Who is Hugh? Hugh was a son of Herman Miller’s founder DJ De Pree and CEO of the company from 1962 to 1980. This was also the period in which charismatic designer George Nelson worked as Herman Miller’s creative director (1945 – 1972). Nelson was not only busy designing for the company – he also designed Hugh’s Zeeland, Michigan home. The 3,000 square foot house built for Hugh and his wife Ruth in 1946 (Hugh was vice president at the time). Nelson also designed the 1961 additions that included a sunken living room and interior courtyard.
A recent visit to the archives, which are an absolute treasure trove of material, found these images taken by an unknown photographer. The home is still standing and has changed hands out of the family since Hugh’s death in 2002. The current owners, Richard and Cheryl Van Oss, bought the house in June 2004 and spent a year renovating it. The Van Osses moved into the house in May 2005 adding vintage and new Herman Miller pieces – including a 1954 bedroom suite designed by George Nelson. They certainly have a great respect for the Nelson legacy and have documented their restoration of the house. For a wonderful insider’s tour click here. And for more on Nelson click here.
These photos are from the Herman Miller archives.