Miller House and Garden landscaping by Dan Kiley
Miller House and Garden conversation pit
Miller House and Garden landscaping by Dan Kiley

Hello Columbus – WHY makes an Alexander Girard pilgrimage to Columbus, Indiana

“As a first-time visitor to the home—albeit one who has pored over photograph after photograph of the place for hours—I was immediately struck by the fact that images do little justice to the experience of being in the place.” – Sam Grawe, Brand Director, Herman Miller

“So much of mid-century design was a simplifying and distillation of form. I think our grandfather understood this inclination and aligned with it but also believed that things or spaces didn’t have to be void of personality. I see his role in Columbus as a bridge from one way of thinking to another. He loved innovation but not at the cost of a larger historical context.” – Aleishall Girard Maxon


A Pit for Conversation : A Vitra Anecdote

“The house, landscape and interior were completed in 1957. Girard had become a dear friend of the family by then and continued to be an enduring part of the Millers’ life over the decades.”

“Alexander Girard influenced the Millers’ approach to living. The absolute centrepiece of the house was an unexpected sunken lounge lined with stone, fitted with cushions and adorned with a striking symphony of coloured pillows.”

“The pillows and slipcovers were changed seasonally to enrich the experience for guests, with cooler hues being employed in the warmer months. Fabrics from all over the world in a diverse range of colours and textures created a global backdrop for many an evening with friends. Thick embroidery from Mexico, delicate silks from Japan, mirrored cotton from India and of course many of Girard’s own fabrics as well. The rich colours and textures not only created a stunning visual display, they also represented the ongoing theme of human connection in Girard’s work.”

  • April 2016 – by Aleishall Girard and Stine Liv Buur


Columbus, Indiana, featuring the Miller House and Gardens

“Let me say, if you ever have a chance to tour this facility, don’t delay, and hope for a sunny day, as the interior is punctured with skylights at practically every turn.”

“Columbus is truly a testament to the influence that a single individual can have on a community. I left feeling inspired, wondering how I could have a greater impact on my own city of Indianapolis.”

  • By Kevin Kastner – Feb. 2013


Dan Kiley: A great yet little known Modernist

“As landscape architect Peter Walker, the 9/11 Memorial designer, said of the property: ‘For many of us, that was where Modernism began.’

“As a former Kiley employee, Gregg Bleam wrote: ‘[T]he Miller garden represents transformation … to the use of the grid as the primary ordering device.’ He added: ‘Kiley extended the lines of the interior rooms … to form a structure of grids that would order the surrounding gardens. By using the classical planting forms of bosques, hedges, and allées juxtaposed against flat ground planes of crushed stone or lawn, Kiley extended the diagram of the house design to the remaining site.’”

  • By Charles A. Birnbaum – posted Feb. 10, 2013


The road to home envy : 10 best iconic modern houses in North America

“Before he went on to design the iconic TWA Terminal at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, or St. Louis’ world-famous Gateway Arch, Eero Saarinen was commissioned by industrialist J. Irwin Miller to design what’s been called the most significant mid-century modern home ever built. True or not, the house is pretty darn cool — and pretty darn large, nearly 7,000 square feet of glass and steel, its presence enhanced by the equally impressive surrounding gardens.”

  • By George Hobica – posted July 14, 2012


Top 25 New Places to Stay, Eat, and Play

“Ever wondered where the conversation pit got its start? You’ll find out at this modernist home that opened for public tours last year.”

  • Midwest Living
  • January/February 2012 – by Kendra L. William


Eero Saarinen’s Miller House Featured

“With its flat roof, stone and glass walls, and grid of skylights, the Miller House is Saarinen through and through. The geometric gardens and play of land and space is Kiley at his best. And Girard filled the inside of the Miller House with mid-century modern patterns, bold colors, and exquisite forms.”

  • By Judi Ketteler – posted Dec 12, 2011


Miller House: A House Museum That’s Still A Home

“What’s clear now is that the Miller House is special as much for the fact that it still feels like a home as it is for its famous Alexander Girard interiors … But while visitors to two other important house museums that opened in the last decade, the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe in Illinois and the Philip Johnson Glass House in Connecticut, gain an appreciation for thoughtful architecture, they can’t possibly imagine living in those spaces … That’s not the case here at the Miller House.”

  • By Paul Needman – posted Oct. 27, 2011


Here lived Midwest’s Medici of design

“Located on the edge of town, far from the growing clutch of architectural gems, the home of the man who drove the architectural miracle that is Columbus – a small town where the world’s greatest talents converged to design schools, banks, office buildings, corporate headquarters, churches, and houses – Miller House sequestered its low-slung, blue-grey-slate magnificence behind a series of staggered hedges for more than a half century.”

“Sited on 13 acres on a series of bluffs above the Flat Rock River, the home of this Medici of the Midwest reads like a who’s who of midcentury modern design: architecture by Eero Saarinen (Kevin Roche was the main design associate), interiors and accessories by Alexander Girard; panoramic minimalist garden views sculpted by Dan Kiley; furnishings by Saarinen, Charles and Ray Eames, George Nelson, and Hans Wegner; textiles by Jack Lenor Larsen.”

  • By Judith Turner-Yamamoto – October 2, 2011


The Critical Role of the Client

“It takes a great client to make a great building, as architects like to say when they’re feeling modest. One of the major patrons of the 20th century put it this way: ‘Great architecture is … a triple achievement. It is the solving of a concrete problem. It is the free expression of the architect himself. And it is an inspired and intuitive expression of his client.’ Those were the words of J. Irwin Miller…”

  • By Cathleen McGuigan, Editor in Chief, Architectural Record, August 2011


America’s Most Significant Modernist House

“On a placid suburban street in Columbus, Indiana, a block-long wall of towering, neatly clipped evergreens was the only clue of the presence of an architectural wonder. I had arrived.”

“It is surrounded by some of the most beautiful Modernist gardens in the United States.”

  • Travel + Leisure
  • May 2011 – by Raul Barreneche


Twentieth-Century Fox

“In 1952, the late industrialist J. Irwin Miller and his wife, Xenia, commissioned a remarkable modernist triumvirate to create their home in Columbus, Indiana: Eero Saarinen designed the building, Alexander Girard masterminded the interiors, and Dan Kiley handled the landscape architecture.”

“I have visited my fair share of iconic modern homes, but the moment I walked in, this one felt unique.”

  • Dwell magazine
  • May 2011 – by Leslie Williamson


Living History

“…an unrivaled look at a pristine example of midcentury style.”

“The interior of the Miller House is pure Mad Men.”

“The Eames office invented the original Aluminum Group chairs for this house, and three rare prototypes remain, along with (Alexander) Girard’s whimsical table settings.”

  • Elle Decor
  • May 2011 – by Craig Kellor


The Miller House, Reborn

“It is not only a landmark of modern architecture but also a fine example, possibly the finest, of a kind of modernist design with which too few are familiar, one that is warm, livable and majestic as it flows together with the landscape.”

“For anyone associating modernism with cold comforts, the interiors by (Alexandar) Girard, a cosmopolitan who loved folk art, are startling.”

“Such nuance and exuberance are not what one expects to see in a High Modern icon with white marble walls. That confident collaboration between exquisite design and real life, of course, is what makes the Miller House so interesting. It is a house all aspiring

  • by Julie Iovine – Wall Street Journal, posted May 28, 2011


Modern Family

“From the moment it was completed, the project was heralded by the design world as a marvel of modernism.”

“Until now, Ezra Stoller’s photos had provided the only significant views of a private home that has been dissected by architectural historians, studied by pupils of mid-century America, and ogled by modern-design devotees.”

  • Indianapolis Monthly
  • May 2011 – by Amy Wimmer Schwarb


Miller House Reopens

“…it has two other exceptional features: bright, folk inflected modernist interiors by Alexander Girard, and one of the great gardens of the twentieth century by Dan Kiley, both of which perfectly dramatize its architecture. When he wrote about the Miller residence in these pages, Martin Filler predicted that ‘it will be hailed as a major revelation when it finally opens to the public.’ That revelation is now at hand.”

  • The Magazine Antiques
  • May-June 2011


Columbus, Ind. house touted as modernist marvel

“The rectangular Miller House, hidden by hedges from the street and surrounded by a 13½-acre lot, lives up to its reputation as a modernist marvel.”

“…every single object in the house belonged to the Millers, so a tour provides an intimate glimpse into the way they lived. And the design has some spectacular features.”

  • Cincinnati Enquirer
  • May 6, 2011 – by Steven Rosen


Mid-Century Time Capsule

“An invitation to the Miller House in Columbus, Indiana was something that architects coveted. Now the public can see what all the fuss was about.”

“Girard’s adjusting hand is very much on display, balancing Saarinen’s cool, almost corporate architecture, with warm, unexpected—even occasionally manic—decoration. But one never overwhelms the other.”

“The house served as a crucible for innovative industrial design. Girard and Saarinen worked closely together and with the Millers, who were becoming well versed in modern design, as well as collaborated directly with Charles Eames on furnishings.”

  • By Alan G. Brake – posted on May 25, 2011


Introducing the Miller House

“A Modernist gem from the 1950s by Eero Saarinen opens to the public in Columbus, Indiana, already a required stop for architectural tourism.”

  • May 12, 2011


It’s Miller Time

“…what’s most interesting about the Miller House is that it was conceived at the height of the experience of Modernism and by three designers who were at the peak of their careers: with Saarinen building his most important domestic commission, Girard doing his most beautiful interiors and Kiley’s gardens being regarded as some of the masterpieces of 20th century landscape architecture. At the centre of this amazing triumvirate was Mr. Miller himself, that rare client who gave these designers free range to do as they like…”

  • By Sharon McHugh – May 9, 2011


Inventing the Modern Garden

(The Miller gardens is) “what landscaping pioneer Daniel urban Kiley considered his best work.”

“A Boston native who studied at (but didn’t graduate from) Harvard, Kiley found inspiration for the Miller Garden on his airplane flights to and from Columbus. The Yankee was fascinated by the perfect squares of Midwestern farmland he saw below, and those geometries found their way into the Miller garden, particularly the checkerboard plantings of wildflowers.”

  • Garden Design
  • May/June 2011 – by Ted Loos


Step Right In

“The landscape, with its cleanly articulated geometric plantings, is widely considered a seminal modernist design. Its formal grid locks into that of the house, fitting…’like hand-in-glove.’”

  • Modernism Magazine
  • Summer 2011 (cover story) – by John Gendall


Living Color

“…the Indianapolis Museum of Art will open to the public the house that Eero Saarinen designed . . . giving design pilgrims one more reason to visit Columbus, Indiana.”

“The stone- and glass-walled house (contains) meticulously preserved interiors by Alexandar Girard, who sank the world’s first conversation pit into its living room.”

  • New York Times Style
  • April 3, 2011


Modern Marvel

“Stepping into the living room of the Miller House in Columbus is, literally, stepping into the history of the modern design movement.”

“The (dining) table . . . inspired the white pedestal Tulip Chair used on the original ‘Star Trek’ series and is one of the most important icons of modern design.”

  • Indianapolis Star newspaper
  • April 23, 2011 – by Sally Nalk Nancrede


Making the Modern House Home

“…it can now be seen as a link in the chain of glass houses that announced the arrival of modernism in America, and remain the icons of their respective architects’ work. Examples include Philip Johnson’s Glass House (1949), Mies van der Rohe’s 1951 Farnsworth House, the Eameses’ Pacific Palisades home (1949), and the family version built by Eliot Noyes down the road from Johnson in New Canaan (1954).”

“To ensure the house’s livability, Irwin and especially Xenia Miller hired a secret weapon: Alexander Girard. Girard’s contributions show up as spots of color, populating the minimalist architecture with texture and whimsy.”

“Of the famous glass houses, only the Noyes House, like this one, was built for a family. At the Noyes House, a certain New England Spartanism prevailed, with stone floors, Colonial chairs, and an outdoor passage from living to bedrooms (the Noyes kids say: chilly!). The Miller House was far more luxurious and aspirational.”

“A visit to the Miller House would not be complete without a tour of some of Columbus’s other amazing modern landmarks.

  • By Alexandra Lange – posted April 11, 2011


AD Classics: Miller House and Garden

“An architectural tradition developed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, this house encompasses some of the most fundamental aspects of the international Modernist aesthetic, including an open and flowing layout, flat roof and vast stone and glass walls. Saarinen also included ideas of the main walls of public areas extending from floor to ceiling and cut out of marble several inches thick. The exposed edges eliminate a sense of separation between interior and nature through use of huge panes of glass.”

  • By Megan Sveiven – posted March 2, 2011


Irwin Miller and the Eames Aluminum Group

The Eames Aluminum Group story, on the Herman Miller web site – see a variety of postings and photos related to Miller House and Garden.

  • posted online HERE



Miller House and Garden landscaping by Dan Kiley
Miller House and Garden kitchen
Miller House and Garden landscaping by Dan Kiley