Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden


Loggias and Lanais, Palm Beach Style

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Loggias and lanais, these two words just sound so romantic…recalling tropical breezes, lazy afternoons with a drink in hand or relaxing after a morning swim. The “easy life,” slow and peaceful–a gathering place around-the-clock, around-the-world in homes where they are the de riguer addition. The formal definition is that of a “gallery or room” with one or more open sides, especially one that forms part of the house and has one side open to the garden. Distinct architectural elements like arches and columns provide a romantic Mediterranean feel, while lanais, which originated in the Pacific region, are now almost interchangeable with the word loggia. Both encompass a variety of sizes and styles, thus becoming a fixture of stunning living spaces worldwide.

I’ve always found them fascinating…a setting that promises a pleasurable time and respites, “enjoying life in communion with nature.” From my Palm Beach sojourns I’ve chosen four examples that exemplify the merits of loggia and lanais. And, of course, I’m including the surrounding gardens and green paradises that complement the architecture.

Former ambassador Mary Ourisman’s Regency style home has the elegant house’s front facade re-introduced as a loggia looking out upon a long, tapis vert that ends at the Intracoastal Waterway (feature image above and the two images below).

Casa Eleda is one of many Mediterranean-inspired residences that contribute such a signature aesthetic to this island enclave. It also comes with an iconic provenance—Maurice Fatio, the “society architect,” designed the National Register home in 1928. Shown below are views of the breakfast loggia, one of the four loggia treatments created by Mario Nievera around the grass interior courtyard.

Casa Tranquila gives one the sense of being at Lake Como. The loggia off the home’s entry hall looks out upon the “pool room,” while limbed-up, squared-off trees create privacy but allow glimpses of West Palm Beach. The owner’s keen eye enjoys the layered effect of the blue pool, low green planting, blue Intracoastal Waterway and clipped green trees. Blue tilework and pink bougainvillea add other accents to this sitting area.

Overlooking its own cove and the Intracoastal Waterway beyond, a white-stuccoed Bermudian style house boasts not just a name architect, Thomas Kirchhoff, but a name landscape design firm, Nievera Williams, as well. The pairing is responsible for one of the most singular horticultural creations that I have ever visited. To mimic the characteristics of Bermuda gardens, large coral boulders, hand-selected, were placed into the landscape and hand carved into the walls and even the architecture of the building, so it looks as if the coral boulders came first and  then the house…much like you see on the Atlantic island.

One of the many assets of Palm Beach living is al fresco dining and entertaining, something that is not really possible on a regular basis in Newport. Fortunately, I’m never aware of how much I miss this until I’m in a climate where the outside plays such a part in the lifestyle…morning, noon and night. Another reason that I chose to feature loggias and lanais as a post subject.

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Bettie Bearden Pardee

About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

4 thoughts on “Loggias and Lanais, Palm Beach Style

  1. Good Wednesday morning to you, dear Bettie!

    What splendid places to have a formal, traditional afternoon tea on a sunny day!!

    Can’t you just imagine the exquisite china , sparkling crystal and sterling silver,
    your favorite steaming hot or iced tea,
    a layered tray with tiny crustless sandwiches, scones warm from the oven with clotted devonshire cream and freshly made jam, with tiny petit-fours and bite sized, melt in your mouth dessert confections?

    All served by the wonderful (pick a name), who keeps an attentive eye on you if anything needs refilling, but listens to none of the conversations and laughter coming from the table of good friends.

    A harpist nearby, skillfully plucking the strings…

    Why, any of those loggias will do beautifully for that!

    Enjoy the memories you will make there:)

  2. I always enjoy your fabulous photographs. So many happy memories of good times together. Garden history and Design and Russia at Thanksgiving. Elsie

  3. I always enjoy your fabulous photographs. So many happy memories of good times together. Garden History and Design and Russia at Thanksgiving. Love, Elsie

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