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Clad in bougainvillea, a pergola tops the dining loggia. The homeowner also likes to set tables on the lawn.
On a trip to Italy's Lake Como, Rakolta had noticed hedges with arches cut out of them. She proposed a similar approach to taming the too-open view of the waterway. “Everyone fought me on it, saying, ‘You paid so much for the water view, why hide it?’ Only Jorge said, ‘Good idea.’” The sculpted hedge, comprising Ficus retusa (Cuban laurel) formed into arches, runs about one-third the length of the property's 200-foot waterfront, between the lawn and a newly built sea wall, and also encloses the swimming pool on two sides. “You get views to the water without it being shown completely, while the eye tends to skip over the buildings across the way,” says Sanchez. “There's a little bit of mystery.”
The irregularly shaped spaces around the sprawling house were organized as a series of outdoor rooms, each with a strong character of its own. The most dramatic of these is defined by an allée of eight towering date palms, which create a long view to the water from the house's front entrance. “It feels to me like a cathedral,” says Rakolta, who plans to put a long harvest table in that serene space.