About Those Shirts …

The back story….

When I was a child, my Mom worked. She was an Interior Designer.

In those days in the United States, we didn’t have child care, nannies or au pairs. In my house we had a Christine, our housekeeper who was my Mother’s second in command.

Christine was German. As a matter of fact, she was from East Germany when there was a border that divided the East and the West later to be replaced by the Berlin Wall. She and her mother went shopping one day in West Berlin when you were able to cross back and forth. Post World War II East Germany was bleak, restricted and there were no opportunities for the young. Christine’s mother returned home that day, but Christine never did, nor did she ever see her mother again. How she got to Long Island and our house is another story, but suffice it to say, she was our housekeeper, family member and friend from the time I was 11 and was by my mother’s bedside when she died ten years ago.

Raising the four of us was a group effort. It was Mom and Dad, Aunt Mimi, my Grandparents and Christine. Even though Chris, in theory, was the housekeeper, she, alongside my mother taught us the basics of keeping a home. We called her our resident Gestapo. After all, she was there to keep the home front organized so my Mom could work, not for our comfort. One day we’d be on our own and if we didn’t know how to iron a shirt, cook a basic meal, make a bed or clean our rooms, we were going to be in big trouble, or so said Team Mom/Christine.

407 stewart

One of my parent’s house restoration projects- A Stanford White house on Long Island. Photo by Kevin Wohlers

My parents were in the habit of buying and restoring old homes.

We lived in a old Stanford White house that rambled on but my sister and I hung out in the old maid’s quarters that consisted of two rooms, one of which we called the Sewing Room where the ironing board and sewing machine lived. We spent many a rainy Saturday watching old movies on the tiny black & white TV that sat tucked up on a shelf. However, there was a price to be paid for being able to watch TV during the day. Team Mom/Christine said, why sit still watching the screen when you can be doing something with your idol hands – so we sewed and ironed. It was there that I fell in love with the movies – Bing Crosby, Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland, Jimmy Stewart… We watched them all in that little room while I learned how to iron and my sister sewed on buttons.

But I digress… Besides the ironing board, we had an Ironrite electric mangle or, as they are called today, a rotary iron. That was off limits to us, however, the regular hand iron was not… unfortunately. Even though Christine hung the sheets, shirts and linens on the line to dry, we would watch with fascination as she quickly ironing shirts and did the finishing touches on this monster mangle. One day when we were older, we’d be able to use it, which would make our Saturday ironing days much simpler and we might be able to JUST sit and just watch a movie!

So, fast forward to a few weeks ago.

I had the honor to have been asked to attend Blog Tour Cali, a 5 day trip under the leadership and extraordinary planning of Veronika Miller, founder of Modenus.com. We were wined, dined and entertained to the hilt, all courtesy of several sponsors. The thing is, this wasn’t about schmoozing us (that’s New York-ese for trying to overly impress). Everything we did with our sponsors was in demonstration of their products and learning about the companies.


The Interior Designers from #BlogTourCali led by Veronika Miller of @Modenus

We met Miele, makers of fine appliances and one of our extraordinary sponsors, during this trip twice. Once at their Los Angeles showroom at the beginning of the trip where we previewed all of their products and were served an exquisite lunch prepared in their steam ovens – and the second time when they gave us a farewell evening consisting of a mixology class and cooking demonstration upon which we drank and dined royally in their San Francisco showroom. We had the opportunity to see their products in action. From their ranges, grills, steam ovens, refrigerators, coffee machines, vacuum cleaners and dishwashers. It was quite a show!

Mixology class in San Francisco

Our Mixology lesson with Interior Designer, Carrie Leskowitz learning how to double pour!

Meile Cooking

Our Chef for the evening demonstrated Miele’s cooking products while we watched, drank and then ate!

When I walked into the showroom and looked around one thing caught my eye and I was immediately taken back to my childhood. Gone were my design blog compatriots, gone was the sound of traffic on North Robertson Blvd in Los Angeles.


Miele’s Rotary Iron – the mangle of my dreams!

All I saw was an updated, white, shiny but smaller version of Christine’s mangle, Miele’s rotary iron. I was trained to be fanatical about leaving the house ‘pressed’. Over the years I had lapsed a bit, after all, I didn’t have a Christine. This machine would iron everything in an instant. I could wear all of those cotton shirts again that I have sitting in my ironing pile! I could shed my Yoga uniform! By golly I would use my Mother’s lace tablecloth at Thanksgiving and Christmas again! I could have my very own mangle! All of this flashed in my mind in an instant. Then I looked at the price tag. It was pretty hefty. I didn’t care. This was going on my Christmas list and I was going to do something I had wanted to do for years. I was going to fire my snippy, arrogant dry cleaner who did a lousy job anyway and, by the way, I am convinced those chemicals are not doing us any good. Without our dry cleaning bills, this machine will pay for itself in no time at all. Not only that, it will give me something I crave lately. Ironed sheets and the tradition of keeping my home just like Team Mom/Christine taught me all those years ago on Long Island.


The Miele rotary iron won my heart, as did all of their laundry products. Honestly, Miele’s entire product line was impressive all the way around. Bravo to Miele and my thanks go out to them for letting myself and the other design bloggers into their world!



For an idea of what the Miele Rotary Iron can do….

To see it in action look at the video below: