I swear this is the last blog about Miami!
For all the faux finishers and decorative painters out there, I wanted to give you a heads up about Vizcaya. If you are traveling to Miami to vacation or visit grandma, please put this on your list of places to visit.
Vizcaya was the winter home of industrialist James Derring, of the International Harvester fortune. It was built in 1914-1916. How they accomplished this is two years is beyond me. (They say that 10% of Miami’s population worked on the house.) First of all, the exterior is beautiful. They have amazing gardens and statuary everywhere, plus bridges, arbors, and carved gates and benches (the garden took a little longer to do). The house overlooks a pristine section of Biscayne Bay. The view of the bay from the house is interrupted by a dock built from coral stone in the shape of a large barge. It’s a little like looking out a window in Venice. It gives a sense of humor to all the grandeur. The pool has a enclosed grotto where any mermaid would love to swim. If you get bored with all that, you can have tea in the gazebo and look at the water or admire your reflection in the marble.
The house was built in the Mediterranean Revival style. It has spacious rooms, high ceilings, and more ornament, plaster, faux finishing, murals, and decorative painting than your mind can absorb. Paul Chalfin was the interior and exterior designer for the home. He had been an artist as well as an assistant to Elsie De Wolfe. The interiors are lush with every type of exotic wood, marble and fabric. Mr. Derring was a collector of fine objects...and it shows. This is over-the-top opulence. This is a lifestyle that few could afford, then or now.
Check out the pictures of Vizcaya
Janie Ellis, RID, ASID-IP, CF,