Home of the Month: Royal, Fun and Stylish

This Port Royal home projects the energy of color and the elegance of classics.

BY May 12, 2017

I’ll be honest with you; I’ve not investigated the genealogy of homeowner Jill Miller. But it’s safe to assume she comes from royalty, because she lives like a princess.

With crystal chandeliers, gilded furnishings and enough ornate detail to give a minimalist vertigo, the home on Rum Row in Port Royal is a monument to personal expression.

“I kind of fly by the seat of my pants a little bit with this stuff,” says Miller, a former executive director of the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Detroit Section. “I have never bought a decorating magazine. I don’t go on the internet and look for colors or what I should do next. But somewhere in this head of mine I have this vision that I love the energy of color, but the elegance of classics. So you mix the two together and you end up with this look.”

It’s like Joan Fontaine and Aly Khan started a bed and breakfast.

“I think I should have been an adult in the 1950s, because I love the formal,” Miller adds. “Most homes are becoming less formal and more casual, and yet I like mine to be formal but warm and welcoming.”

Mission accomplished. But it took some effort to get here. When Miller and her husband, Steve, purchased this five-bedroom, five full- and three half-bathroom home, it was overwhelmingly dark and Tuscan. (Newsflash: The previous owner was a bachelor.)

The Millers knew it needed to be updated to Jill’s taste (Husband of the Year Award nomination: Steve), so they called Kelli Sultan of KVS Interior Design. Not surprisingly, Jill and Kelli clicked right away. Same story for contractor Tommy Houchin of Houchin Construction.

“The home is very well-appointed with a European classic, sort of modern style on the exterior, and on the interior we just started looking at each individual room and started changing moldings, started changing cabinetry, paint color, wall covering, light fixtures, plumbing fixtures, etc.,” Sultan says.

The Millers already had many of these furnishings in the home they were selling at the time in Mediterra. After all, Jill knows what she likes.

“Some of the bigger pieces of furnishing and upholstery, rather than seeing something neutral with a pop of color on a pillow, we almost did the reverse and did the larger pieces with pops of color and the draperies with color and had the backgrounds very classic, very European,” Sultan adds.

The result is a fascinating combination of Princess Grace meets Lilly Pulitzer meets Scott Thorson’s impressionable years.

“(Sultan and Houchin) just far exceeded my expectations,” Miller says. “My only disappointment in the whole project was when it was over. Most people can’t wait until it’s over, and they’re frustrated. But there was not one frustrating moment in this whole process.”

Spoken like true nobility—from a home that’s royal, fun and stylish. And best of all, it’s perfectly suited to its owner.

Palatial from top to bottom with more than a hint of whimsy, this home speaks volumes about its owner and is perfect for entertaining.


The lavish grand room looks out over the stunning outdoor space and onto the water.


If there is a common thread within this property—besides the ornate touches throughout—it’s the owner’s penchant for chandeliers. The massive crystal fixture hanging from the 25-foot ceiling in the great room is one of several statement pieces that illuminate this royal residence.


Silver-leaf detailing abounds in the master suite, and yet another chandelier adds mood lighting fit for a princess.


As this residence is home to former auto industry executives, you could be forgiven if you assumed the marques in question were Rolls-Royce or Bentley based on this front entry. But we’re talking Detroit iron.


Interior designer Kelli Sultan of KVS Interior Design went bold throughout and used color on major surfaces, with pops of neutral in what might be called a reversal of fortunes. Fuchsia wallpaper borders the kitchen …


… while blues, pinks and animal skins work beautifully in the study.


Interior design: Kelli Sultan, KVS Interior Design

Construction: Tommy Houchin, Houchin Construction

Photography by John Sciarrino, Giovanni Photography