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Southern California Home with a Blue-and-White Palette
In southern California, one homebuilder shows that when it comes to construction sites, she knows her stuff
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Like most mothers, Catherine Miller can wrangle a to-do list like nobody’s business. Research summer camp for the twins, check. Schedule college visits for graduating daughter, check. Buy new putter for golfer son, check. Find time for school fundraisers, dental appointments, and building a house. Check, check, and check.
Yes, you read that right. Catherine builds houses, including the sprawling abode where she lives with her husband, Craig, and their four children. As a licensed general contractor, Catherine, an unusual player in the male-dominated field of construction, is an expert at the nuts and bolts (and floor joists and two-by-fours) of building. She started her business in 1997, and almost two decades later offers a full range of services—finding properties, constructing houses, and then adding the finishing touches of furniture, accessories, and artwork.
Per Catherine’s direction, Atlanta-based architect William Harrison created a Connecticut farmhouse-style plan that would wrap the Hidden Hills, California, corner lot. The house is affectionately dubbed “Inn on the Green” by the Millers, who all golf regularly.
Photography: Michael Garland
Architect: William Harrison, Harrison Design, 1875 Century Park E., Suite 1300, Los Angeles, CA 90067; 310/888-8747, harrisondesign.com.
Interior designer and general contractor: Catherine Miller, Design House, 310/918-3256.
Flowers: Brad Austin Imaginative Florals Inc., 323/658-8874.
“I was the one who loved my Lincoln Logs just as much as my Barbie Dream House,” Catherine reminisces of her early affinity for the construction process. “I studied interior design in college but with an emphasis on construction management. After working as a project manager at commercial construction companies, I wanted to be licensed so I could grow my own business.”
Hickory White’s substantial three-drawer chest in the entry hall offers a preview of the warm wood tones in the nearby den.
Wall and trim paint (custom): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Area rug (“Indigo Brooke Cotton Carpet” #1108555): Madeline Weinrib, madelineweinrib.com.
Drawer chest (#635-61): Hickory White, hickorywhite.com.
Mirror (“Milan”/Polished Stainless Steel #84A-231): Century Furniture, centuryfurniture.com.
Sisal carpet on stairs (“Dragon Grass”/Flint): Contempo Flooring, contempofloorcoverings.com.
When it came time to break ground on the corner lot where her own family’s home would sit in Hidden Hills, a gated equestrian enclave north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley, Catherine took the five “clients” whom she wakes up with every morning every bit as seriously as all the other people she serves.
Birdseye maple encases the sunny den.
Paneling (Birds Eye Maple/Honey): Woodie Woodpecker’s Woodworks, woodiewww.com.
Window shade (“Tenerife”/Marine #28788.5, colorway discontinued): Kravet, kravet.com.
Desk (#158-050, discontinued); leather desk chair (“Malibu” #740-01L): CTH Sherrill, sherrill-occasional.com.
Pair of chairs (“Exposed Wood Chair”/Weathered White #4496-01); table between chairs (#960-403, discontinued): Hickory White, hickorywhite.com.
Area rug (Natural Seagrass): Contempo Floor Coverings, 310/826-8063.
Bookcase lights (“Dean Picture Light” #AH2700, by Alexa Hampton for Visual Comfort): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
Desk lamp (“French Column Glass Swing Arm Table Lamp” #68270080PN): Restoration Hardware, rh.com.
For example, before the “pretty” factor of hardwood floors and dynamic artwork ever came into play, Catherine paid close attention to exactly how the house would sit on its two-acre corner lot. She positioned the entrance so that it faces the corner, which allows the structure to extend in either direction. “I have four active children who love playing sports,” Catherine explains. “It’s important that I can catch a glimpse of them in the backyard from anywhere in the house.”
Creamy white furnishings and navy accents set the tone in the formal living room, where walls wear just a whisper of blue.
Wall paint (custom, pastel base W215 1X/S1 0X 5.000/G1 0X 1.000); ceiling paint (custom, pastel base 215 1X Pure White); trim paint (custom, Y3 0X0 .5000/S1 0X 9.000): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Area rug (#A00 712 806 in color 83504): Stark, starkcarpet.com.
Drapery (“Enzo”/Snow 2); trim: Norbar Fabrics, norbarfabrics.com.
Mantel: original to house.
Sconces above mantel (“Abington” #4901-PN): Hudson Valley Lighting, hudsonvalleylighting.com.
Art above mantel (commissioned): by Alex Couwenberg, alexcouwenberg.com.
Sofa (“Sutton” #322-88); sofa fabric (#2393 10); white pillow fabric (#2393 10 with #14 “Iconic”/Navy Blue, 6-inch diameter); pair of lounge chairs (“St. Charles” #2601-21); armchair facing mantel (“Lucien” #9712-23): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Blue pillow on sofa with Greek key trim: owner’s collection.
Sofa end table (#793-22, discontinued): Hickory White, hickorywhite.com.
Table between lounge chairs (“Bunching Cocktail Table” #960-003): CTH/Sherrill Occasional, sherrill-occasional.com.
Coffee table: designer’s collection.
Leather benches in front of mantel (“Granger Upholstered Bench” #L115-UBE); leather (“Crocodile Onyx” with satin nickel nailheads): Vanguard Furniture, vanguardfurniture.com.
Display cabinets (“Michele Display Cabinet” #675-550, discontinued): Drexel Heritage, drexelheritage.com.
A classic blue-and-white palette infuses rooms throughout the house so they speak the same language, but with slightly different dialects. Case in point: In the family room, statement paisley fabrics steal the show. But the dining room adopts a quieter approach that complements the blue-and-white scheme via compatible colors.
A comfortable sofa and lounge chairs in the family room contrast with shapely spool-back chairs. All are from Hickory Chair.
Wall paint (custom): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Area rug; lamp on round table by window; blue-and-white vases: owner’s collection.
Sofa (“Silhouettes Made To Measure English Arm Sofa” #4122-21): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Table with spool legs (“Lamp Table” #410-940); round table by window (“Center Table” #485-720 in finish #48 Dark Tobacco): CTH/Sherrill Occasional, sherrill-occasional.com.
Lounge chairs (“Rawlings Tufted Chair” #569-24): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Pillows on lounge chairs; table behind lounge chairs; lamp on table; floor lamp: owner’s collection.
Ottoman/coffee table (“Alex Ottoman” #5410-53, by Alexa Hampton); tray on ottoman (“Alex Tray Top”/Oxford #5494-10); spool-back chairs (“Spool Chair” #5918-53, by Mark Hampton): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Television (“Elite”): Pioneer, pioneerelectronics.com.
Painted-white dining furniture offers a gentle transition to the grand outdoor drapery panels in oversize stripes that draw attention to the loggia seating area. The chandelier is from Circa Lighting.
Wall and trim paint (custom): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Drapery (“Neighbor”): Fabricut, fabricut.com.
Chandelier (“King George Grande Balustrade Chandelier” #CHC1143): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
Dining table (“Sheraton Dining Top #2798-70 and base #2799-70 in color Soleil, discontinued); dining chairs (“Rhode Island Chippendale Side Chair” #810-02): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Stemware (“Kelsey Platinum”): Waterford, waterford.com.
Dinnerware (“Madison Platine,” by Bernardaud, discontinued): Replacements, replacements.com.
Flatware (“Francis”): Reed & Barton, reedandbarton.com.
Placemats and napkins: Horchow, horchow.com.
Sideboard (#2131-70): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Painted-white Chippendale chairs from Hickory Chair support the light theme of the house, but make an off-script turn with colorful, old-school linen toile covering the seats.
The open kitchen features a stately island topped with Calacatta marble. Bar stools painted white and covered in indigo-blue fabric from Sunbrella are extra roomy and comfortable.
Wall, ceiling, and trim paint (custom); cabinet paint (white lacquer base, rubbed gray glaze, satin lacquer finish): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Decorative painting for cabinets: Juan Carlos Alba, California Art Painting, 310/429-1746.
Window shade (Century fabric #30166L5): Century Furniture, centuryfurniture.com.
Cabinetry: Woodie Woodpecker’s Woodworks, woodiewww.com.
Cabinetry hardware (“Pirouette Knob”): Restoration Hardware, rh.com.
Countertop (Calacatta marble): Set In Stone Marble & Granite, 818/765-5055.
Bar stools (“Chatham Counter Stool” #3210C, discontinued); fabric (#17021-56 in Outdoor Blue): Century Furniture. centuryfurniture.com.
Lights over island (“Arch Top Medium Lantern” #CHC3422): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
Microwave in island (#KB-6525PS): Sharp Electonics, sharpusa.com.
Island prep sink (“Shaws Original Belthorn Single Bowl Fireclay Bar/Food Prep Sink”#RC1515); apron-front sink (“Shaws Original Lancaster Single Bowl Fireclay Apron Front Kitchen Sink” #RC3018); island faucet (“Single Hole Kitchen Faucet with Lever Handles and Sidespray”/Satin Nickel #U.4766-2, by Perrin & Rowe); main faucet (“Bridge Kitchen Faucet with Sidespray”/Satin Nickel #U.4763-2, by Perrin & Rowe); pot-filler faucet (“Wall Mount Swing Arm Pot Filler”/Satin Nickel #U.4799-2, by Perrin & Rowe): Rohl, rohlhome.com.
Gas range (60-inch gas range, Professional 5 Series #VGCC5606GQSS): Viking, vikingrange.com.
Tile backsplash (“Soho Beveled Brick Tile”/White Gloss); backsplash behind range (“Paradigm Small Brick Off-Set”/Calacata with Nautilis Border in Calacata Blue): Walker Zanger, walkerzanger.com.
Flooring (walnut with polyurethane Duraseal X-terra): Menin’s Custom Flooring, 818/346-9338.
When Catherine built her family home, she wanted a place where she and Craig could unwind. Her attention to detail resulted in calm, private spots for the couple as well as places that are meant to erupt with the joyful noise of growing kids and their friends.
Ladderback chairs gather around the the dining table in the breakfast room where the blue-and-white palette is still at play thanks to decorative ginger jars and upholstered host chairs and seat cushions.
Wall paint (“Regal” pastel base #W215 1X): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Area rug (“Calypso” #35100 with blue binding): Contempo Floor Coverings, 310/826-8063.
Dining table (“Country English Draw Top Dining Table”/Antique Milano #54896S): Fremarc Designs, fremarc.com.
Host chair (#755-29-6, discontinued): Baker, bakerfurniture.com.
Ladderback side chairs (“The Georgian Cottage Chair” #4000-126): Theodore Alexander, theodorealexander.com.
Striped chair-cushions: Crate & Barrel, crateandbarrel.com.
Chandelier (“Classic Linear Chandelier” #SL5811): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
Ginger jar centerpiece: Three Hands Corp., threehands.com.
White vases on table; blue-and-white peices on buffet: designer’s collection.
Buffet (“Sorrento Buffet Base”/Antique Brittney #87222): Fremarc Designs, fremarc.com.
Candleholders on buffet: Pottery Barn, potterybarn.com.
In the rotunda of the hallway that leads to the master bedroom, a seating area with Lillian August chairs overlooks a small private garden.
Wall, trim, and ceiling paint (custom): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Hanging light (“Arch Top Large Tapered Lantern” #CHC3441): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
Drapery (“Dressur”/Indigo #Dressur.51): Kravet, kravet.com.
Pair of chairs (“Beckmore Host Chair” #LL1102C); chair fabric (“Lex”/Toast #28892): Lillian August for Hickory White, hickorywhite.com.
Table between chairs (“Venice Side Table” #7784-10, by Mariette Himes Gomez): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Mirrored bedside tables frame a bright white headboard in Craig and Catherine's master suite. At the foot of the bed, a tufted bench holds court atop a blue-and-white needlepoint rug.
Wall paint (Regal flat pastel #W 215 1X): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Flooring (walnut with polyurethane, by Duraseal Xterra): Menin’s Custom Flooring, meninscustomflooring.com.
Window shades (“Realm”/Royal #28786.5, by Barclay Butera Home, discontinued): Kravet, kravet.com.
Area rug: Vermilion Needlepoint Rugs, 212/535-7614.
Headboard fabric (“Hopsack Linen”/Bright White): discontinued.
Striped bed skirt (“Ennobled”/Royal #30339.5): Kravet, kravet.com.
White sheets: Between the Sheets, betweenthesheetsinc.com.
Pillow shams, back row (“Define”/Marine #30372.50, by Barclay Butera): Kravet, kravet.com.
Mirrored bedside tables (“Belvedere Chest” #1566-11, by Suzanne Kasler): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Table lamps (“Hatteras Table Lamp” #BRA-LZ-62742): Barclay Butera Home, barclaybuterahome.com.
Lounge chair (#3345): Sherrill Furniture, sherrillfurniture.com.
Oval-backed armchair (“Beckmore Host Chair” #LL1102C): Lillian August for Hickory White, hickorywhite.com.
Art (Monochrome Blue, by Jimi Gleason, 2004, acrylic on canvas): designer’s collection.
Glamour is the name of the game in the feminine dressing area. A skirted chair cozies up to a mirrored vanity; sconces on the mirrored wall illuminate a spot perfect for primping.
Ceiling paint (Silver Highlight over Smoke, Metallic Collection): Modern Masters, modernmasters.com.
Decorative painting: Juan Carlos Alva, California Art Painting, 310/429-1746.
Trim paint (custom, pastel base Y3 0X0 .5000 S1 0X 9.000): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Wall tiles (“Nautilis”/Calacata Blue, Paradigm Collection); flooring (“Bianco Bello Marble”): Walker Zanger, walkerzanger.com.
Washstand (“Tuxedo by Barbara Barry Console Table Legs with Towel Bar Front” #P73038-00): Kallista, kallista.com.
Mirror above washstand (“Sherise, Oval #01102 B): Uttermost, uttermost.com.
Wall sconce (“Lombard”/Polished Nickel #2702-PN): Hudson Valley Lighting, hudsonvalleylighting.com.
Hand towels; bottles on washstand (from Three Hands): owner’s collection.
Dressing table (“Rosedale Mirrored Vanity” #LA81551-01): Lillian August for Hickory White, hickorywhite.com.
Mirrored panels behind dressing table: A Touch of Glass, atouchofglassandmirrorwoodland.com.
Wall sconces on mirrored panels (“Dean Library Sconce” #AH2001, by Alexa Hampton for Visual Comfort): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
Chair (“Sue Ellen Vanity Chair” #5411-23, by Alexa Hampton): Hickory Chair, hickorychair.com.
Window shades (“Pavillon Silk”/Slate #8486.1115): Kravet, kravet.com.
A Kohler tub nestles into a rounded bump-out for a perfectly luxurious soak.
Wall paint (pearl finish pastel base #W310 1X S1 OX 8.000/Y2 OX 5.000/R1 OX 6.000); ceiling paint (Regal flat pastel #W215 1X); trim paint (pastel base custom #Y3 OXO .5000/S1 OX 9.000): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Window shades (discontinued): Kravet, kravet.com.
Chandelier (“Large Round Edwardian Entry Lantern” #CHC3428): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
Flooring (“Bianco Bello”): Walker Zanger, walkerzanger.com.
Bathtub (“Vintage” #K-700-0): Kohler, kohler.com.
Bath fixtures (“For Town by Michael S Smith Bath Faucet Set with Handshower, Crystal Cross Handles,” #P22707-CC): Kallista, kallista.com.
Basket by tub (natural vase sea sponge from Greece filled with pearlized trochus seashells): Brad Austin Imaginative Florals Inc., 323/658-8874.
A number of outdoor living areas line the house’s exterior. Most notable is the loggia, where the Millers frequently entertain. The seating area boasts Lane Venture furniture covered in white fabric and piped in blue.
Drapery: Sunbrella, sunbrella.com.
Flooring (Pennsylvania Blue Stone): Bourget Brothers, 310/450-6556.
Sofa (“Colin” #812-03); chairs (“Colin” #812-01); ottoman (“Colin” #812-05): Lane Venture laneventure.com.
Pillow fabric (“Bay Island”/Indigo #LFY50375F): Ralph Lauren Home, ralphlaurenhome.com.
Cocktail table (“Dutch Industrial Coffee Table” #61470002NATL): Restoration Hardware, rh.com.
Shell container for plant: discontinued.
Summer Classics wicker dining chairs surround the dining table. The fireplace warms the dining area on chilly nights, and the striped Sunbrella draperies can be closed for a cozy feel.
Ceiling paint (“Wood Ceilings Super White”): Benjamin Moore, benjaminmoore.com.
Flooring (“Pennsylvania Blue Stone”): Bourget Brothers, 310/450-6556.
Fireplace fabricator: ISO-Cal, 805/484-7350.
Dining table (“French Beam Teak Rectangular Dining Table”): Restoration Hardware, rh.com.
Wicker dining chairs (“Sedona” #3471); chair fabric: Summer Classics, summerclassics.com.
Dinnerware (“Mandarin Blue,” by Ralph Lauren, discontinued): Replacements, replacements.com.
Stemware; napkins (by Fateba); white lanterns: owner’s collection.
Wicker placemats (“Natural Water Hyacinth Placmeat”): Sur La Table, surlatable.com.
Hanging light (“Large Sussex Hanging Lantern”#CHO5033); wall lantern (“Medium Sussex Bracket Lantern” #CHO2032): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
“The best part about this house is that it allows us to enjoy life with so many people around us,” says Catherine. “We love to throw gatherings—from holiday celebrations to themed parties such as sushi and casino nights. We once even loaded the swimming pool with 200 inflatable red lobsters for a summer lobster boil. When I see so many people here, I know I’m home.”
Wood lounge chairs (“Croquet Teak Lounge Chair” #2837); cocktail table (“Croquet Teak Coffee Table” #2841); cushion fabric; trim on cushions (“Natural White Piping” #258); wicker sofa (“Sedona” #3475) and chairs (“Sedona” #3471): Summer Classics summerclassics.com.
Pillows (#15425-716 in Chilipepper): Duralee, duralee.com.
Drapery fabric: Sunbrella, sunbrella.com.
Wall lanterns (“Medium Sussex Bracket Lantern” #CHO2032): Circa Lighting, circalighting.com.
Craig and Catherine Miller with their four children, from left, Cassandra, 18; Cameron, 16; and twins Cade and Canter, 12.