Vizcaya Museum and Gardens

I took a break from laying out and cocktailing this weekend and looked through some sunny photos and saw these from my archives. I frequently visit South Florida to see my aunt and uncle. The last time I did, good friend Carmen Natschke of The Decorating Diva fame, strongly urged a visit to Vizcaya Museum & Gardens.
I'm so glad I took the drive to Miami from West Palm Beach, 
it was such a treat.

James Deering, 1916
 "Vizcaya was home to James Deering and a large staff that managed the estate. 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, in what is now south Miami-Dade County. The latter is now operated as The Deering Estate at Cutler. " --- vizcayamuseum.org
 Architect Burrall Hoffman, 1912
I'm including photos from Women's Wear Daily at a recent third annual Vizcaya Preservation Luncheon where they say, big hats and head-to-toe black prints were the reigning trends.

 entrance loggia
"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." --- vizcayamuseum.org

Secret Garden workers, 1916

the secret garden

 Village in 1917

entrance hall
"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 . " --- vizcayamuseum.org
painter Paul Chalfin


"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. Vizcaya intends to open these rooms to the public in the near future, thereby introducing new stories about those who lived and worked at the house." --- vizcayamuseum.org
James Deering's library
banquet hall
music room
the cathay
Deering's sitting room
Deering's bathroom
I was particularly taken with his shaving stand positioned in such a way that he would have a water view while shaving in the morning.
I took this photo of the other side of the bathroom.
James Deering's bedroom
guest bedroom
reception room
breakfast room
Perhaps it was the afternoon light streaming in, the breakfast room glowed. I loved the eclectic explorer flavor of the room with chinois touches.

flower-arranging room

The kitchen was a favorite of mine as well. Handsome hanging copper pots and pans always attract me and the immense hardware of this oven is gorgeous.
 east loggia
the tea room

embossed ceilings and walls leading up to the tower
also featured in one of the guest rooms

another desired area was the hallway 
that contained a smattering of one of a kind pieces
here's my adorable nephew, Zar
staircase photo from the museum archives

detail shot of stone barge from the museum archives


view of the villa from the gazebo

 Vizcaya aerial photo
"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." --- vizcayamuseum.org
landscape architect Diego Suarez, 1969

marine garden
 south terrace to the mound
 maze garden
David A. Klein orchidarium

After Deering’s death in 1925, a minimal staff maintained the house.  The hurricane of 1926, which devastated much of Miami, extensively damaged the house, surrounding grounds and formal gardens. Deering's heirs, Marion Deering McCormick and Barbara Deering Danielson, contacted the estate's original designer, Paul Chalfin, who oversaw the first restoration of Vizcaya in 1933-4. The McCormicks and Danielsons attempted to operate the estate as an attraction, but another major hurricane in 1935 overwhelmed their efforts. Eventually most of the land was sold for development. In 1952, Deering’s heirs generously conveyed the main house and formal gardens to Dade County, for a sum below the actual value.   In 1955, The County exercised an option to acquire the village as well.  Deering's heirs donated the estate's substantial furnishings and art to the County on condition that Vizcaya be used as a public museum in perpetuity. Over the years the effects of South Florida’s elements have taken their toll on Vizcaya, making constant restoration and the installation of a climate control system a necessity."  --- vizcayamuseum.org

We ended the day at the charming
Casa Tua restaurant.
It houses a members-only club and 5-suite boutique hotel 
personalized and designed by Michele Bonan.

The cozy feel of the restaurant goes with its 
well executed rustic menu.
grilled octopus

ravilolini del plin with sauteed mix mushrooms,
truffle pecorino, and black truffles

*photos are from personal archives (taken December 2009)except for most of the historical professional images and the fashion photos are from WWD*


traci zeller designs said...

I've only been to Vizcaya Museum and Gardens once ... and it was dark. I need a return visit!

froulala.blogspot.com said...

thanks traci. some of the rooms were darkish and we only got to peek due to its fragility. much of the fab wallpaper were covered to block the moisture too. their gorg photo archives were really helpful and highlighted the beautiful rooms. worth a visit tho for all the architectural details and antiques.

Jamie Herzlinger said...

Love the post! As a little girl I would visit there twice a year so ic Luke try to remember every detail! Thanks for a walk down memory lane!
Jamei Herzlinger

Send me your project for a quote! said...

I am an Chinese editor doing a research about Vizcaya.Your post is very detailed and helpful, thanks a lot.Pay a visit, if you are interested.


Send me your project for a quote! said...

I am an Chinese editor doing a research about Vizcaya. Your post is very detailed and helpful, thanks a lot. Pay a visit, if you like.