The owner’s French heritage and joy in art forms are expressed in the paving pattern that greets visitors in the front yard, performing duty as a driveway/entry court and parking area, as well as a generously-sized space for hosting large outdoor gatherings. The inspiration for the driveway was taken from the classic shapes of the parterre gardens of Versailles. Here, formality has been deconstructed and reassembled into a careful arrangement of salt-treated, poured-in-place concrete elements, that appear to float in a pool of crushed sea shells and native coral rock, blending seamlessly into their surroundings.
The existing garden consisted of unused front and rear lawns, with the master bedroom exposed to the street. Now, a low, gated front wall and a taller inner wall were designed to provide layers of privacy in the space next to the bedroom for quiet reflection, reading, sunning and showering in the open air. The lawns have been transformed into a series of serene, secluded rooms enfolded within the walls that undulate vertically and horizontally. The resulting oases and passageways are lined with a poetic display of hardy Florida native and adapted plants, permitting the family and visitors to retreat from the activities of the neighborhood and the adjacent Biltmore Hotel golf course. The design celebrates the large tamarind tree which was growing on this property well before Coral Gables was ever platted as a City, at the turn of the last century.
The outdoor rooms have been placed to serve, and be embraced by, wide views from the interior rooms. Access to the pool is gained from the master bedroom, as well as the rear dining terrace, and separate access is provided to the private outdoor shower garden from the master bathroom. The pool fence is an innovative design of decoratively curving perpendicular white rods, weaving in and out of the landscape, providing security and visual interest. Plant material has been selected to honor the native and tropical heritage of South Florida, providing a lush profusion of color and texture, while requiring little maintenance or irrigation. An enclosed herb garden is located off the kitchen door. The area between the dining porch and the golf course is the only small patch of lawn, permitting an expansive ‘borrowed’ view of the historic golf course.