Luckily, the Millers kept what they had, making only minor changes as
their five strapping sons grew up and left home. The whole family was tall,
so high ceilings were essential. I asked Mr. Miller if he had been inspired
by other modern houses and he responded with a laugh: "We'd seen
a Wright house in South Bend. Didn't like it. He was a great man but
he designed for people the same height as himself." The Millers were
fond of entertaining and Girard incorporated a sunken conversation pit
to eliminate a clutter of seating in the living room—a feature that was
widely copied in the following decade—as well as built-in bookshelves.
The travertine and terrazzo floors and marble walls are a foil to the
furnishings. Mrs. Miller had a great eye for color and worked closely with
Girard to achieve a subtle mix. In summer, she would exchange red
apr + may
cushions for cream and back again in winter. She asked the designer to
create a rug that incorporates their initials, as well as a Y for Yale, a C for
Cummins, and favorite motifs like a sailboat and a rocking chair.