New owners of the 111-year-old Sydonie Mansion in Mount Dora are embarking on a near half-million-dollar restoration of the historic property this year, and are seeking partners in construction and home restoration services.
New Yorkers Clark Frogley and Amy Colyer Frogley purchased the 22,000-square-foot home and 10.88-acre lot in April 2014 for $1.5 million, via newly created Restorical LLC, and moved to the property in northwest Orange County within the past few weeks.
The couple plans to restore Sydonie into a living museum with an art studio, gift shop and reception area to host weddings and events outdoors. They were approved by the county's Development Review Committee this week to expand their Planned Development to build a 4,500-square-foot extension as museum space.
Colyer Frogley projects restoration to cost at least $500,000 to make the mansion presentable for guests and tours, and hopes to have it ready by Spring 2016. She's still looking for contractors, including a roofer, to work on the home.
She and her husband will also try to source donations for building materials and interior fixtures for the home, with the promise of featuring donor names after completion.
The mansion was completed in 1904 as a winter home for the family of James L. Laughlin, co-head of the largest independent steel company in the world at that time, Pittsburgh-based J&L Steel. At its peak, the property featured 600 acres with citrus groves, a power plant, working farm and exotic trees and plants.
Fashioned after Alhambra Castle in Spain, the Sydonie Mansion is in the style of Mediterranean Revival. It was designed by famous architect and urban planner Grosvenor Atterbury, the only example of his work in Florida.
Atterbury's works include John D. Rockefeller's house in Maine, and Forest Hills Gardens in Queens, N.Y. He developed an innovative construction method at the time now known as pre-fab, in which Atterbury had concrete panels fabricated off-site and assembled by crane at the building site.
Colyer Frogley is working with the Florida Division of Historical Resources to get the home registered nationally. The mansion neighbors the property of private Christian school Hampden DuBose Academy.