LOCATION: Orlando, Florida
Although just 13 miles northeast of downtown, 5743 Rocking Horse Road feels like a world of its own, nestled in four forested acres along the Little Econlockhatchee River. The area is a ten-minute drive to the University of Central Florida via a University Boulevard lined with eateries. It’s also a gateway to the wealth of natural wonders further north and east, including Lake Jesup (known to have a high concentration of alligators) and the Little Big Econ and Charles H. Bronson state forests. Of course, fishing and canoeing in the backyard river is always an option.
SPECS: 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, 2,490 square feet, 4 acres
Duane Stark, a local architect who led the expansion of the Orlando Public Library’s main branch downtown and worked on the Orlando International Airport, designed this house as his personal residence in 1973. The home seems to rise from the land, extending plenty of connections to the natural surroundings. The partially double-height living room comes with a fireplace, as well as a glass door leading out to a large deck and a bridge to a screened-in gazebo by the pool. Meanwhile, a soaring staircase spirals up to the master suite, which has its own fireplace and a door that opens out to an elevated walkway and deck.