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.