Story by Elizabeth Millen
Photography by David Frohman
Sometimes life throws a curve ball and you catch it, and that is exactly what happened when I encountered David Frohman’s magnificent home in Roswell, Georgia, entitled “Fontainebleau.” I was looking for a place to retreat for a week to bury myself in my writing, and encountered his home on the Internet. Completely enamored with the photographs, I sent a quick email introducing myself, stating my intentions and asked to visit. Ever the perfectionist and gracious host, David quickly emailed back, inviting me, and a guest, to stay for a weekend. During our visit, we could learn more about the transformation he directed at his 7,300 square foot home, turning it from ‘80s drab to European fab.
David had never tackled a renovation of any type, however, the double wrought iron staircase, which graces the front of this towering home, not only lead to the grand two-story front entrance, but also straight to his heart. With a life-long affinity for the dramatic, the former Air Force supersonic jet pilot began to transform this massive urban shell into a stunning French Chateau, highlighted with touches of Italian and Baroque influences.
From the “French Empire Salon” to the “Napoleon Master Suite,” every room of this home is masterfully and colorfully crafted with no detail spared. The “Napoleon Suite” is a prime example, as it features Italian marble floors, onyx inlaid wall panels, a three-tiered, one-of-a-kind hand-painted tray ceiling and a stunning late 19th century Neoclassical, hand-carved, Italian marble mantle entitled “Venus and Aphrodite.”
“Attention to detail is everything,” explained Frohman, who feels that this home is a realization of a dream. “It’s like living in my dream everyday, as I brought a fantasy to life,” he added. That he did, and with a vivid, succinct vision. David took this project on fully by contracting all the workers, overseeing production each day, and designing every element of the home from the marble floor medallions to selecting the rich colors, which are bold and exciting.
The resounding color that flows throughout the home is red, and it is obvious that David is not afraid to make a statement. “Using color makes all the difference. Don’t be afraid to use color. Color is your friend!” he said.
It is only fitting that David’s home is colorful, as he is quite a colorful person, himself, as well as intriguing and extremely intelligent. He has had a career as big and commanding as his home. In fact, he helped pioneer an industry that had never before been truly explored. Frohman, who had an extensive background in antiques and collectibles, helped pioneer the space collectible market after being personally selected by many of the Apollo Moonwalkers to catalog, appraise and ultimately sell the artifacts they brought back from their respective moonwalks.
It all started with astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who asked David to evaluate artifacts he had brought back from his space flights. From Aldrin, the word spread about David Frohman and his company, Peachstate Historical Consulting, Inc., and soon he was systemically working with many of the legendary Apollo astronauts and their collections.
In a meticulous manor, David begin to inventory and catalog each and every piece, pricing artifacts to ultimately sell on the public market. Over time, Frohman would work with six of the 12 Apollo moonwalkers, and is now recognized as having personally cataloged and appraised more artifacts returned from the Moon than any other private individual in history (thousands of pieces!).
To fully explain what it was like he told me a story about Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man ever to walk the moon. “Edgar told me before I got there he had a box of junk, and when I left he had an estate,” he smiled, as the relevance of his work sunk into my brain.
To walk around Frohman’s library office is like taking a walk through space history. While he doesn’t have any space relics on display, there are photographs and correspondence that detail some of his work. Seeing every single piece that has come back from the moon, he says, “It’s hard to wrap my head around what I’ve done.” It’s easy to see why, just based on the historical significance alone.
He has cataloged much of what there is to catalog, including appraising Alan Shepard’s iconic golf club used to hit his golf shots on the moon. This golf club, owned by the United States Golf Association, is the most valuable sporting artifact in the world, which Frohman was chosen to appraise by the USGA.
However, there is one last piece of space history that he holds near and dear to his heart: the Lunar Bibles. “Many know the deep emotional attachment that I have to the Lunar Bibles, which I rescued from obscurity, and have now lived to see recognized as one of mankind’s great treasures!”
The Lunar Bibles were flown to the moon on Apollo 14 with astronaut Edgar Mitchell, and were printed in full on a microfilm tablet developed by NCR. The Lunar Bible represents the first Bible, the first complete scripture, and the first published books ever carried by mankind to landfall on another celestial world! On April 17, 2014, the Vatican announced a new exhibition featuring Biblical texts and rare manuscripts in the Braccio di Carlo Magno museum in the Vatican. The exhibit brings together more than 200 artifacts to tell the history of the Bible across the globe. A copy of the Lunar Bible is included in this exhibit, which is a personal triumph for Frohman.
Indeed, the 200 treasures on display represent some of the greatest biblical treasures in the world, yet only three are mentioned by name. They are the Dead Sea Scrolls, the “Codex Vataticanus” (the oldest surviving complete Christian Bible) and the Lunar Bible! You can read David Frohman’s recent on-line book entitled “The Story of the First Lunar Bible” at: www.lunarbible.com.
For a guy who has definitely been there and done that, Frohman chooses to live simply beyond the beauty and extravagance of his home. He drives a 21-year-old Mazda Miata and has no cell phone. A great afternoon for him is sitting in the sun by the pool in his private courtyard, ensconced by a hand-stained patio with an engraved compass, highlighted by a passageway through a 19th century French Chateau iron gate. What’s next for this man whose life has taken him to the depths of space and beyond?