Coda: Serendipity Saves Neutra’s Miller House

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[Originally published 2nd quarter 2002, in arcCA 02.2, “Citizen Architects.”]

Author Bob Aufuldish is a partner in the graphic design firm Aufuldish + Wariner and the designer of arcCA.

This photograph is deceiving.

In February, while in Palm Springs on vacation, I took some photos of the Miller House that seemed to suggest the house was in dire straits. Through a bit of luck searching the internet, I located current owner Catherine Meyler, and asked about her plans for the house. Soon it became clear that the house was not in danger, but had in fact been saved.

Catherine knew the previous owner, who had let the house slip into a dangerous state of disrepair, and was able to convince him to sell to her the house in 2000. She has been diligently restoring it ever since, updating the original 1937 electrical system, replacing the plumbing, reframing the structure, installing HVAC, and bringing everything up to code. That she finally received a Certificate of Occupancy last October is a measure of the level of work needed. Catherine has a special affinity for the house, which she describes as “very easy and a joy to live in,” because Grace Miller was close to Catherine’s age when the house was built.

Significantly, the house should soon have Palm Springs Class 1 Historic Site status. This status means that any future changes proposed for the house will have to pass a review board.

A more appropriate front door has been installed since the photo was taken.



The AIACC represents the interests of more than 11,000 architects and allied professionals in California. Founded in 1944, The AIACC's mission supports architects in their endeavors to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more livable communities, sustainable designs and quality work environments. Today, The AIACC is the largest component of the National AIA organization.

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