Decorating with mistletoe at Christmas is a custom that has survived from pre-Christian traditions that believed the branches had magical powers. Kissing under the mistletoe was associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later, primitive marriage rites. In 18th century England, a woman standing under mistletoe at Christmas could not refuse to be kissed; sometimes this signified lasting friendship, but sometimes it meant a promise of marriage. In the United States today, a kiss under the mistletoe is just a symbol of goodwill (or a sign of too much egg nog).
Mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens is the native North American variety) can grow on its own, but it is usually seen in the South as a parasitic plant growing on the trunk and branches of a tree, its roots taking nutrients from the tree. While the European variety rarely grows on oak trees, it is not unusual here; apple trees are universally accommodating hosts. Bulk mistletoe sells for about US $15 per pound, but it is usually sold by the sprig for a few dollars.
|The Altos Del Mar historic district.|
This past year, John Tackett Design was commissioned for a preliminary study to design a new oceanfront house to be built in Miami Beach, Florida. 7825 Atlantic Way is one of the few remaining lots zoned for a single family residence with direct ocean access, along with numbers 7709, 7715, and 7833. Atlantic Way is a private street in the small historic district Altos Del Mar, the highest point (a relative term of course) on the island of Miami Beach. The gated community of only twelve properties has homes ranging from Art Deco to Ultra-Contemporary with Spanish, Bermuda, and Florida Vernacular included as well. The low density neighborhood is protected from further oceanfront high-rise development with North Shore Park immediately to the north and the new Altos Del Mar Sculpture Park to the south. Cultural attractions, fashionable restaurants, and luxury shops are only minutes away.
The private individual who commissioned this preliminary design asked for a house in the classical tradition, yet respectful of the tropical location. The round entrance hall, illustrated in the first image, adapted and reused with the kind permission of my client, features Regency style palm trees and a compass patterned floor. The 8,000 sq. ft. house with six bedrooms and eight bathrooms would be built in the manner evocative of early twentieth century architects such as David Adler and Delano & Aldrich, yet having every modern technological convenience. In association with an assembled group of experienced professionals, John Tackett Design provides a team for a full range of services for architecture, engineering, interiors and landscape design for classic residences, new construction or renovation, nationwide.
|A view of the beach from the Altos Del Mar prospectus.|