Vizcaya: Reception Room and Library

Chalfin abandoned the strict neoclassicism of the Entry Hall for a more exuberant French Rococo styled salon in the Reception Room, seen on the plan below in green.Chalfin referred to the room as the 'Marie Antoinette Salon' due to the bust on the mantelpiece. Indeed, I think she would feel at home in this exotic decor! The role of a reception room was the same as what we today refer to as the formal living room; the most public of rooms in a house in which to entertain guests.The wallcoverings, now reproductions from 1966, were originally embroidered Italian silk from the 18th century and appropriately featured palm trees with flying birds and butterflies.
The exquisite mid 18th century tinted plaster tracery ceiling came from the Palazzo Rossi in Venice and really is the star of the room. Notice the bust of Marie Antoinette on the 18th century French marble mantelpiece.
I just loved these carved and gilded overdoors. The chandelier is not original. Instead a more fanciful Venetian one was in its place, see the image below.
The library, seen on the plan above in blue, also switches the French neoclassicism of the Entry Hall for a more English styled intimacy in the Adams style. Even the colors used throughout denote English coziness: warm yellows and oranges with rich mahogany rather than austere marble finishes.The side chairs reportedly belonged to Maria Pauline Borghese, although Chalfin was never interested in the history of any item but merely the way it looked and the feeling it would lend to a room.The grand Sheraton bookcase hides a door into the reception room. These chandeliers and red shades are original to the room.Deering's desk was purchased in Paris just shy of WWI and was originally an 18th century shop counter. Chalfin painted and applied Empire decorations to better fit in with the room.The floor plan and historic photo of the Reception room come from the book 'Vizcaya; an American Villa and Its makers' by Witold Rybczynski and Laurie Olin which I highly recommend while the remainder of the photos, as throughout my Vizcaya tour, are my own.

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