Over the weekend I was lucky to be part of a special bloggers event at the Stetson Mansion in DeLand, FL. When I checked out their website and Facebook page I couldn’t believe that this amazing piece of history was so close by in DeLand and I had never heard of it. I was very excited to go on a special VIP tour where we would actually be allowed to take pictures, which isn’t usually allowed.
The event started at 2 pm and we were all given raffle tickets before heading inside. They actually gave away a prize in every room of the house! Our tour was lead by JT Thompson who is one of the current owners of the Stetson Mansion. One of the coolest things about the place is that it is actually his home. It isn’t some historic home that just sits around empty when there aren’t tours going on. They actually live there! JT was awesome and had so much to tell us about the mansion, its history, and the Stetson family. When the tour was over I had no clue that we had been listening to him talk for close to 2 hours. Normally after about an hour of listening to someone talk on a tour I would be over it, but he was just so fun to listen to. You could tell every time you walked into a room that he just loved this place and loved talking about it. It is truly his passion.
The large 3 story home was built in 1886 and so many of the original features and fixtures are still in the home today. The current owners spent 18 months working 7 days a week (usually 16-20 hours a day) restoring the home. The upgrades and renovations happened thanks mainly to “sponsors” that JT acquired after the home was purchased. The sponsors donated everything from light fixtures to toilets to wall murals. In exchange for their donations a showcase was held over 3 months where people could come and see all of the sponsors products in action. All of the money that was raised during this showcase, which was over $50,000, was donated to a local charity.
One of my favorite things about the mansion is that they didn’t furnish it like it would have been in 1886. The home is filled with furnishings from all different eras, but everything works perfectly. The kitchen has state of the art Viking appliances, which I’m fairly certain Mr. Stetson didn’t have in 1886, but the way the kitchen is designed it all looks amazing. In the same room you might find a chairs from the 1800s and a couch from 2008. I don’t know how they did it, but it all really works.
In writing this I’m not even sure which details to share and which to leave out because there is just so much to share. Every room in the house, except the kitchen, has the original hardwood floors. And in each room the style and pattern of the flooring is different. So as you travel from room to room your eye is drawn to the floors as well because the detail there is just as amazing as the rest of the room. Or how about how the home has all of the original windows. JT even completely restored some shutters on the 2nd floor that a carpenter had told him to just throw out. Granted it took him 4 months to do it, but now you wouldn’t have a clue that a few years ago they were practically disintegrating.
I was slightly obsessed with the lighting fixtures in the mansion. This was one of the first homes that had Edison electricity. It even has the original breaker box that has two tags in it with Edison’s handwriting on them. Every time I walked into a room I was just blown away by the amazing light fixtures. Most of them are original to the home, but the “modern” ones that they added were just as stunning. Once again they were able to mix the new with the old and make it work.
In addition to the amazing tour, we also were given some pretty amazing goodie bags. The contents of the goodie bags were provided by some amazing local sponsors. They also provided tasty treats along the way and prizes in each of the rooms. A big thank you to all the sponsors that made our day even more amazing!
The mansion is available for tours during the week and special group tours can be arranged on some weekends. They also decorate the mansion from top to bottom during the Christmas season and there are special tours for that as well. I will definitely be taking my mom back there during the holiday season for that one. JT talked to us about how their attic is packed full of Christmas decorations and how he does ALL the decorating himself. I can’t wait to see it all decked out! I definitely suggest making arrangements to go on one of the tours offered at the Stetson Mansion – you won’t be disappointed!
The mansion is also available for small weddings as well. All ceremonies and receptions are held outside of the mansion, but it seems like you can get inside for a couple bridal portraits.
Thank you so much to Dena Scroggins for arranging this amazing event and to JT Thompson for an amazing afternoon! I will definitely be back at Christmas 🙂
DISCLAIMER: I received a free VIP tour owners tour for two as well as a beautiful recycled bottle cap necklace from DeLand artist Magdaphanalia. I also received a gift bag that included Healthy Soul flip-flops, a free wrap from Savvy Wraps, Yaupon Asi Tea, a $500 gift certificate for video services by Edson Pacheco and more. I was not obligated financially to blog about Stetson Mansion, but chose to do so because I enjoyed the tour.