The Trouble with Tubs

I’d be lying if I said there weren’t a lot of dreams crushed in the Kenwood house. I watch HGTV and DIY and those guys that build tree houses and am inspired to salvage EVERYTHING. When I walked into Kenwood last spring, one of the first things I said was “awesome tubs!” How charming! A 19th century house that has the original tubs, what a great story for the new homeowners when we’re done! Then demo happened and we went to move these massive tubs and one fell over on its side – it was missing feet, no big deal – I’ll just find another set of feet! Then, plumbing happened and we found out that the existing holes for the fixtures weren’t going to work so we’d have to have two faucets: one that works and one that’s fake – okay, it’s still barely under what a new tub would cost? Then, we realized that the tubs have a very thick lip on them. This lip makes the 5 foot tub a 5’3 foot tub which makes it too big for the 3rd floor bathroom – dreams crushed. New tubs.


So, while licking my wounds (and maybe my ego), I then began the task of what the *unnecessary explicative* am I going to do with these tubs?! Now I have to get rid of them and I am NOT sending 600lbs of cast iron and porcelain into some landfill. I called around and apparently no one wants clawfoot tubs that don’t have feet. Then, I met Landon. Landon works at Rebuilding Exchange which is a non-profit that salvages architectural materials and sells them at their retail store downtown. Not only do they re-purpose what most of us leave behind, they also train individuals in Chicago with barriers to employment and teach them carpentry skills among other things. I don’t think I’ve mentioned this before – my Michael is Head Coach for After School Matters which gives inner city kids jobs where they learn how to sail and train to be sailing instructors for handicapped sailors over the summer (which he has also coached for the past few years).


I am a huge believer in teaching trades and think it can and will change the world, one skill set at a time. There is nothing in my mind more tangible and rewarding than construction. Needless to say, Rebuilding Exchange warmed my heart quickly and I felt my wounds starting to heal. So, Landon says that he will take both the tubs and we just need to get them on the ground floor. Yay!

So, I run to the house and tell Sebastien I need the tubs on the ground floor. He looks at me, bewildered, then pauses, then says “Okay, I need 2 or 3 other guys – no problem”, and smiles. That weekend, Chicago became Chiberia and we had to shut the house down and burrow into our respective comforters for a few days. Since we were delayed on insulation and drywall, I didn’t have my guys in the house doing finish carpentry so I didn’t have “2-3 guys” to bring those tubs down. I only had one option – make my eyes as wide as possible and look longingly at my spry, able-bodied investor….

…and here he is bringing the tub down the stairs! What a guy.


So, Landon’s guys picked up the tubs and they are looking towards a new life in new homes.

You can find Landon and Rebuilding Exchange at: They’re also on a tv show called Weekend Workbench and you can follow them on tumblr.

They are having an event on March 22nd, go check them out and see their custom furniture! Also, give them money! Their mission benefits all of us.

In other news, since Chibera I have found this at our next property:


C’mon guys, if you’re going to loiter – drink ALL the liquor in the bottle! I mean, really, that’s insulting.

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