Retro renovations

Toilets

Toilets: Buy new.
Why: Otherwise, you're flushing away money.

Philadelphia Salvage Co. is an architectural salvage and industrial design shop in Philadelphia. This place is a wonderland of days gone by, but the shop's bathroom is outfitted with a new toilet because old ones just aren't worth saving.

"The No. 1 place where there's leaks in the house: It's toilets," says owner Chris Stock. And if you've ever dealt with a bathroom leak, especially one on an upper floor, you know how expensive repairs can be.

Most toilets made before 1992 are also water wasters — they typically use 5 to 7 gallons per flush. By law, new toilets are limited to 1.6 gallons per flush, but many use 1.2 gallons or less.

If you're dying to match the old pink tile in your bathroom, you can opt instead for a reclaimed sink or replace the toilet lid and seat with those from an older model. Just leave the heavy flushing in the past.