Vizcaya: the pantries

The most interesting parts of any house museum, in my opinion, are the service spaces.Vizcaya was planned primarily around the public and entertaining rooms, which leaves only awkward leftover spaces for the numerous servants which were required in this time period. Oddly enough, the kitchen is on the 2nd floor, not in the basement (but we'll get to that later!). The first of these service spaces is a cupboard off the dining room (marked passage on the plan above in blue). Functioning as a small butler's pantry, the space also worked as a hall between the dining room and tea room so had to be attractive.The ceiling has a gorgeous painted wood ceiling with painted wood gates hiding the service cupboard which houses china storage and wash-up sink. The gilded English china seen here has an interesting story which I'll talk about at the end of this post. PS: don't you just love these painted wood cabinets?Located on the opposite side of the Tea Room (seen on the plan above in green), the main butler's pantry is larger than most modern household kitchens. The room boasted the most modern of conveniences for the time period, including the electric annunciator panel above which showed where a servant was required when rung for.Another modern contraption was the master clock, seen behind the cabinets above, which controlled the time on 10 clocks throughout the house (much like many schools have today).Above you can see the painted door into the tea room. The open countertops have been converted into glassed-in display cases for the many sets of china Vizcaya posesses.
Above is the yacht china which was in Deering's yacht moored at Vizcaya. It bears the New York Yacht Club emblem as well as his own. The china is rimmed in silver to protect it from chipping on bumpy voyages.The china seen here was ordered by Deering from England for his house in Chicago and was originally brought over, unfortunately, on the Titantic. The china obviously had to be remade and was shipped over a few years later (hand gilding isn't fast!)
By this point Vizcaya had been completed so it was brought here where it remains to this day. The originally ordered china, however, still lies at the bottom of the Atlantic. No word however on whether the White Star Line covered the replacements; does anyone know? Now THATS a story!

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