Florence and Milton Miller—a schoolteacher and an artist and designer, respectively—lived in Stuyvesant Town, New York City, before venturing an hour north to Monroe to build their dream home. To make it happen, they worked closely with architect R. L. Strassman to create a design inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright and Marcel Breuer.
The linear structure, made of wood and stone, features a modernist material palette that complements its wooded surroundings. In true ’60s fashion, expanses of glass allow natural light to flood the residence and illuminate custom built-in cabinetry, including George Nelson–designed dressers and bookshelves from Herman Miller.
The current owners, Kate and Jim Villone, were immediately drawn to its feeling of timelessness. The couple, an operating room nurse and a yacht dealer, have lived there since 2006, when Kate worked as a professional furniture restorer specializing in midcentury-modern pieces—and both are great admirers of midcentury architecture.
"From the moment we stepped inside, we knew this was the house that we had been searching for," says Jim. "We had lived on our sailboat for several years in New York Harbor, and there was something about this house that reminded us of a boat with cabinets, shelves, and even dressers built into the design, which made it feel practical, beautiful, and simple: a place for everything, and everything in its place."
While the couple, who have two young children, have made thoughtful updates, the residence remains true to its original design.
"We have done quite a bit of renovation, but only after careful consideration if it is in the spirit of the house," says Jim. "Before we start a project we always ask, ‘What would Milt do?’"
The single-story, 1,533-square-foot house offers two bedrooms, each with plenty of closet space and its own colorful bathroom—one with a corner tub. Wood ceilings with exposed beams stretch above slate floors, and a large stone fireplace instills a rustic nature in the living room.
"We love that the house needs little decoration," says Jim. "The house itself—the stone walls, the wood cabinetry, the windows, and the views—is the decoration."
Updates are most apparent in the kitchen, which has been outfitted with Porcelanosa tile backsplashes, honed Carrara marble countertops, and modern appliances. The next room offers a built-in office nook and laundry facilities, and outside, a sylvan retreat unfolds with a stone patio and sitting area for al fresco dining.
The family is now moving to a larger home, and have decided to let go of their beloved midcentury. "We will miss 28 Midoaks Street," they say. "It was our first house, and the house that our kids grew up in. We feel lucky to have lived here."
28 Midoaks Street in Monroe, New York, is currently listed for $449,000 by Mary Ann Mitchell of Exp Realty.
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