Saturday, March 19, 2011

hortense miller: the woman who lived well and lived right

thanks to sunset magazine's facebook page, i learned about a house and garden tour happening today in laguna beach- the home of hortense miller.  hortense was an amazing woman, far ahead of her time.  born in 1908 in saint louis, missouri to manley mann (yep!) and anna mann, she was strong willed from a young age.  she decided to be a vegetarian at 12 and was a declared feminist soon after.  she married oscar miller, a lawyer 20 years her senior from chicago, and the two moved to laguna beach in 1953.  i can only imagine the laguna they arrived to back then....untouched and wild compared to now.

they bought 3 acres of land and built a mid-century style house that captured the beauty of it's surroundings with amazing natural light and an open floor plan.  unfortunately oscar died soon after the house was completed but hortense continued to live there for the next 55 years.  according to those that knew her, she had a wicked sense of humor, a close group of friends that visited often and a love for native plants and art.  her house is filled with her artwork, sculptures and essence.  although she is not alive today, she was greatly felt in every nook and cranny of her her home.  the house and garden was donated by hortense to the city of laguna beach in 1976 but she continued to live there until a couple years before her death.  normally you have to make a reservation to see it, but today was a spring open house. i am SO intrigued by her and can't wait to learn more.

she took what she was given in life, the opportunity to own a home like this, in such amazing surrounds and ran with it.  she lived a rich life full of books, friends, art, ocean and gardening and made it just shy of her 100th birthday.  her obituary and garden website give more incite into her fascinating life and character.
her jewelbox of a home almost hidden from above where you enter.


pergola on the hillside above her home


guest room with an ocean/garden view


hortense's art on a lamp


guest bathroom

hortense's sun art in the bathroom

hortense's art in her bedroom of the history of the region she came from

her bathroom


microscope from her days as a science teacher in her bedroom






handmade globe hanging in her living room. ::LOVE::




i love that she wrote the titles on the spines of books that were too warn to read


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covered garden patio off the kitchen


the ocean is the brightness out there

handmade plant id signs everywhere

bamboo lattice 



walking on one of the many trails on her property and the view of the canyon below




handmade macramé sliding screens 

inspiring for sure........

2 comments:

laura said...

Incredible. I think I smelled the sea air of Laguna when I saw your pictures. Thanks for sharing!! (wish I could have gone too....) xo

maison21 said...

love. what a cool interior and a cool lady.