Structure 24 (C3)
From the Ellerman Residence, drive a couple blocks further down Lake Otis Drive and on your left, you will see the Dormon Residence pushing out of the ground like a primal life form.
Literally primal, this house was one of the first ever pre-stressed concrete buildings at the time it was created in 1963. It was so ahead of its time that Leedy was certain it would be the last house he'd build in Winter Haven. He was concerned that when people saw it, they would run him out of town. Ironically, this house proved to be the very thing that kept him in town. It was widely acclaimed and published as an architectural tour de force. This masterpiece caught the eye of many architecture enthusiasts, including the Taxdals and Carl Strang, Jr., who quickly employed Leedy to build for them.
The stunning mass of the structure is balanced by the heavy concrete columns and members. The grand portico makes a bold entrance, while maintaining proportion on the site. It makes a daring statement, too, even decades after it was built. Interestingly, Frank Lloyd Wright, one of Leedy's modern architectural predecessors and an acquaintance, often hid and compressed an entrance. Then it opened inside the structure for a dramatic interior. Leedy did the opposite on this home. Even as from an observer from the street, you can see all the way through the entrance to the lake.
Originally designed and built for Dr. and Mrs. George Dormon, it was later purchased in 1990 by Neal and Dixie Myers. They collaborated with Leedy and Rosemary Gillett to remodel the house, and fell in love with the results. By the time the Myers made the decision to relocate to Lake Wales, they were so emotionally attached to the house that they commissioned Leedy to build their new home in the exclusive residential community of Mountain Lake. Dixie's words may help us all understand the impact of fine design on our lives, and their choice of Leedy homes:
"Being inside and looking out, you never feel like you're inside looking out. You feel like you're in a framework of the sky, and the visuals that are around you -- the walled gardens and things like that -- it's not like being in the house. You're within a frame looking out at whichever view you're looking at."
And who wouldn't be happy to look at this tranquil vision every day? Like the Sands and Ellerman Residences and several yet to be seen on this tour, this house is positioned to maximize the panoramic beauty of Lake Otis. And the image of the house from Lake Otis is just as stunning. This giant somehow seems a natural projection of the mirrored water surface, reaching both into the earth and up to the sky.