Exterior Shot From the Back (Photo by Me)
(This part looks over Biscayne Bay and the Stone Barge)
The name Vizcaya is derived from the Spanish region of the same name also overlooking the bay of Biscay, hence in Miami, Biscayne Bay. Upon entering Vizcaya you are immersed in a different time and era, and feel as if you are no longer in the city. With its winding roads and dense tropical foliage where trees are covered with orchids in every shape and color imaginable and statues of Greek gods aplenty, the estate is astounding - truly one of America's best examples of early 20th century industry wealth. The estate is much smaller than the original 180 acres with much of it being destroyed in the hurricane of 1926 and then later some of the property being sold to developers.
Above is the outdoor veranda...yes the veranda! It is now glassed in to help perserve as the water is literally less than 30 or so feet from the openings. The floors are done from marble and granite slabs with terrazzo surrounds. The ship hanging was the emblem of the home and is symbolized in many different details, one also being the leaded glass inserts in some of the windows.
Photo Miami/Dade County
This room is truly amazing, I could have stayed in there at least an hour looking at the countless details. The walls are upholstered with Scalamandre fabric depicting the scenes "The Rape of Helen" by Francesco Primaticcio where Aprodite uses Helen as currency to entice Trojan Prince Paris so he will appoint her the most beautiful of goddesses. The floor design of alternating square and circles mirror the plaster detailing in the ceiling. The urn pictured on the left is a famous reproduction of the Townley Urn - I have two of these but much smaller scale in my own home. The powder baths are right off of this room as well, and of course, there is a his and hers.
Stairwell (one of many)
Photo Miami/Dade County
There are several stairwells throughout the home, this surprising being the main and largest, perhaps because there was an elaborate elevator and most likely it was the house staff that utilized the stairs. The other stairwells are very narrow and windy - think Sleeping Beauty when she is hypnotized to go up the stairs and prick the spinning wheel (that's what my daughter said anyway, I thought it was a good comparison.) There is also a "Vertigo" stairwell as well, it was neat to go look from the top and see the patterned floor detail below and then from the bottom look up and see the patterned leaded glass transom window above, giving some natural light to the space.
The Bay of Biscayne pictured past the stone barge. You guessed right...picture taken by me.
I recently used a detail similar to this on a pediment above a formal study doorway, except I turned it the other way and built it up on some back bands. It's under construction now, or else I would put the photo up...