Pringle Development's Duke model is far too unusual to be its best seller. But its uniqueness has won the builder local Parade of Homes awards, and it fits the Central Florida active adult community builder's goal of standing out in the crowd.

“It demonstrates our commitment to having some variety and not being the normal tract builder,” says Brian Nagle, the company's vice president of sales, marketing, and design.

From the street, the Duke looks relatively traditional, but where the front door would normally be is an opening leading into a large private courtyard. The house wraps around three sides of the courtyard and the fourth side is enclosed with a wall. “Those people who would like to have a pool [that] is not visible to the neighbors think it's kind of jazzy,” says Nagle. Others like the courtyard because it's a convenient place to coral animals or to garden. “It also makes a nice place to look at” from inside the home, he says. It's what's compelling about the house.

The floor plan's second unusual feature is the home's third bedroom, which overlooks the courtyard and is not connected to the rest of the house at all. “We sold it to some people whose kids come down a lot, but they don't want the kids in the house with them,” says Nagle.

When the room isn't being used as a guest room, buyers seem to find all kinds of custom uses for it beyond a bedroom. Nagle says he's seen it turned into a dance studio, an exercise room, a media room, an artist's studio (one metal-working buyer set up a small forge), and a collectibles room (another buyer installed his Western memorabilia). It also sometimes becomes a guy's hang-out. “I've seen it set up where the guy just wanted to be alone,” says Nagle.

The Duke was created by Pringle's in-house architects. In addition to offering set floor plans, Pringle will also work with buyers who want custom homes. In fact, the Duke was inspired by a plan the company created for a custom home customer.

“It's a specialty plan,” says Nagle. “It's not for everyone. You either get excited about it or you are completely cold on it.”

Courting Boomers

  • The Duke has three bedrooms, three baths, and 1,954 square feet of living area.
  • Depending on features, it sells in the mid- to high-range for Pringle; its homes start in the $250s and climb the high $400s.
  • Pringle develops and builds active-adult communities near Orlando in Lake County, Fla.
  • Learn more about markets featured in this article: Orlando, FL.