Vizcaya: the courtyard

The functional center of Vizcaya remains the courtyard. Once open to the elements, as discussed, it now has been enclosed with a glass roof to help protect the house's contents as well as to provide an all-season location for events.The courtyard is bordered on 2 sides by arcades filled with art and furniture, seen here, as well as 2 loggias previously discussed; the Entrance Loggia and the East Loggia facing the bay.These spaces really functioned as hallways linking the primary rooms of the house as well as providing covered access to the upstairs.Here you can begin to see the glass canopy added in the 80s, with heavy concrete supports somewhat masked by the corner planting beds. Just imagine this space when it looked right up into the sky! Despite originally being left open, plans were drafted which had designs for a silk canopy to cover the courtyard. This was never installed due to cost, but accounts exist of parties where the space was actually tented. Therefore, a covered courtyard would not have been completely shocking to Deering or Chalfin.The fountain below blocks the view from the front entry into the courtyard. This not only provides some privacy as the courtyard was the most used 'room' in the house, but saves the magnificent open space as a surprise.The view into the arcades is really beautiful, especially through the plantings. I love this Swedish clock.Despite being enclosed, the courtyard still feels enormous and light filled; the plantings ground you firmly in Florida.The gallery on the 2nd story provides access to the bedrooms as well as views down into the courtyard.The wall along the East Loggia housed both a clock as well as a wind gauge; again more technology!Despite the grandness of the house, the stairs to the 2nd floor were not ostentatious but rather practical (yet still provided a gracious ascent, how many of us have stairs this wide at home?). Join me next week as I continue the tour with the bedrooms as well as more highlights from High Point Market!

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