Redesigned Role for Versace’s House

Versace's House
Opulent: Staff members clean the pool at Casa Casuarina, the former residence of slain designe Gianni Versace.

MIAMI ~ Tour groups still gather across the street from the house, listening raptly while guides retell the story:

Italian designer Gianni Versace, 50, was shot to death on the steps of his mansion, Casa Casuarina, as he returned from his daily morning walk on July 15, 1997. His murderer, Andrew Cunanan, a serial killer, committed suicide shortly thereafter.

Versace’s beautiful three-story house, once a playground for some of the world’s best-known celebrities, is again opening its doors to the rich and fabulous. Or to anyone who can afford lunch or dinner.

The Spanish-style mansion, built in 1930, was renovated and expanded in 1992 after Versace bought it. He added artwork, a large garden and pool and gold-plated fixtures, and he tied it all together with his signature logo, which is emblazoned everywhere.

After his death, Peter Loftin, a telecommunications mogul, bought the house and reopened it as a private club with 220 members. The initiation fee: US$50,000. Once again it began to play host to the stars.

Now the Casa is accepting overnight reservations for its 10 guest suites ($1,200 to $10,000 a night). Or you can make a dinner reservation (expect to pay $150 or more per person) or a lunch reservation (about $20 to $50 per person). The restaurants are open to the public Wednesdays through Saturdays, and you must call ahead: (305) 672-6604. For info: (Rosemary McClure/LAT)

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