Temporary Floor Solution #2

Okay. So no catchy blog title today. I am too tired and sore to be clever today!

Some of you may remember that about a year and a half ago I attempted to paint my kitchen floor in an effort to extend its life until I can go all in and get new floors.

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Well, sadly, that did not work very well for us. For a few reasons.

  1. We really underestimated how much traffic our kitchen gets and by the end of year one it was looking grimey and dirty again.
  2. I didnt really give it enough coats of polyurethane to protect against said traffic (I did one coat and in hindsight should have done three)

Still, I think painting a floor can be done with great success! As for me, I decided to go back to a tried and true method for me.

Peel and stick tile.

I have used these on three other occasions in my former condo I owned. Each application getting better results.

This is a truly great way to get an updated look for a ridiculously cheap price.

To stick to the 50’s feel of my house I decided to go with a black and white checkerboard pattern like this inspiration pic:

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I love this look. Its classic. And it very much fits the time period.

So I waited till they went on sale and they were seriously less than 50 cents per tile! (Menards!)

Then I had to decide if I wanted to lay them straight or on the diagonal. A quick poll on Facebook left the diagonal a clear winner:

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While I knew laying them straight would be the quickest and easiest route, I agreed with my beloved Facebookers and went with the diagonal.

This project took me about a day and a half on my own and my kitchen is about 100 square feet. I am not going to lie. My body hurts. Parts of my body I didnt even know I have. It was a lot of sitting on the floor, stooping over, kneeling all day, making intricate cuts, and glue. Yeah. Glue. Both myself and my dogs had glue EVERYWHERE.

Let’s talk for a minute how fun it is to do a project like this with dogs in your life. Stalking you. Getting their little furry furs all over the very floor you are trying to keep clean. Stepping in glue and making sticky paw prints everywhere.

Fun times indeed!

My Project Manager for the day.

My Project Manager for the day. This will also serve as my before picture. This is one year after painting. As you can see, it was looking pretty rough again.

So, about the glue.

See, even though they were self stick tiles, I leaned my lesson in a previous project and I decided to use some vinyl flooring glue. My hope is I get two or three years out of this floor before I have to really just break down and get all new real floors. (My goal is slate, but that is way expensive!!)

I was also laying this over an existing floor with layers of paint. So glue was essential to make it last.

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I bought four boxes of tile. Two black, two white, two glues, and I also used an exacto knife. You will also need paper to make templates for your cut outs. We also installed two transition pieces over the tile leading in and out of the kitchen. This made the finished product, well, look finised!

I will be returning most of the two extra boxes. And I still want to either caulk or lay some quarter round molding under the cabinets just to give it a more finished look.

But overall, I am incredibly pleased!

Before:

Original Flooring

Original Flooring

After:

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Total cost for this project was $100 !!! About 12 hours of my life, and a few aches and pains to remind me I am no longer a spring chicken.

A few tips. Take your time. Make sure all tiles butt up tight against each other. DO NOT WALK ON THEM for a good hour or two to let the glue set some, otherwise, the glue makes them slide around a bit. And dont eyeball your cuts. Use paper to make a template then cut the tile. It cuts and breaks very easily with a knife.

More pics of the finished process (Apologies for all the bulldog pics. He wouldnt leave my side and insists on being in my pics!):

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Treasure Hunting Success! Kinda…

Countless hours spent scouring Craigslist.

Too many visits to thrift stores, yard sales and flea markets to tally!

Always searching. Fruitless.

My mission was simple.

I needed chairs.

2, 3 or even 4 of them.

But not just any chairs.

I needed chairs on wheels.

I needed chairs that swivel.

And I preferred old to new.

(Swivel and on wheels were non negotiables for us. We have had way too much fun rolling around in these chairs!)

Further, I needed them for a breakfast bar. But to complicate things further, they were not bar height. They were the height of a normal dining table. Therefore I needed dining chairs.

I spent years and years on this quest.

4 to be exact.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, I have stumbled across them on numerous occasion. Ebay. Etsy. Etc…They were either too pricey ($250 bucks!) or the wrong color, or had wheels but didn’t swivel. Or swiveled and didn’t have wheels.

I could buy new for about $150. PER CHAIR.

I felt for SURE we would find what we needed so I was unwilling to compromise.

You see, our house came with two of these chairs. At the time we thought nothing of it. But over the course of our first year here we quickly realized how much we used this eating area. It truly is the heartbeat of our home. EVERYONE sits here. We have three other dining areas in this house. But we use this bar MOST of the time.

Breakfast bar with chairs from original walk through

Breakfast bar with chairs from original walk through

Parties. Dinners. Homework.

Always at the bar.

When we entertain folks sit there to look into the kitchen. I have to add extra chairs from the dining room or folding chairs so the bar can seat 4 or 5 people.

My husband and I have had more than a dozen heart to hearts while sitting at this bar.

It is the hub of our home.

By year two in our house these two chairs were incredibly beat up. Ripped. Screws falling out. I tried a half-hearted attempt to recover them. It was awful. Nor was I willing to pay to have it professionally done.

Clearly upholstery is not my thing.

Clearly upholstery is not my thing.

So I searched. All the time. Because I knew these two chairs were slowly dying.

We found a set once. For a great price. But we had no way to get them home. Biggest regret ever! (Note to self, when you see it, buy it) I should have rented a truck!

So we kept searching.

And then, last week, not more than one mile from my home we came across an ad for an Estate Sale. We went. And we found two bar stools. That swivel.

NOT at all what I was looking for, but in my head, I though I could use them still.

$2.00 a piece. I couldn’t pass it up. Even if I didn’t ever use them, they were worth $4 easily.

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I kinda loved them and I loved how they fit UNDER the bar when not in use. So this was my solution to not having to add extra chairs when we entertained.

Then the craziest thing happened.

The very next day I was running around and just happened to go by the estate sale house again. We had already gone through it the day before and found nothing of interest beyond the two bar stools.

I look over and there are two sets of 1970’s ish tables and chairs. And I can see there are wheels!

I make a sharp right turn into the driveway.

I bolt over to the table and chairs. Asking price was $25 for table and four chairs.

Send a quick pick to the husband.

He says buy.

I was on the fence.

I didn’t LOVE them. They didn’t have arms like my other ones.

They had GOLD trim instead of CHROME.

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They weren’t exactly what I wanted.

But.

I had searched for 4 years!

They were in great shape and fit the profile better than anything else in my 4 year quest.

Ran home to get the husband and he did the negotiating. We didn’t need the table at all. I had $16 on me cash. They took it. Chairs only, no table. Found out they weren’t there the day before because they belonged to a neighbor who just wanted to get rid of them.

Talk about being in the right place at the right time!!!

So, even though I didn’t love them I simply couldn’t walk away from that bargain.

I can still continue my search, but now I have four chairs that work plus two bar stools.

Will keep the fourth chair as a back up. I can also spray paint the bottoms and make them chrome.

But for now, for just $18, my treasure hunt is complete. Kinda!

FullSizeRenderSeating for 5 and everyone can swivel and roll to their heart’s delight!!!

The moral of the story? Never give up the search!

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One and done!

Well. It has finally arrived. That day that all DIY-ers know well. The day you can FINALLY put your house back in order.

We have finished the master bath reno.

One year later.

And coming up on our our 4th anniversary here in our house.

Four years! How did that happen? Some days it feels we have always lived here. And some days I do dream about a time when I do not have home worries, renos, and repairs to think about.

The master bath is done. And to be honest, I have very mixed emotions about it.

I can honestly say I will never undertake something of this magnitude again. Too much time, money, worry and a bad contractor experience has jaded me. While I may be crafty and creative, I do NOT have the patience to do this type of DIY. Kudos to those of you who go all in.

I can say without a doubt I will never ever try to lay ceramic tile again. OY!

Next time I will pay a professional to do the entire thing. That is what I have learned from this experience. I have way too much OCD and perfectionist-ism in me to do this again.

Our new bathroom is not perfect. Far from it actually. I have noticed every blemish, uneven line, grout lines that didn’t get cleaned, etc…I have noticed every mistake. Trust me. This is why I have mixed feelings I think…

I was also left with a nightmare to fix from above said bad contractor. Who took down a wall and didnt finish the job. We fixed it the best we could but it is not perfect and will never be.

At some point the bathroom will most likely need gutted and redone to fix his mistake. But that wont be by me. For sure. That will be the next owners problem.

For now I am mostly happy with the results. And I hope over time I will start to overlook the imperfections. Because to be honest, it looks much better than the 1980’s something look we had. And it definitely “Fits” better into my home now.

So without further ado…My new bath: (Please ignore the uneven grout lines! My OCD is quite aware of them already)

Before:

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After:

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Getting pics is difficult as the bathroom is veryyyyyy narrow!

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And more.

Before:

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Before:

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After:

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And the shower before:

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And after:

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The last thing removed from the bathroom. The old light. You can see the original blue paint that was behind the 1980’s blue wallpaper:

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And the new light:

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The old shower, and reason why we needed to gut. Gross!!!!

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And the new shower:

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The floor before:

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The floor now:

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Miscellaneous pics:

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The hairpins are from the 50’s. They belonged to my grandma. They cost 5 cents and have never been used.

And the razors here are a homage to what we found behind the wall of the medicine cabinet when we removed it. Old razor blades. Ew!

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We are still on the hunt for an antique shaving kit to display…

That’s it folks!

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A weekend refresher

So I confess I am just not that into Valentines Day. Never have been. So, as half the world it seems celebrated, and the other half went to see 50 Shades Of Grey. Me and B did the most romantic thing EVER. We did more home improvements.

It seems lately we have heard a lot of comments from friends and family “What are you guys doing now?” I don’t think they mean any harm. But I also don’t think they understand that for some people, myself for certain, my home is never and will never be truly “DONE”. There is always something new to do.

Its true. We have re-done a few rooms. But mostly because we are still, after 4 years, settling in. Figuring out what rooms we use, what rooms we don’t, and how we use them.

So we were blessed with a really large “Formal” living room in this house. And it’s one of the rooms we have spent the least amount of time in. We have struggled giving it an identity and figuring how and if we need to use it. For the first two years it sat half empty. Then it became the room we kept the dogs in while we were out. Then it briefly became an office slash place to just display family heirlooms. Not a bad space at all, but surely wasted. We rarely used it or sat at the desk we just had to have. Surely we are not the only family that suffers from this unused space issue???

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The room when it was just a holder of family treasures

It’s a great room. HUGE. With a closet and two pocket doors. It even briefly functioned as a bedroom when my niece stayed with us for a bit.

Then came the Summer 2014. We had a pretty humid summer and the furniture that had been previously sitting in our mostly unused basement started getting a mildew film on it I knew it was time to get it upstairs.

We threw it in the front room. Kind of arranged it. And then sat back to see how we would use it.

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Not bad by any means but not pulled together and that wall!

Well, what we discovered is we liked having two living areas! We started using it more and more. Which means the flaws of the room started bothering me more and more. The wall above the couch was completely bare. Full of holes from previously hung shelving and basically just not pulled together.

Also, thanks to lots of furniture moves and pets the floors were kinda rough! So we decided to take this weekend to kind of refresh this room. First, we polished the floors. Not professionally, just with some Bona floor shine.

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The floors need professionally done and that will come in time, but for now, this was a quick fix for about $19.99 (THANK YOU AMAZON!)

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The floors before. Lots of scratches!

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The floors after. Nice sheen!

So this is two coats. It was very easy to apply. And it dried for walking within a half hour. It is not super shiny though so if you want high gloss this is not for you.

Still, I would use this again for sure!

We also painted the wall near our desk with magnetic paint, and covered it with chalk board paint.

And finally, we painted the main wall several shades darker (Caramelized Onion) and hung our antique style world map.

Eventually, the map will be framed. And this room will reflect “Vintage travels”.

We are pretty pleased with the results.

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I used to love painting. UGH!

Here is the original living room. Carpet and all. I really don’t have many pics of this room because we seriously NEVER used it.

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Original owner pic is above.

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As you will see from the pics, Miss Zoe STILL loves this room.

Here are the results:

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The picture above the desk is very dear to me. It is a picture of Old Man’s Cave here in Ohio that my Grandpa Wilson painted.

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Love love love my map! (National Geographic)

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Magnets AND chalk! WOO HOO!

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By the way, the buffet was a piece picked up at a yard sale for 20 dollars two years ago. It was in our dining room holding our microwave!

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When good projects go bad…

Well. It’s been awhile. And there is a reason for that. We had a malfunction. Pretty major actually. And it completely threw us off our course.

We had a bad contractor experience. And it soured us on the entire project.

I am talking about our Master Bath reno of course. That we started about 9 months ago. It’s been slow going. But we knew that. With doing most of the work ourselves and the fact that we both work full time and my husband works two jobs, it was going to be a “Free Time” project all along.

We knew that we did not want to tackle the shower project ourselves. It was just too much and the worry of getting everything water tight was high. The shower had leaked pretty much for the last 30 years as evidenced by the stains on our basement ceiling. We knew it was a gut job and not one we wanted to tackle as our first major DIY.

So. Even though we are members of Angie’s List we tried a new approach to find a contractor. We used the app “Nextdoor”. This is a wonderful app that links you to your neighbors. So we posted a “Contractor recommendation” post and several names popped up. These are local guys who other neighbors had used and liked. Low risk, right?

This was mistake #1.

We had two of them come over for estimates of the project. We also had a third guy come over as well. Three estimates. We went with the cheapest.

This was mistake #2.

I don’t want to go into a ton of detail about this because I actually have filed a complaint with the State of Ohio. But the gist of my dispute is this.

  • My final bill arrived more than DOUBLE my estimate and not once in the process was I told things were taking longer or costing more. I never got an updated estimate. I was never talked too, or texted that things were not going well. We bought almost all the supplies so all we were basically paying for was labor and expertise.
  • Walls were removed without my knowledge or permission and the aesthetic mess that made was left to us to fix.
  • While the interior tile work is beautiful, when I voiced my concerns about all this to the contractor he could not understand why I was upset nor did he take any responsibility or offer any solutions or apologies.
  • And the time frame he gave us of 3-4 days ended up being about 8–9 days over a month. We never knew when he was coming. We never knew when he was leaving. His communication skills were non existent.

So. This is what we started with. And what we ended up with.

5 Please take note of those little walls that jut out. These held an old nasty shower door that was NOT going to be reinstalled. The shower base was solid terrazzo. We tried very hard to save it. This was one of the unexpected charges.

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Shower had to be gutted. And it took him a VERY long time to break up the terrazzo. It was about 5-6 inches thick. He said he had to remove it because the top had rusted out. He was the expert so we trusted him. We had to go purchase a new base. Again, our expense. But when we came home that day we discovered in order to get the terrazzo base out, he had also cut through and removed the little walls. This changed our design plan significantly as prior he was to just tile the inside and I would do the outside. Well, I had a natural stopping point in those walls. Without them, I didn’t really have a plan. And apparently, neither did he.

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As previously noted, I found NO fault with the interior tile work. Its beautiful.

But this was his finished project. Yes. This is what he left us to deal with:

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Where the walls once were he left ruts, uneven surface, and the tile came up off the wall as much as a half inch in some places! And you can see how uneven the top was.

We were sad. Devastated. And simply unprepared as to how to deal with someone who felt this was his best work. The little walls were going to be framed with tile making a nice stopping point and visual impact. Without them it looked like complete shit. Seriously.

So what to do? Rip it out? Start all over? Pay another contractor to come in and build new walls for us? After spending twice as much and already wayyyyyyy over budget on this project we just couldn’t. Maybe we will regret that some day. But after having a few friends over and all of us making multiple suggestions we do believe we have a cheaper fix for this problem. I will reveal it when done.

Is it the best solution? No. That would have been to have someone come and build new walls. But, its a workable solution. And maybe the next owner of my house will hate it and rip it all out. And that’s fine. I will be long gone then.

So work has started again on the bathroom. We are still sad. And in hindsight I really wish we had just spent the money and had a professional do the entire bathroom. Because laying tile in an old house with uneven everything has not been the “fun” DIY project I thought it would be.

This would be mistake #3.

Until the big reveal, here is a little teaser for you:

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If you build it they will come…

This is a story about a garage…Okay…Two garages…Two sad and lonely and very unused garages. One huge. One small. Both empty.

Storage that many people would kill for. Okay. Kill is a strong word. But hey, I watch Hoarders. I know how it goes. Everyone wants more space! Well. I have space. And no way to use it.

Why? There was no access. I am blessed with a car port, a one car attached garage and a two and a half car detached garage. And two of them have sat unused for the better part of 3 1/2 years!!!! The shame!!! The horror!!!!

Sure. On a good, dry summer day we could drive on the grass. But this is bad for the grass. My yard is also very bumpy and uneven. This is bad for the car.

So year one we had an estimate done for a gravel driveway…Now, don’t get me wrong, I would LOVE a beautiful paved driveway. Brick. Concrete. Heck, even asphalt, but lets be realistic. Its a secondary driveway and I am NOT Donald Trump. So I needed it usable but reasonable.

First year we were here the quote came in way too high to even consider. Second year we had another estimate. It was better but still not great. And this year, we finally got a great quote from a local company. And even though it still cost us several thousand dollars, it is money well spent. As our intention is to rent the garage out. We have had numerous inquiries’ already. So to make money we had to spend money. Ahhhh. The joys of home ownership! Right?

So while its nothing fancy. And I have TONS of landscaping left to do (So don’t be hatin on all my piles of dirt).

Here is my three year in the making driveway.

(Side note about my detached garage. It is older than the house. It was built in 1957. It is where the builder stored all his equipment while he built everyone’s home. Including ours!!!)

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First step, taking up lots of grass and dirt. That’s our supervisor, Bode there!

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Not gonna lie. The piles of dirt REALLY freaked me out on day one!

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And the bobcat really did a number on my yard. Also trying not to freak out. LOL.

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Original Garage 1957 (Before we did anything!)

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Garage #2 with a driveway that simply ends…

Garage #1 and #2 AFTER!!!!

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View from road before:

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View from road after:

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BEFORE

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AFTER

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From the bottom looking up!

And from the carport looking out:

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And everything back in its place…WHEW!!!

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****UPDATED: I can not believe I forgot the most important part of this story. If you are wondering why my gravel looks weird. Its not gravel. It is recycled, crushed concrete. Thats why its a bit more “Dirt” like than gravel. Next year we may or may not add some top gravel. This is a very cheap option and it also helps us recycle!!!

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Another happy find for me!

Just a quick update today on our master bath project. It’s coming along ever so slowwwwwwwly…Of course, we knew that going into it. We estimate this project will run us about 2k when done. And we are buying things here and there so we don’t have to feel that impact all at once. This bathroom was unusable anyway so not having it has not really impacted us as much which is why we are okay with the time it is taken.

However. This week the professional comes to start the tile installation in the shower! WOO HOO!!!!! We decided to have a professional do the shower since neither of us were comfortable with the whole water proofing thing. And then I am going to do the walls and floors. My first tiling project! I am nervous but also excited.

This is how the bath currently looks. Pretty, right?

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While I was ripping off rest of the wallpaper I noticed we had not yet removed the last of the previous ceramic fixtures. The toilet paper holder! So when the husband removed it for me he found not one but TWO more wadded up newspapers! Color me stoked! You all know how I love my old newspapers!

This one was from May of 1959. A little older than the Christmas one previous blogged about and in better shape I suppose due to no moisture issues.

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So just in case there are any other history geeks out there like me who want to see my paper here are a few images for you. Enjoy!

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I am currently on the hunt for an old rusted out 1950’s bike to use for a garden project so this bike ad definitely caught my eye! LOVE this bike!

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Central Ohioans will appreciate this ad from Schottenstein’s. Note the address. Parsons avenue. I assume before it became kinda sorta ghetto.

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Appliances of the late 50’s.

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He is a bit wrinkly so hard to see, but look how dapper he is in his pin stripped suit. For 18 bucks no less!!!!!

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And ladies, who doesn’t love a great shoe sale! $1.98 a pair! Interesting note, look at the bottom right corner. Sizes started at a 4! Very interesting! Now women’s shoe sizes typically start with a 6.

And don’t worry guys. You had options too. One. LOL.

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And we can’t forget budgets and politics. 1959 editorial about President Eisenhower and a little blurb about Ohio’s money troubles. Some things NEVER change…

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Hope you enjoyed a glimpse into life in Central Ohio in 1959!

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