F gets strapped to me in the Ergo carrier and E goes in the stroller.  Still, we usually manage to knock over a display of doors or rearrange the knob bins while we are there.

Now with any kind of resale shop, you never know what they have at any given time until you get there.  I always keep a list of things we are looking for at any given time with measurements.  Right now, my list includes several light fixtures, shutters, exterior doors and storm doors.  Whenever I am in a town with a ReStore, I try to pop in and see if I find anything on my list.  In the past year, we have found several great items that have found their way into our remodeling projects.  Top of my list for the past year has been a white vanity sink for the master bath.  Currently, the sink has this 70s-beige disco thing going:

Actually, disco is even too nice.  It has a 70's-beige old person feel to it.  We knew from day one the bathroom needed a quick, inexpensive update so I have been looking for a new sink to replace the beige. On a trip to the ReStore in La Crosse a few months ago, we found this gem:
I loved the square shape of it and simple lines of the sink.  We ended up getting it for free because there is a crack down the left side of it.  Since it was free, we decided to take it and see if we could repair the crack- it is long but not deep.  I think the crack could have been fixed but the sink was not as large as the current one so Andy would have had to build a new vanity for it to sit on.  Doable but more time we don't have, so back to the drawing board.  (You may see this sink later though in another project because I still love it).

Last week, I was visiting family in Chicago so I stopped by the ReStore in Aurora, Illinois.  I love this ReStore because it is HUGE and has a ton of stock.  I hit pay-gold, finding 2 white sinks both the right size!!  (Imagine nerdy mommy dance in the middle of the aisle with F hanging on in the Ergo and E getting hangry in the stroller **hangry is our term for irrational anger due to hunger).  One was a shiny white; the other matte white.  After a quick call to Andy at work, we choose the matte finish.  Best part- the sink was $25 (and the money then goes to Habitat)!
After squeezing my new sink in the back of my Subaru, I was re-invigorated and determined to find a faucet.  I took a quick peek at the big-box home improvement websites and saw their basic faucets started at $30 and were really generic looking.  So, adding a faucet to my ReStore list, I decided to move on.  Luckily, since we have so many projects going, we are not in any huge rush to get started on the bathroom update- we figure when we find the pieces we need, we will get started.  After an unsuccessful stop at the Addison, Illinois ReStore, I headed back home.  A week later, we found ourselves back in La Crosse for some hiking and came across this gem:
I LOVE the double white handles and square faucet shape.  Can you see the price tag?  $15!! Money much better spent than the generic $30 new ones.  A good scrub with CLR and.... shiny you can see my camera in it!
So, now that we have all our pieces, I have Andy pulling the old sink off so he can put the new one on (I am hearing grumblings of glue...).  Also, we are setting aside our old sink and faucet to donate next time we are at a ReStore to help Habitat for Humanity continue to build homes for those in need.  The only thing I haven't found for the bathroom yet is a vanity light so if anyone sees a good one, send it my way!

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