THE WORK OF MAURICE FATIO
Maurice Fatio’s designs were influenced by everything from Mediterranean palaces to British colonial mansions, but even by the modernist styles of his own era. He made extensive use of quarry key stone mined in Florida, and his plans typically included a central courtyard that provided wind-sheltered outdoor entertainment space. He had a vision for this planned community that followed in the footsteps of his Palm Beach predecessors, most notably Addison Mizner. This is one of his great Palm Beach houses, rarely seen before in photographs.
This house sits upon a beach (though the road passes between). It's a dramatic setting, though most enjoyed when the winds are calm.
This Fatio interior courtyard contains a swimming pool. It's hard to say if it was built in 1929 as was the house; perhaps it was developed later. But in any case, it's one of the most beautiful pool gardens I've ever seen, anywhere.
The context is pure vintage Palm Beach as all rooftops in view are from the same early twentieth century period and done in the prevailing Spanish Colonial style.
This second floor terrace is covered with a tent and looks out upon the pool garden.
On ground level this sumptuous pergola provides a delightful lunch venue.
This was not a sunny afternoon but temperatures on this November day were warm and tropical.
The current owner has gone for a bright, almost Asian palette in choosing her garden accesories; it's as if a Japanese-inspired operetta were about to be staged.
The koi swimming in the garden fountain beyond the swimming pool are worthy of a Zen garden in Kyoto.
A bronze alligator reminds us where we are as sculpted frogs and turtles frolic in the fountain spray.
I wonder if the garden layout owes something to Villa Gamberaia, one of Florence's great water parterres.
But this gothic revival backdrop is clearly part of the Palm Beach mix of styles favored by the town's founding fathers.