2005 July 20
Casa Casuarina Revealed!
Here, 10 things you need to know about the fashion palace:
1. The actual name of the estate is Casa Casuarina, and it's fast becoming Miami's answer to Soho House. Built in 1930, the mansion served as residential housing for various Miami artists before Gianni Versace bought it in 1992. Donatella sold the house to mega millionaire Peter Loftin in 2000, who used it as a private residence before converting it into an invite-only members club and hotel. The club closes this week for renovations and opens again in October.
How did The Daily get into the ultra-private club? With help from the dashing Gareth Smith, Miami concierge of Quintessentially. The luxury hospitality service throws Casa Casuarina's legendary Halloween party every October, and enjoys access to the club and it's gorgeous rooms for Quintessentially clients (which include Madonna, a regular Casa Casuarina visitor in Gianni's day).
2. The Kneeling Aphrodite statue built by Vuk Vuchinich in the 1930's is rumored to be worth more than the mansion itself. It was inspired by various Hollywood starlets of the time.
3. There is only one bathtub in the entire mansion; it's in the La Mer guest suite, preferred by Madonna when she stayed with Gianni.
4. The swimming pool in the backyard features approximately 1 million colored tiles.
5. Only three windows in the house are clear; the rest, Gianni commissioned in stained glass to prevent people from looking into the house.
6. The drains on all the gutters feature the Versace logo in gold, as do the drains in the showers.
7. For reasons unknown to the owners, a Bush family crest is on one of the upstairs walls; it's been there since the 1930's.
8. Gianni's walk-in closet was roughly the same size as his personal bathroom, which is roughly the size of a studio apartment in New York.
9. Although Donatella removed the original furniture from the mansion, Versace china is still used in the dining room.
10. Gianni's former lover, Antonio, is painted into an Italian Renaissance-style fresco in the master bedroom. However, when the designer occupied the mansion, his companion lived in a suite adjoining his own room.
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