A beautiful new Café and Shop opened at Vizcaya in 2011, following an extensive renovation. For many decades Vizcaya’s Café and Shop have been housed in rooms adjacent to the swimming pool on the north side of the Main House. These rooms once accommodated James Deering’s Smoking Room, Billiards Room, bowling alley and changing rooms for his guests.
The Café and Shop was flooded by tidal surge from Hurricane Wilma in 2005, which destroyed walls, equipment and inventory in the space and forced operations outside for several years.
The renovation project, led by Richard J. Heisenbottle Architects, focused on improving the layout and appearance of the space to enhance visitor experience. Vizcaya upgraded the equipment to enable operator A Joy Wallace Catering Production and Design, Inc. to produce a variety of fresh and innovative menu items.
Historic photographs guided the project, which aimed at evoking the look and feel of Vizcaya’s original recreation rooms. Interior designer Miriam Collada-Myers selected furnishings and window treatments to resemble historic precedents and conservation professionals gave careful attention to the treatment of the original marble and terrazzo floors, stone fireplace mantle, copper light fixtures and luminous leaded glass doors.
The project also involved major infrastructure work. For example, contractors removed all of the stone steps and pavers on the exterior North Terrace to provide structural reinforcement and waterproofing for the Café and Shop within.
Most complex was the replacement of the 1990s steel and aluminum flood protection system with custom-engineered “aquarium” glass windows and doors. Structural engineer Douglas Wood and Associates designed reinforcement for all of the original window and door openings to ensure their ability to withstand tidal surge.
In the course of renovating the Café and Shop, Vizcaya also completed structural repairs in other parts of the basement and introduced new storm water management equipment along the service road from the Main House to the visitor parking lot.