The Miller House is Open

The J. Irwin Miller House, designed by Eero Saarinen, is officially open to the public today for the first time since its completion in 1957. The "Miller House and Garden" was donated to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 2009 after Xenia Miller's death. Tours of the Mid-Century masterpiece, which was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2000, are now available through the Columbus Area Visitors Center.

Miller House, Columbus, Indiana,1957. Photo: Erza Stoller

Photo: Indianapolis Museum of Art

Circa 1953-57. Photo: Balthazar Korab via Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division

Photo: Dwell Magazine October 2004

The Miller family in the "conversation pit", 1961. Photo: Frank Scherschel

The family seated in front of Girard's storage wall, 1961. Photo: Frank Scherschel

Note Girard's multi-colored storage wall with rosewood cabinet doors. Photo: Indy Star

View towards the dining room and open circular fireplace designed by Balthazar Korab. Photo: Indy Star

Photo: Leslie Williamson, via Dwell Magazine

Looking towards outside with sliding doors open, WOW! Photo: Dwell Magazine, October 2004

In the "pit". Photo: Indianapolis Museum of Art

Even the "conversation pit" stairs are well designed. Photo: Indy Star

Alexander Girard's textile design plans for the Miller home interior. Photo: Indianapolis Museum of Art

View of Girard's 50-foot storage wall from the den; note Girard's rug design. Photo: IMA

Girard's den rug design which incorporated emblems associated with the family. Photo: IMA

Everyday items like the TV are hidden behind rosewood doors, 1961. Photo: Frank Scherschel 

Dining room with Girard rug and Saarinen Tulip Chairs. Photo: Indy Star

Saarinen designed this 96" round marble table, complete with lighted terrazzo base and center water fountain pond (fiberglass Eames chairs originally surrounded the table). Photo: Leslie Williamson via Dwell Magazine

Girard integrated each family members initials into individual Tulip Chair cushions. Photo: Indy Star

Kitchen complete with Eames Wire Chairs and Girard's Eden print drapes. Photo: Indy Star

Photo: Indy Star

The master suite with sewing table designed by Hans Wegner. Photo: Indy Star

Girard's Mogul fabric covers a stool in Xenia's dressing room. Photo: Indy Star

Girard drapes and Eames chairs decorate Xenia's office, originally the kids play room. Photo: Indy Star

Seating area in what was Xenia's office. Photo: Indy Star

Irwin Miller house gate designed by Alexander Girard. Photo: Leslie Williamson via Dwell Magazine

J. Irwin Miller relaxing on his lawn, 1967. Photo: John Loengard

Miller House floor plan

Miller House National Historic Landmark plaque. Photo: Khorsean

Above is a video about the Miller House and Garden from the Indianapolis Museum of Art.
If you are unable to see the above video, click here.

It took four years (1953-1957) to design and build the 6,838 square foot home, which sits on 13.5 acres in Columbus, Indiana.  Saarinen's design was inspired by the simplicity of Japanese homes and the modernist esthetics of Mies van der Rohe. One of the trademark features of the home is its sunken "conversation pit," which was Saarinen's solution to the "inevitable slum of legs" created by a room filled with furniture. 

The Interior of the home was designed by Alexander Girard, whose choice of textiles, furniture and decor brought warmth and texture to the "cold" marble walls and hard-edge geometry of the house. One of the homes focal points is a 50-foot storage wall that Girard created to act as 3-D mural of sorts, as well as a place to hide everyday objects such as the TV and stereo. He also designed several rugs and textiles used in the home, including cushions for the dining room chairs that featured the initials of each family member.

The landscape was designed by Dan Kiley with whom Saarinen had worked on the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

Links of Interest:
Go to- Indianapolis Museum of Art's page containing details about the home and tour.
Go to- Miller Home photo gallery presented by The Republic Newspaper.
Go to- MIller Home photo gallery presented by the Indy Star
Go to- The Design Observer Group's April 2011 article about the home "Making the Modern House Home."
Go to- Dwell Magazine, October 2004 article about the home titled "Miller's Modern Mission"
Go to- Leslie Williamson's article and photos of the Miller House, published on May 2, 2011
Go to- J. Irwin Miller House Wikipedia page
Go to- Khorsean's flickr page of the Miller House

1 comment:

Sonia King said...

Many thanks again for a great post. I LOVE the images you chose.