pastel colored toilet seatsI had to drive to Chicopee on Wednesday to get an insurance form stamped. I was not going to stop at the nearby Re-Store, because my Dear Husband would KILL ME if I rescued any more vintage and brought it into the house. But then you know what happened?

vintage 1980s chandelierThat darn expressway exit sign was all confusing and I got dumped RIGHT onto the street pointing toward the Re-Store.

vintage tole chandelier

It was just 5 minutes away. And I was going to have to Drive Right By. So I just had to stop.

vintage wagon wheel lightYou know? I just had to.

vintage soap dishesWell, and I’m glad I did. Because it was just a Re-store BONANZA.

restore habitat for humanityFirst of all, I need to clarify that my local Re-Store — which is about 50 minutes east of where I live, so I can only go there when I’m out that way for some reason anyway — isn’t called Re-Store anymore.

eco building bargains springfield massThere must have been some sort of issue, because now they are called CET Eco-Building Bargains. Sorry CET Eco-Building Bargains, but that doesn’t really roll off my tongue like ReStore Habitat for Humanity, so I am going to continue to call you by the name I have always known you by.

vintage emergency medical cabinetSuch are the difficulties of rebranding. I actually have had jobs where there have been Brand Meetings. And Brand Managers. And Brand Research. Gawd, I went to two separate weeks of Brand mega-training when I worked Ford.

antique hardwareStart talking about the “Brand” in a corporate meeting, and people run screaming.

vintage gothic church pewBut, now that I have my own brand — Retro Renovation — to protect and nurture, I actually understand all the brand stuff a lot better.

anaglypta wallpaperLike, the color of those petals around the “i” in Retro Renovation were very scrupulously chosen. To bring my brand to life. *angels start singing*

vintage wall switch platesRetro Renovation® is now Registered, too, didja know? I have a piece of paper and a $350 cancelled check from important United States of America officials to prove it.

NOS vintage bath tubsMess with my brand, and I mess with you.

vintage yellow whirlpool tub NOSOh, so what was I talking about?

master bath sinksThe ReStore in Springfield. It was a Re-Store Bonanza.

vintage sink topThere was a local plumbing store that was moving and they had “cleaned out their back room” and sent everything to ReStore.

vintage pink sinks with hudee ringThose are the words we love to hear: Cleaned out the back room.

vintage sinks at the Re-StoreThere were about 300 bathroom and kitchen faucets, NOS, I am not exaggerating. 300. Yes: 300.

NOS bath tubsThere were bath tubs NOS.

vintage sinks at the Re-StoreThere were sinks NOS.

vintage nutone and miami carey bathroom lightsThere were not any toilets NOS, as far as I could see.

nutone bathroom lightsBut, in the tent there were a gazillion NOS Nutone and Miami Carey bathroom lights. 

vintage plasticThere were CHURCH TOILET SEATS.

vintage nutone bathroom sconcesPiles and piles and piles of pastel colored toilet seats NOS.

vintage church toilet seatsNow mind you, a lot of this vintage bathroom stock looked like… 1980s, or even early 1990s.

pastel colored toilet seatsBut I have a big heart for anything “cleaned out of the back room” of a big ole plumbing supply company in Springfield, Mass.

vintage grey toilet seatWhy is it that this is such a fantastic Re-Store and that every time I visit there is more more more wonderfulness to ogle and to imagine renovating 37 more houses with?

vintage black toilet seatWell, the biggest volumes of vintage stuff are in cities that were prosperous and growing during the post-war era. Places that, also, were pretty well-populated already before the war started. They woulda had a jump start over places like California, for example, where everyone was new new new.

church toilet seatAround Springfield, there were military installations built for the war… lots of factories that pre-dated the war… and of course, Massachusetts had been well-populated already for like 200 years. Those Church toilet seats: Originally made in Massachusetts.

vintage metal awningDuring WWII, there was plenty of work in and around Springfield. All the citizesn saved their money, because they couldn’t spend it easily during the war and because that USED TO BE the American Way.

vintage tile at the Re-StoreAfter the War ended, they remained employed, as American industry returned its armament production to production of domestic goods. The BOOM was ON, and the population was already in Springfield (and similar cities) to take advantage of it.

vintage bathroom sinks at the re-storeSpringfielders started building, renovating, remodeling and otherwise spending… and this continued through, when? The 80s? When the manufacturing base started to move south and overseas.

vintage american standard bathroom sinkThere is A LOT of mid century stuff — mid century modest, especially — in cities like Springfield. Where an already large middle class exploded even further in the immediate aftermath of WWII.

Just look at ALL THIS STUFF. There was So Much Stuff that there was enough to let sit — in unopened boxes — for a couple of decades! Every week, readers send me more of these stories:

Keep sending me these stories, readers — I love them!

vintage avocado kitchen sinksCan you believe how many photos I took?

avocado kitchen sinkI have more, but I am going to wind down and show these: OH MY GOSH, FANTASTIC avocado kitchen sinks that held some kind of wacky faucet. I am pretty sure I have a photo of this design on my site somewhere. If anyone can find the story, can you add the link in a Comment? Thank you!

avocado kitchen sinkThe double bowl had a hold on it, or else I woulda had to buy it. Although I wonder, does it need a hudee? Where’s the hudee. Be sure to get your hudees. this was NEW OLD STOCK MINT. Can you believe it???
 vintage escutcheonI only spent $20 — about $10 on little somethings to make collages with and another $10 on a NOS Miami-Carey exhaust fan. nanananana. I will put it on ebay to help pay server costs.

I am glad I took a wrong turn.

  1. Julie Bush says:

    Love Habitat Re-Store in Louisville! It’s also a great place to purchase flowers, plants, etc. in the spring and summer. Lowe’s donates their flowers that they deem “not first rate” & with a little TLC – I’ve always managed to have beautiful flowers more than 70% off while helping a great organization.

  2. Andrea G. says:


    Thanks again for visiting us…and I’m sorry I missed you!

    First, some quickie info. on the name change: Our “ReStore” was actually never part of the Habitat for Humanity chain. When we started 10 years ago, there were only a handful of stores in the U.S. called “ReStore”—there are now around 100. Our name change is the result of our expansion into a larger, more accessible building (coming this Fall, and right around the corner from our current location!) and seeking a name that better explains who we are and what we do. Actually, our customers almost unanimously picked “EcoBuilding Bargains” from a series of focus groups we held. Hope this clears up some confusion! We are big fans of Habitat for Humanity and have partnered with them on several occasions, and obviously our missions are similar—to keep building materials out of the landfill.

    That being said, we’re huge fans of all things retro here, and we recognize that many customers aren’t looking for modern. Those pink drop-in sinks may stick around our sales floor longer than more modern white drop-ins, but when the right person comes in and squeals that is *EXACTLY* the sink they were looking for, something pretty magical happens!

    BTW: I spoke with one of our regulars who bought the avocado sink and told her that I had *just* read an article on RetroRenovation’s FB page about avocado green coming back—and when she was wondering what kind of faucet would fit I told her to check out your site and put the question out to the readers! Spreadin’ the love.

    Andrea G.
    EcoBuilding Bargains

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