After the release of Handcrafted Modern, Dwell Magazine called me up and asked me to photograph Irwin J. Miller’s modernist home in Columbus, Indiana and write about it as if it were a lost chapter from my book. This request was a joy to fulfill. It was a rare opportunity to be able to spend an extended period of time within these walls.
Designed by Eero Saarinen, with interiors by Alexander Girard and the landscape architecture by Dan Kiley, this house set the standard in many ways for modern homes to come. It had the first conversation pit in the living room, the first version of Saarinen’s now classic Tulip Table in the dining room and every detail from pillows to custom rugs designed by Girard to speak directly to the lives of its occupants.
Girard continued to work with the Millers on the interiors of the house as their needs evolved through their lives there and all are documented and in the archives of the Indianpolis Museum of Art who now runs the house as a museum. I ended up spending an extra day just to shoot all the swatches and hand drawn floor plans for myself. I even photographed Alexander Girard’s final annotated bill – on an epically long adding machine tape receipt. Total cost: $324,045.70