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Monday, February 22


Do you ever have nights when you REALLY need to go to bed because you have a early morning and a fully packed day following?
Well that's me tonight- and for some reason I can't sleep.
But the good news for you is that I was looking at photos of my trip to Palm Beach a few months back and came across these photos from my day trip to Vizcaya (sorry there aren't more and that they are not better- just on my iphone and it was low on battery (another note to you apple people- next version make a longer battery life!)


Built by agricultural industialist James Deeering in 1916, set on ten acres, Deering occupied Vizcaya only in the winter months, from 1916-1925 (when he died). Deering was a Vice President of the International Harvester Company, which produced agricultural equipment for a worldwide market. He chose a bayfront site in Miami for his tropical winter home because of the location’s temperate winter climate and his appreciation of the native hardwood hammock. In addition, his father, William, had already settled in Coconut Grove and his half brother, Charles Deering, would soon develop an estate at Cutler.

At the time of Vizcaya’s construction, Miami’s population was around 10,000. More than 1,000 workers were employed in the Vizcaya project, including laborers and craftsmen from the Caribbean and Europe. In addition to the house and gardens, the complex included a farm, livestock, and a variety of other service facilities covering 180 acres on both sides of South Miami Avenue.

When he began building his winter home, Deering engaged the assistance of Paul Chalfin, a young New York painter, to supervise the entire project. Deering and Chalfin traveled throughout Europe surveying residential architecture for ideas and obtaining components such as doors, wall panels, mantels and ceilings that would be incorporated into the proposed home. Also working on the project were architect F. Burrall Hoffman and Colombian landscape architect Diego Suarez.

The house was intended to appear as an Italian estate that had stood for 400 years and had been occupied and renovated by several generations of a family. It has 34 decorated rooms with 15th through 19th century antique furnishings and art objects. The house appears to be only two stories high but between the main public rooms and the bedrooms, there is an intervening level with 12 rooms for servants and service.

The expansive gardens combine elements of Renaissance Italian and French designs. Suarez and Chalfin worked for seven years, perfecting the design of the gardens as one vast outdoor room with the elements serving as complementary parts of an integrated area. Key features include the many fountains, a central pool surrounding an elevated island, the elevated Mound with its small house, or “Casino,” statuary, and several themed gardens.


Developing Designs said...

Sorry to hear you couldn't sleep (same thing here, must be the moon phase or something :)) but am thrilled to wake up to see such a lovely post filled with amazing photos of the gardens.....Wow, that place is amazing! I think they nailed the feeling of the Italian country side in Florida! :) XO

Michael Hampton said...

Hope you were finally able to get to sleep!?
Vizcaya is stunning! I had no idea. Is it open to the public? I am hopping on the next plane to Miami!

La Maison Fou said...

What beautiful digs, those Carytid collumns holding up the archway is fabulous!
I would like to walk down that pathway,...meandering my way through those ruins!
Thanks for sharing that this morning,

Trouvais said...

Wow...maybe I should rethink investing in a better camera...loved the photos. I guess its all in the subject...and eye. Red sky this morning (sailors warning?) but hopefully another beautiful day. Merci. Trish

Cashon&Co said...

those photos are just lovely. I love old garden ornamentation that has an old patina, as this does. I can only imagine myself walking around with a Pimm's Cup and pearls on....

Anonymous said...

I was just there last weekend - what a magical place - KDM

pamwares said...

I have been to Vizcaya several times when I lived in Miami. You captured the beauty!

katiedid said...

What a great diversion from working! Thanks for the pictures.

The Down East Dilettante said...

it just doesn't get any better than Vizcaya. Coincidentally, I came across a series of superb black & white photos when it was new, and before the grounds were truncated. Absolutely poetic, intend to post them next week.

I visit whenever possible. The completeness, and poetry, and quality of the place are incomparable. Sadly, though, in recent years, the grounds have been very badly maintained, and some design intent in the plantings is being rapidly lost as a result.

Thanks for the armchair trip

Kellie Woodward said...

Hi Grant You have beautiful and unique angles on your Vizcaya photos. I love seeing the garden from someone else's eye. If I had known you were coming I would have "baked a cake"! or at least had you come by for lunch. Vizcaya recently hired a horticulturlist and he (Ian Simpkin) has the garden looking better every day.

Chic Coles said...

We had no idea that such a beautiful building was in Miami.Amazing what a little farm equiment could do for one. Thank you so much for the introduction. Hope to visit some day. Hope you were able to rest.

doug said...

beautiful! and those are pretty good for iPhone pics...longer battery life AND better camera would both be nice upgrades for the next one

Anonymous said...

Paul Chalfin certainly had fantastic opportunities both as a student of Jean leon Jerome (Never forget his Pygmalion and Galatea at the Met.) and as a designer for Elsie de Wolf. Perhaps one day your Iphone would send us some pictures of the interiors as well? Thanks Grant, it is such a treat to look at these photographs. ANON


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