Stephani Miller's Favorite Design Objects

In my opinion nothing speaks so well to human comfort and warmth, connects so well to a sense of American heritage, exudes as much charm, or so perfectly embodies an appreciation for the natural as a Craftsman home. There's a suitable Craftsman rendition for nearly any region of the country. Whether a Greene and Greene or Wright original, a Sears kit home, or an airy modern interpretation, the underlying principles are the same, and their expression has enduring appeal.

More elegant than either chrome or stainless steel, satin nickel offers a softer metallic sheen and the benefit of less susceptibility to fingerprint smudging. A knob or lever in stainless steel tends to look either institutional or uber-modern, while a chrome finish frequently looks dated or retro-kitschy. But the same knob or lever executed in satin nickel looks just as the words sound flowing off the tongue: sleek, liquid, muted but still exerting its presence, modern but classically beautiful.

Whether you mingle with the horsey set or not, there's nothing like an English riding boot. They will forever be "classic," no matter how they change with every season. I've been wearing some version of an equestrian boot ever since I started riding horses as a kid. My current favorite is a high-heeled version combining soft suede and pebbled leather with buckle and strap detailing. They have cavalry officer flair and a slight buccaneer vibe that I find intriguing.

Intrepid reporters, private eyes, and artists of espionage the world over—plus a few million business professionals—know the value of a trench coat. A trench is universally flattering whether it’s double- or single-breasted; tan, black, olive, or the latest "It" color; buttoned-up and sharply belted or swinging loose; long or knee-length. Its mutability is the key to its lasting appeal: from wardrobe workhorse to style statement to cloak of intrigue and back.

Clean lines give a Chippendale sofa a certain flexibility of style that allows it to serve as a blank slate. Irresistibly graceful and elegant, its soft curves and slim wooden legs strike a perfect balance between traditional and contemporary. A Chippendale takes equally well to any setting depending on the material, color, and pattern of its coverings. A rich damask lends a formal traditional flavor, while a swathing of luscious jewel-toned velvet gives it a dramatic personality. It can make a playful statement in brightly colored, modern-printed twill, or exude quiet simplicity in a natural linen cover.

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