My recent road trip out of cold weather and into the warmth of south Florida has me reinterpreting what the definition of a "lodge" should be for a current client. Who knew that James Deering, the agricultural industrialist of American International Harvester acclaim, could have created such a textural paradise at his 1916 Coral Gables estate, Vizcaya” Now owned by Miami-Dade County, Vizcaya is a National Historic Landmark and a designer’s treasure trove of texture, pattern and fabulous color, all of which have inspired me to think differently for my latest project.
Though I was incredibly heartbroken that I could not take interior photographs showing all of the natural materials like coral and rock in an interior context, the exterior gardens are so unbelievably inspirational that I soon recovered and was in photographic heaven.
It is texture that dominates these tropical gardens. Texture created an abundance of patterns. Texture came alive in nature’s colors. Texture framed exterior rooms for the Deering’s wealthy guests to roam and take serene pleasure in during their stays at Vizcaya.
Vizcaya was and still is an Atlantis-like fantasy on the Atlantic Ocean. Oh, to have been there during it’s heyday, complete with the butler in the butler’s pantry, games in the game room, tea in the tea room, and a yacht awaiting to take elegant passengers on coastal cruises.
It is as easy to dream there today as it was back then. The place had me imagine glassy, water-like surfaces mixed with roughly textured woods and stone in my client’s lodge space…
• The real bark veneer from the North Carolina mountain forests I had been considering as cladding for the great room columns are reminiscent of the moss covered stone fossils abundant in the Vizcaya gardens.
• A deep, rich, wavy pool-like glass top on a large coffee table would be the perfect interpretation of the pond in front of the mansion.
• The intensely saturated and textured blues of my client’s wall hanging would contribute the breathtaking colors of the sky and of the sea.
• Perhaps I could use a terracotta mantel for the fireplace, mirroring the color of the ones found in the Vizcaya gardens.
• Lastly, I could find light fixtures possessing the texture and softly bleached hues present in the shell ceilings and coral walls of the garden’s grottos.
This much need break from my computer inspired me in a totally new direction. Now I am excited to set off on my project design journey. Who knows how it will end” This is the part of the process I relish. I’ll wander down my inspired path, moving around challenges and obstacles, all the while searching for the perfect harmony within the project’s confines. There is nothing like a road trip to clear the mind and inspire anew.
Vizcaya is wonderful. I hated to leave the place. Hopefully you can hit the road soon, discovering your own Vizcaya and your own project inspiration.
To see Sheree’s entire Vizcaya photo album, simply click on the image below.