That's a segue for me to say the Stetson Mansion is priceless. I'm sure the owners differ on that. What is priceless is the combination of quilts and the house built by John B. Stetson in 1886 as a winter home in DeLand. And that's for a major reason (besides the obvious) you might never expect. I certainly didn't. The detailed patterns of the wood flooring mimic quilt designs of centuries gone by. That's amazing, particularly because the mansion's floors are artistic gems. Apparently Stetson's wife, Elizabeth, enjoyed quilting.
The Stetson Mansion Quilt Showcase and Tour drew me back to the house for my most recent tour. Vintage and contemporary quilts became featured accents throughout the 9,000-square-foot structure, with some quilts made with material from the Downton Abbey fabric line. Not that the house needs accessories. Stetson Mansion is one of a kind, and you must visit if you like historic homes - and even if you don't, just to see how a National Register building can retain its architectural integrity while functioning as a 21st century private residence and a tourist destination. You'll be in awe of the house's bright, airy feeling, the layout, woodwork, floors, stairs, furnishings, decor, and of the restoration done by owners Michael Solari and JT Thompson. I've now been lucky enough to have been on tours led by each of them.
|The floors in Stetson Mansion are patterned|
after quilt designs.
It's hard enough to envision Edison hanging out in pioneer DeLand, much less Vanderbilts, Astors, and King Edward VII and his entourage. How I wish that a Stetson servant had left behind a diary! Many servants lived in the mansion, on the third floor. The first-floor kitchen had a call system similar to the one in Downton Abbey. The servants were able to tell which room was ringing for service. Which is one reason why, I'm sure, there is no diary. What servant would have had time or energy to write after a day of cleaning, cooking and serving the owners and their guests? Still, it's nice to dream that somewhere, sometime, written recollections will turn up. Imagine what we would learn.
The quilt portion of the Stetson Mansion Quilt Showcase and Tour is hosted by the Quilt Shop of DeLand. The showcase continues through August 2, 2014. A few tour spaces remain available as of this writing. Make reservations online at the Stetson Mansion events page.