Monday, March 12, 2012

Meet Sam Stoltz

Sam Stoltz
A few weeks ago, one of my neighbors graciously gave me a copy of Grace Hagedorn's book Sam Stoltz - Artist. Builder. Decorator:

I had been wanting to get my hands on this book for months, ever since I began researching Sam. It's a wonderful biography of Stoltz and covers many of the Central Florida homes he built. Bill Bean, the previous owner of Pine Green, also dropped off some great photos and documents about Sam - a few of which I'm including in this post.

Sam Stoltz grew up in Nebraska, had his own art studio in Chicago, and moved to Orlando in 1925 at age 50 with his wife Patti to start a second career.

Patti Stoltz
Sam did not have formal architectural training, but he had lots of experience growing up and with Patti's help had designed their first home near Chicago. Sam ultimately contributed a plethora of homes to Central Florida, including homes in Orlando, College Park, Winter Park, Mount Plymouth, and Windermere. Perhaps the most unique of Sam's creations are a series of homes in Mount Plymouth built in a storybook style. These are called the Plymouthonians, and many are still in existence today. It is worth a road trip to get a glimpse of these homes (Mount Plymouth is in Lake County, west of Sanford, on SR 46).

Sam also helped with the rebuild of the Dubsdread Club House in College Park after it had been destroyed by fire in 1934. Although it has since been extensively renovated, the Club House still features Sam's classic pecky cypress beams and Florida fieldstone fireplace, which looks very much like the one in my livingroom, albeit larger.

Sam almost always incorporated wildlife into his works in some way. He was referred to as the "world's greatest poultry painter." Sam had a plaster fresco technique with a whimsical artistry that was ahead of his time, as evidenced by the flamingo scene in my bathroom that I previously posted. On the outside of the chimney at Pine Green, we have slowly begun restoration of his plaster flamingos:

Chimney before

Chimney after cleaning
For now we've done a simple cleaning to remove some of the mildew stains. This alone brought much of the color of the flamingos back to light. Eventually, we may add some subtle color to fill in patches that have chipped away over time. We want to preserve some of the aged character of the chimney, so we don't plan to try to clean it back to pristine condition.

Over the past few weeks, we've continued to begin to implement Joe Brook's landscape plan for Pine Green, removing some plants and transplanting others to open the property up more and to prepare for some new plantings. Meanwhile, the huge azaleas are in bloom, reminding us that spring is about to begin, and we're looking forward to watching Pine Green continue to amaze us:

Azaleas right before blooms opened
Azaleas in bloom


  1. Thanks for keeping us posted on the work on your house!

  2. Found your blog while trying to find info on Sam Stoltz oil paintings because my family has one. No luck on that. Enjoyed seeing your progress on the restoration!