Google Analytics


Beautifully Modern - The Miller House

On May 10th the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana will be open to the public for the very first time since it was completed in 1958.  There have been very few pictures taken of the home since it was published in House & Garden in 1959.  So this is a pretty big deal in the architecture and design world because there is little doubt this home will become another iconic American modern home.   A couple of weeks ago I started seeing pictures of the Miller home that is mostly constructed with steel beams and glass.  The architectural design is facinating but what really struck me is how livable the home looks considering its architectural style.   After a little research I discovered it was only one of two famous glass houses that was constructed with a family in mind.  My husband, Reid, has always told me he would like to live in a glass house but honestly I haven't shared his enthusiasm for this style of home.  But after seeing the Miller House I may start dreaming right along with him!

Please enjoy the following pictures from the Indianapolis Museum of Art website...

The Millers hired Eero Saarinen, an architect originally from Finland, to design their family home.  Saarinen is also well known for the designing the St. Louis Gateway Arch and Dulles International Airport.  For the Miller House, Saarinen created a system of structural steel columns that creates a grid.  Each corner of this grid allows for private spaces for bedrooms and the kitchen.

The home is filled with a soft natural light as result of a series of skylights that line up with the structural grid.

Alexander Girard, was responsible for the interiors of the home.  Girard's design is modern without being severe.  He was able to accomplish this with strong colors, fun patterns, antiques, and some folk art.  

A sunken conversational area is a major feature of the interior.  The area allows for lots of seating without the visual clutter resulting from additional groupings of chairs, sofas, and tables.  Saarinen once described his ideal home as inspired by the simplicity of Japanese houses who would solve the problem of furniture, with its inevitable 'slum of legs'...instead create a sunken area.

The center living area was also inspired by Mid-West farmhouses were all rooms open to a common room so family members are drawn to the home's center to foster unity.  Supposedly never published photographs of the Miller family taken in 1961 for a LIFE profile show messy desks, kids leaping out of the pit, and wheeled toys used inside.

It's hard for me to believe this home was completed in 1958, over 50 years ago!  Don't you think it looks so current?!?

Girard's design boards, color and fabric swatches are pretty too.  He created textile plans for the changing seasons!


The 96 inch round dining table is made entirely of marble.  The flared support holds a brass pump that supplies water to a recessed bowl at the center of the table which can function as a lily pond, lawn, or fountain.

Girard designed a 50 foot long storage wall to hide all the items the family didn't want to display.  He also designed several rugs in the home.  One of the rugs included symbols to represent family members and special items with meaning to the family.

Dan Kily, a leading figure in modern American landscape architecture, was hired to design the home's exterior spaces.  His goal was to expand Saarinen's architectural vision to the outside.  Like the house, the gardens have a strong geometric order.  The focus is on shaping the outdoor spaces versus creating complex floral combinations.

Here is a picture of the Millers.  Irwin Miller turned a small family business into a multi billion dollar diesel manufacturing company.  He was also a philanthropist who was known for his civic activism.  Specifically, he helped Martin Luther King, Jr. organize the March on Washington.  Xenia was also a philanthropist and was involved in numerous cultural aspects of the community.  Plus they helped design a gorgeous home that will be one for the history books!

Have a great weekend!


Color at "The Market!

So, I'm sitting at a large round table at the Thomas Payne lecture next to a nice woman who asks if I'm a "McLay".  Turns out her maiden name is "McLay" and she'd never met another one.  Also, turns out she's the Creative Director for C.R. Laine Furniture.  A little later she invited me on a tour of their showroom which I quickly accepted.  I learned a ton about the company and their furniture.

They have been a family owned company since 1958.  All of their upholstery furniture is "Made in America" and they were the first company to achieve Sustainable by Design registration from the American Home Furnishings Alliance (AHFA).  Basically, the wood used is from sustainably harvested hardwoods, no VOC emissions from the glue, and coils, seating and foam are made from recycled materials.  Also, in the last several years, they've implemented many changes in their manufacturing processes to reduce energy consumption and reuse waste.  Pretty cool.

C.R. Laine has been on my radar for some time but to be honest, until I can see the furniture to touch it, sit in it, and inspect it, I don't recommend it to clients.  Well, I can say I was impressed.  They have well designed pieces in many different styles.  Quality wise, they use eight-way hand-tied coil springs, muslin wrapped cushions, and everything is bench made (done by hand one piece at a time).  They have over 850+ fabrics to choose from or you can provide your own fabric.  And they have 1000+ frames you can choose from that can be customized if needed.  Couch needs to be a little longer, they can do it.  Husband is over 6' tall they can make the seat deeper.

Now back to the trend of "color"...Their showroom, along with many others, had tons of color and very few neutral palettes while other showrooms were all neutral.  The reason they say..."Turbulence in the global economy brought about a serious mood in which designers and consumers turned to sensible neutrals like black, white, camel and grey.  The break-out counter-trend was the bold use of optimistic color emulating hope that things would get better."

So, C.R. Laine believes as we rebound from economic tension, that we will want to bring a sense of fun back into our homes.  We can do this by adding chairs that add color, pattern, and texture to a room that compliment the neutral sofas.  I think you'll agree their furniture would make you "smile"!

These first couple pictures were taken with my iphone in their showroom.  A couple good examples of neutral sofas complimented with some bold color!

Here are some of their great new pieces.  These next two pieces are upholstered in fabric by Hable Construction, a company owned by two sisters that are known for their great color choices and hand-painted graphics.  So fun and they add texture to a room.

Retail:  $1,155
Retail: $1,415 (swivel)

This fabric reminds you of British Botany paintings from the 18th century but also has the fanciful feeling of being in children's storybook such as the Tale of Peter Rabbit.  Can you spot the insects?
Retail:  $1,887

The next few chairs with floral prints get us in the mood for spring!  The larger scaled prints make them more current and can be easily combined with a neutral sofa.  A couple of these chairs are a great way to freshen up a room!

Retail: $1,975 (swivel)
Retail: $1,390
Retail: $1,555
It's all about the details!!  The cushions on this sofa were given a mini flange detail.

Retail:  $3,560

 The blind tufts on this chair are individually sewn in before a tufter pulls each button into place.

Retail:  $1,100

This chair was painted with a Benjamin Moore color.  Color options are as vast as the Benjamin Moore paint deck!
Retail:  $1,605
All I have to say is "Bravo!" to Holly with C.R. Laine and others like her who take the time to educate the designers!  The more we know about the products the more we can educate our clients to help them make well informed decisions!!  Thanks for your hospitality!

Here are a few more colorful items I came across in High Point...

Chair from Company C...

A couple fun chairs from Palecek...

Loved these pillows from Jamie Young.  Reid is going to kill me when I tell him I want to buy some more pillows!