Monday, May 30, 2011

The House that Sam Built

Occasionally my obsessions and my vocation are in alignment and the result is pure inspiration and joy. Such was the case when working on an issue of the History Center's quarterly journal dedicated to Florida architecture led me to revisit Sam Stoltz's Plymouthonian #3. I had visited the fairytale-inspired structure when the contents were auctioned off a year or two ago, but since then it has been acquired by the perfect owners, Martin and Bob. Martin is a gifted potter and lover of all things Florida, and Bob literally helped write the book on Sam Stoltz. So I was excited to see what the place looked like in their hands.

Stoltz in front of the Mt. Plymouth Hotel, courtesy of Martin Cushman

Copy on this promotional piece reads: "A Plymouthonian
This new type of home marks a new departure in the attractive domiciles which are beautifying NATURE'S PLAYGROUND. The above home on Interlachen Drive overlooks the sporty number ten fairway of the St. Andrews links, and beautiful Lake Plymouth."

Sam Stoltz was a talented commercial artist in Chicago before he moved to Central Florida and turned his talents to creating one-of-a-kind buildings complete with his murals and bird- themed relief decoration. The pinnacle of his work was in Mt. Plymouth, where he designed the hotel and some of the fantastic homes around the course. Of his surviving homes, Plymouthonian #3 is easily the finest example of his talents.

Much of the work Martin and Bob have done has been to painstakingly uncover Sam's handiwork around the exterior of the home including restoring the fountain that flows from the front of the house through a rock-lined stream to a lily pond. Stoltz signature details like painted stone walkways continue to emerge.

But the main difference in the house I first visited and now is the wonderful collection of Floridiana on display. From beautiful Joy Postle bird paintings to Silver Spring pottery, I was envious of this exciting collection of artwork. The space seems meant for this homage to the sunshine state and Martin has found the perfect space for his pottery studio in the garage.

It's a wonderful thing when unique artistic creations are preserved to be admired by future generations. Fortunately, Plymouthonian #3 has the perfect caretakers to ensure that this happens. The brilliant creativity Sam Stoltz exhibited in his buildings is now carried on by this home's latest owners.


  1. Great post. House and collection are meant for each other.
    As an odd coincidence, just yesterday I bought a collection of postcards sent to Adolf Stoltz who lived in Lawrence,MA - probably no relation though.

  2. Happy Memorial Day, Rick! What a great house. Love all the antiques too. Oh I bet one could spend all day in there taking pics.

  3. I would love to find that book? "House that Sam Built" Who has a copy? I own the Interlachen, "Cornelius" and also have a copy of historical book written on Sam and these homes. Let's hook up and chat Sam sometime! Janet Wilson

  4. Janet- Would love to. You can email me at