Design Matters.

At Miller & Smith, we know when it comes to building homes, design matters. We like to think it’s what sets us apart and gives us an edge. Let’s face it. Being surrounded by comfort and beauty simply makes our lives better. There’s nothing really gratuitous about beauty and certainly nothing mundane about functionality. In fact, making ordinary tasks satisfying and everyday surroundings enriching is the surest way to increase your life’s fulfillment. And when something is both beautiful and functional, it earns a place in our lives and becomes a part of our experience. That tall task of designing a home that becomes a part of an individual’s story is what we at Miller & Smith do best. Just ask our Vice-President of Marketing, Kim Ambrose, who recently was interviewed by Professional Builder Magazine

Miller & Smith Vice President of Marketing, Kim Ambrose

Design inspiration is serious business at Miller & Smith, so much so that the design team travels the country looking for ideas to bring back to the market. “A couple of years ago we sent teams to Chicago, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Portland to look at the housing product in those markets,” says Kim. “Our team plans to go international for next year’s inspiration trip—Canada, where we’ve been seeing a lot of new exciting trends emerging.”

The materials gathered from those trips continue to provide inspiration for new and upcoming projects from designing new elevations and floorplans. “We just used an inspiration photo from a very upscale, single-family neighborhood that had a cluster land plan where four homes are situated around a common driveway for a new project we’re working on.”

One Loudoun in Ashburn, VA by Miller & Smith

To keep the home designs fresh and current, at Miller & Smith the product is continually evolving based on response received from homebuyers. “Our current floor plans are much more contemporary than even five years ago,” says Kim.  “Wide-open interior spaces with expansive rooms and kitchens with modern finishes such as infinity islands dominate our portfolio.”

The Orchard at New Market Open Floorplan by Miller & Smith

Take for instance rooms that once played an important role in the home now have been replaced with ones that are more functional and more in demand, according to the response from the homebuying public. “None of the homes in our nine active communities features a living room,” says Kim.  “Comfortable, casual, yet spacious living areas have replaced traditional, formal spaces in all of our home collections.”

new homes in ashburn va

Besides traveling for inspiration and relying on internal and external market research, Miller & Smith also pays close attention to pop culture and the larger home design community for emerging trends. “Open floor plans are definitely a hot button right now,” says Kim. “You hear it all over HGTV, and Miller & Smith was one of the first builders in this market to offer open floor plans at every price range.”

kitchen at embrey mill in stafford va

The D.C. Metro area is heavily dominated by national homebuilders who offer the same product line time and again and in every one of their communities. Design becomes our competitive advantage, as we know the best way to offer our style-conscious homeowners what they’re seeking is through unique floorplans and elevations.  “Our buyer values design and is not just buying on cost per square foot,” says Kim. “We are competitive in price, but our real point of differentiation is product design and the integration of that design into the land plan.”

new home at maple lawn by Miller & Smith

We may be in the business of building homes, but we know it’s not just about sticks and bricks. We are world travelers and cool hunters. We are good listeners and researchers. We are designers and trend-setters. We love design and what we do. We build homes.  We’re Miller & Smith and we know design matters.




Mid-Century Comeback.

It’s happened to all of us before. The moment when you realize you should have kept an article of clothing from 15 years ago because it’s the latest fad. Again. We saw it happen with Rayban sunglasses, denim jackets, leggings, even MC Hammer harem pants. It’s called a Fashion Cycle and surely a trend that you thought or hoped would never be in demand again, actually comes full circle. In interior design, trends come and go, too.  As we celebrate our 50th anniversary this year, we’ve been studying the year 1964. Looking at our own photo archives, taking note of all the major brands also celebrating their golden year in business and admiring the interior design trends of the time. What we’ve found is 1964 was way cool. From Ford Mustangs to The Beatles and shag rugs to high impact patterns, for a company that values good design and trend-setting, you could say we picked the perfect year as our launching pad. 

The 1960’s were a time of self-expression and interior design was no exception. Design became a means of provoking emotion and reaction through two predominant styles. Minimalism, a form of Modernism, reduced design to the most essential elements, while the contrasting flower power Hippie movements were more decorative and ethnic in nature.

Colors like gold, green, orange and yellow were popular and could be seen in clothing, cars and interior design. 

Mid-Century Living Room

This Mid-Century Modern chair fits perfectly in a 1964 living room just as easily in a Miller & Smith model home.

So too was a palette more aimed at maximum impact, including psychedelic fuschia pink and orange. Large paisley and stylized floral patterns were popular, with the thought that the more colorful the fabrics the better. The contrasting hippie look with ethnic prints also was favored as curtains, wall hangings and bedspreads.

Danish style furniture embraced the principles of Bauhaus modern for an overall look that made use of clean, pure lines and high quality materials. 

Mid-Century Bedroom

Clean lines were the essence of Mid-Century furniture, seen also in this modern replica dresser.

In the 1960’s, a big transition occurred in home design when casual family rooms or dens were built in addition to the traditional formal living room. A possible reason for this stark change occurred when the television became the focal point of the family room. This room became so popular to families, that TV trays were designed so dinner could be eaten where everyone congregated.

Mid-Century Living Room

We love the contrast that the brightly colored, bold patterned rug provides in this 1964 family room, as well as in a new home of today.

Wild and brightly colored shag and textured rugs made for visual interest among the contrasting clean lines of the rooms they anchored. No-wax vinyl floors started to take the place of linoleum. 

Mid Century Kitchen

The ethnic influence of these hanging pendants provides great visual interest in this Mid-Century kitchen. Check out these modern replicas inspired by this design movement.

 You can page through any of the popular interior design catalogs of our time and see that the overall resurgence of this past style is absolute. As the popularity of this Mid-Century Modern design movement continues; there is much hope that the beauty, functionality, and well thought-out design practices of this era, of our very beginnings at Miller & Smith, are now being re-introduced into today’s interior design plans. We’ve come full circle and we’re proud to say we’re bringing mid-century back.