Roomba Review And Why I hate the iClebo

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I’ll admit, I am a bit vacuum obsessed.  I have  8 vacuums; a Bosch canister that works very well, a 60’s Rainbow (my little R2D2) I adore, a Miele canister I love, a quickie sweeper vac, two robotic vacuums and  a Dirt Devil and some other one, both inherited.  I need to garage sale, I do.  The two robotic vacs are my groovy and talented 880 Roomba and my red headed step child iClebo.

I suffer the iClebo, a misspent purchase to replace my old Roomba when a puppy we were babysitting looked up at me sweetly then proceeded to drop his head down and toss his cookies all over the Roomba while the vac was going about its daily business.  It begun just spinning in circles, it could no longer cope.  After desperate attempts to clean it, add new this and thats, I had to throw it away.  Roombas are not cheap , and the iClebo had just come out and was about $100.00 less at the time.  While the iClebo can suck up a quarter, the programming is not the same as with a Roomba.  You have either programmed it to come on every day or you haven’t.  With the Roomba, you can choose your days and your times for each day.  And with the red headed step child,  you MUST carry around the remote to unstick it from perhaps a rug fringe or sometimes something invisible.  This becomes a pain if, like me, you deliberately place your remotes where you know that you will find them again, you know, where they belong, but you are, say, at work in the back office of your house when the iClebo freaks out again.  There are no stop/start/don’t wig out buttons on the iClebo.  No, rather illogically, you must control everything the bloody thing does with a remote….a remote you may not now know the location of  because you have for the nth time reset the iclebo because it keeps stopping for no apparent reason and singing its little help me tune.

The Roomba is more than i think anything else out there is, but this is a classic example of getting what you pay for.  Any version of the Roomba is great.  So if you want to save money, go without the remote or even get an older model.  The older models have brushes.  The plus on those is that they sort of polish your floor as they pick up stuff.  The downside to the brushes is that they pull and retain a lot more hair.  This means cleaning more regularly.  The newer versions of the Roomba and the one I have had now for a couple of years, is that rather than brushes, there are these rubberized rollers that attract and pick up dirt and hair without holding onto them so much.  Instead, they go into the waste bin better.  It is amazing what this little guy picks up on a daily basis, even when I believe my floor to be clean.

If your low slung furniture is a bit high enough, it even gets under things like your bed or sofa where few of us (being honest) take the time to maintain on a regular basis.  So while it isn’t perfect it is damn good!  So good that I won’t be without one and when the iClebo folks refused to grant me a refund, I promptly went out and purchased another Roomba anyway!  I was getting the shakes without it.

Whenever the iClebo finally terminates itself, I will go out and purchase another Roomba because two are better than one.  I can have one working the bedroom wing while the other tends to the kitchen and living quarters.  People ask well, how often does it get stuck etc.  and isn’t that a way pain?  The iClebo gets stuck on its own shadow.  I hate, no, despise the iClebo.  It was a sorry waste of hard earned cash.  The only upshot it does have is that it is now perhaps 2 years old and still works.  I am sure this is just by design so that I cannot rationalize another Roomba purchase.

The room/house does need to be ‘Roomba proofed’ which means picking up any towels, cat toys, dog toys, string, dead bodies (just checking you are still with me on this) or major impediments on the floor such as a dog bed you might want to vac under, etc.   The Roomba climbs a bit so it will easily do multi-surface areas, going from hardwoods or stone to carpet or even a rug with fringe.  Did I mention it goes under your sofa and chairs and bed etc? And you will need to set up your little satellite blocks to alert your Roomba not to go places you don’t want it to go.  It will sense stairs and avoid but if you have a patio home with sliders out to the patio and they are open?  Your grass is getting vacuumed.  My Roomba has actually been out the front door and down to my nextdoor neighbors before i caught up with it and carried it back home to finish its work.  This was entirely my bad for not having the blocks set up and on.

The machine lasts years and the Roomba folks are pretty good at helping you trouble shoot.  This is where I went first when my old one got vomited upon.   Although the Roomba does not totally replace all vacuuming,  I believe Roomba to be one of those household items that you will ask yourself why you waited so long to get one and what did you ever do without it.

Hardwood Floors – How to Clean and Maintain Them

 

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Everyone has their theory on maintenance but I grew up with hardwood floors then rented places with them and finally purchased a home with them.  I LOVE hardwood floors!  But I am not a big fan of scratching them all up and doing polyurethane repeatedly as many floor experts have told me to do.  No, I use wax.  Begin with a nice floor and if that means having them lightly sanded first, so be it.  Whether you do a linseed finish or poly or whatever, once they are ‘done’ you will really want to maintain them so that you don’t ever again need to shave years and inches off your hardwoods because there really is no need for that drama.  Just maintain your floors.  How?  Once a week, sweep or vacuum them thoroughly.  For any high traffic areas, you may need to sweep those areas a bit more often.  Next, I use Ecover Natural Floor Soap because it is non toxic and it has linseed oil in it which feeds the wood.   This stuff is also great for stone and Terrazzo.  Once my floor is nice and tidy clean, I apply Weimans Floor Polish for a lovely,  non toxic and not super slippery floor.  Over time it builds up a bit to provide extra protection on your hardwoods.  Maintaining my floors this way has meant I have never had to redo a floor.  They remain beautifully protected.  Enjoy!

Terrazzo – How to Clean and Maintain It

Yummy Terrazzo floors!

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Many Mid-Century homes have Terrazzo which is this amazing amalgamation of materials, marble, quartz, glass, granite, etc, typically poured in place with a cement binder.  You can also buy terrazzo tiles now, which is very exciting, to remodel with!  Many call it and MCM cold, but I think the architecture is inviting and find terrazzo to be one of the most beautiful floors, sturdy and easy to clean while lasting a lifetime.  While hardy, it is porous, which can lead to dirt and staining especially for the older MCM floor.  To clean my floors, I typically vacuum or sweep thoroughly to remove any surface detritus and then I whip out my steamer.  I use the Eureka EnviroSteamer.  It calls for 12 oz of water but I typically do 11 oz and the last oz either vinegar or I add more water and a teaspoon of Miessence BioPure Probiotic (http://puretempleholistic.com for purchase) Household Cleaning Concentrate which has an amazing vanilla smell and does a fabulous job!   The Probiotics eat away dirt and grime, and continue working after application as well.  Of course, I probably kill a lot of the bacteria off with the steamer, but that smell is still amazing!  The end result is smooth floors that feel upscale hotel clean.  I walk barefoot at home, shoes are not welcome in my home, they traffic in bad mojo.  One of my peeves is anything, any schmutz that comes between my feet and the floor that shouldn’t be there.  This combo cleans so well.

Now that your floor is sparkly clean, how about preserving that with a glowy seal?  There is another post on maintaining hardwood floors, which I lived with and loved most of my life until I met terrazzo.  When we moved, I had a couple of cases still of Weiman Hardwood Floor Polish, so I began trying that out here, on the terrazzo.  What I love about the product is that, unlike many others I have tried, it leaves a soft glow without the slip.  I used to have to warn folks…careful, I j-u-s-t waxed.  The dog would look like a cartoon trying to go from one end of the room to the other.  So while the floor looked gorgeous, it was a bit dangerous.  But also, I did not realize that most floor waxes contain lead and other toxic ingredients!  As I try hard to be environmentally friendly and toxin free in what goes in the home, in or on my body etc, it was important to me to find products that work while not adding to pollution our our body burden.  To apply the Weiman Polish,  I pour it directly on the floor and then use a flat mop to work it against and then with the grain.  Now let it dry about a half hour and you’re done.  You can alternate steam cleaning your terrazzo or stone floors with Ecover Floor Soap (see my hardwood floor maintenance post). For the daily maintenance,  I also have a Roomba, ( See my Roomba review) that vacuums the floor for me every other day.  Enjoy your clean terrazzo floor!  🙂

MCM Coffee Table Books, Kitchen Towels and Mobiles

Shopping for cool MCM stuff is a passion and I had some fun today perusing and posting below some of my favourite little gems.  Just look at these adorable kitchen towels  off Amazon!  Too cute and Swedish too!  Crate and Barrel is sometimes a great source and there is an outlet here I was lucky enough to find some close out towels with a vintage modern vibe last year right ahead of closing on our house!  Great to shop end of season there for a deal.

Love Plants? Check out this low slung planter (I am ordering one as soon as I get done typing here!) by Modernica.  I already have a couple of the taller ones and love them.  They are well made, true to the originals and have held up well.   Check out the burnt orange and the pebble really all are great colour choices!

For the Coffee Table – Are you in need of a groovy coffee table book to add a bit of shaggadelic Fractal pop?  Perhaps the 2nd book from Atomic Ranch filled with so many ideas as well as looking stylish on your coffee table!  (AR’s first book is great too!)

Mobiles and Stabiles – And how about a lovely Calder inspired hand made mobile for your ceiling?  Or this purple lumen multi coulour gem! And if you have cash to burn, the Orbit is exceptional and is pictured at the top of this post.

While this is not something for your home, you could wear them in your home. For $37.99, I love these Mobile Inspired Earrings!

 

So What IS Mid Century Modern and How do I Search Online?

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The problem is twofold – When I was first trying to not only nail down a description of the style to buy the kind of house I wanted to buy, I found it very challenging to convey what I was looking for in both searches and with realtors.  Is it Mid-Century?  Is it Modern?  Is it Contemporary, Ranch, or is it Mid Century Modern (MCM)?  What’s Atomic Ranch?

Trying to isolate Mid Century Mod homes for sale on the internet is taxing at best, although the popularity of the style has made it a bit better recently.  Trying to find things with which to feather that new nest with can be complicated as well.  There are 3 different but similar sounding categories; Modern, Contemporary and Mid Century Modern.     I want to state right here that there is absolutely nothing wrong with any of these styles, it is simply a matter of preference.  That stated, this site is geared toward Mid-Century Modern which is its very own design aesthetic which pulls together designs from prairie to ranch. Form, function and melding with the environment.  Some call it Atomic and if you envision the space age we were dreaming about, rebounding from WWII, starting families where the emphasis was on hope for our futures filled with leisure activities and alot more FUN.  En Voila, you had these great home designs catering to young families that could, on a reasonable budget, live the dream!

First let’s review what MCM is not by briefly describing what Contemporary, Modern, Ranch, Mid Century and Mid Century Modern are.  Contemporary is today, what most home buyers are wanting, what is popular right now and as such, it is not limited stylistically.  It’s a clean look, unfettered by a lot of detail, rooted in the now and using the latest materials.  Here you may see Vessel sinks above counters, Dekton or Granite counters in the kitchen and baths.   The landscaping could lean more lushly or have none at all.  Sustainability and recycling materials is also showcased.   A modern home is similar in that it is newer construction. But here you will see a bent on taking what was done back in the 50’s and 60’s in the way of the best funkiness of the period and putting that great style into a newly minted showcase, all LEED certified, best new materials, xeriscaped and perfect.

Mid Century simply means the home was built during that time (40’s, 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s perhaps).  It contains period details relevant to that era, with retro colours on appliances, formica counter tops, alot of wood veneers and paneling.  The home may be a ranch style, (one story and  long) or it could be considered MCM,  depending upon additional elements, some of which are hard to place, but it’s a vibe thing.  A rancher can be ‘atomic’ or ‘modern’ because it has design elements that give it pop.

Mid Century Modern pop, has much to do with funky cantilevered planters, low slung roofs, window walls and car ports in the front, rather than a garage.  it is a bit industrial, commercial, with metal support beams,  window walls, atriums and patios.  Many homes, like mine, were  built around an Atrium or Patio.  For flooring, there was hardwood and cork used but also a lot of stone, such as bluestone and slate, particularly at entryways and  terrazzo.

The very best way to locate these homes online and learn them, is to google MidCenturyModern homes but also when searching available homes on the market, narrow the search to the era, i.e. 50’s, 60’s,  because otherwise you will miss out on opportunities to find a great home that has been miss-classified.  For example, one home I looked at, advertised ‘Early 60’s home with tile floors.’  The pictures told me it was Terrazzo on those floors and seeing it confirmed whether  it was ranch or Atomic/Mod.  Many are classified as ‘Traditional’ when the funky roof-line tells you otherwise.  A wise realtor is going to show case the home as MCM but if you are seriously searching, you will be doing a ton of legwork yourself and this will help you find your dream home.

For my searches, I also put in contemporary and Modern as well as narrowing searches by year/decade.  Try not to limit your search to say, ‘Terrazzo’, because while that may pull up homes that have it, it may also leave some out that have it too.

You’ve found said dream home but are not sure what to do with it, where to start the remodel etc, check out http://retrorenovation.com.  Also check yourself….yes, put yourself on pause and let the vibe become absorbed into you for a good 6+ months.  Every home lives differently.  You will live differently in this home than you did in your last home or apartment so just chill and let the house tell you what it really needs over time.  If you are more experienced, the same thing can still apply here.  Do what is critical, such as an uneven atrium floor maybe, or if you know you are doing quartz counter tops in the kitchen, the laminate is shot, and you don’t want to redo with laminate, then perhaps  you proceed with those things you know and wait on the rest.  It is VERY easy to mess up a remodel on these homes which will cost you cool vibe now and resale later.  Some of the items in your home, the hardware, for example, bathroom consoles and the general woodwork for another, are hard or impossible to duplicate readily.  So breath, relax, pour a glass of wine and ponder a while.  I don’t mean to sound critical but dear God in heaven do not do above counter top vessel sinks in an MCM home.  The first problem at the hardware store is when something is too en vogue and everybody is doing it.  MCM is not that kind of house where every new and cool style of today, of contemporary, works well with it.  Don’t crush the vibe.  Watch some cool 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s films to set your mood.  Think linear, simplistic and natural in both landscape and interior.  Think marrying the outside with the indoors with uncovered (or carefully fitted with shades) floor to ceiling window walls, atriums and large patios with a few mod planters.  Think simple and private garden areas off the master, off the den, etc.  Don’t be in a rush.  It took me nearly 3 freaking years to locate my MCM dream home.  I got out bid, found the perfect home that was too far for my husband to drive to work from, or was way out of my price range.  Frustrating doesn’t even suggest the level of pain finding this home was for me.  But along the way I learned so much and by the time I located this Atomic Modern with Terrazzo floors and window walls, I knew exactly what to do to bring out its very best!  Cheers to your search! Keep watching for groovy finds and ideas here!  🙂

Dot&Bo – A Great Place to Shop! Product Reviews!

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Welcome to my home!  I love the Glass Diamonds Pendant lamp I purchased last April from Dot&Bo.  Yes, I saved all the 1962 Nelson Bubble lamps that were original to the home, but let me say that whatever was here in the entry way had long since vanished and was replaced by sheer ugly.  I wanted an elegant light that would pop against the grey terrazzo.  I get so many compliments!

What I love about Dot&Bo is the quality as well as the price point in their curated collections. If you want quality pieces and also to save money, such as maybe you are eyeing a George Nelson Walnut and Laminate desk (see below photo) but you don’t want to pay 2k for it, then you will want to check out this little desk below for less than a grand.

Dot%Bo Compartment Desk

Dot&Bo Compartment Desk

I adore this desk, solidly built, with some fun colour pops (you get a choice of them at Dot&Bo) and all with a smallish footprint that really holds everything.

So many little eye candy pieces too, like this Forest Spirit planter.  I got the Stag-horn Fern to match my wild and crazy hair.    Just behind it is another item I purchased there, a tiny bright planter for an air plant or small herb or flower.

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Dot&Bo Forest Spirit Planter

 

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Hello MCM & Design world!

Welcome!  This website focuses on retro Mid Century Modern vibe stuff for your modern digs.  Here I post cool objects and design ideas.  Topics range from gardening and planter pots to dinnerware, and from  hiring a contractor, to buying a groovy sofa perfect for your space.  I adore Mid Century Modern Atomic architecture, love  gardening, decorating, shopping and feathering  the nest.  I am always looking for something not everyone seems to have, with a focus on quality and value.  I hope you find use in my ideas here.  Please feel free to comment!

 

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