Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pine Green - a hidden jewel in downtown Orlando

Central Florida is largely a land of homogeneous houses and bland commercial buildings. It's often difficult to find mom and pop businesses to patronize as the transient population of this ever growing region seems to frequent chains and franchises exclusively. Perhaps that is why I am so drawn to the homes built by Sam Stoltz in the early 20th century. Each one is a custom creation by a talented artisan with quirky eccentricities and a high level of craftsmanship. They are windows into a time when Central Florida was known more as an escape for northern winters than for its theme parks. I recently had the opportunity to explore another fantastic Stoltz creation near downtown Orlando, as it transitioned to new owners.

The home on Livingston Street was built for Mr. and Mrs. Horne as a winter cottage, until Mildred Horne moved in year round. An accomplished gardener, Mrs. Horne lived there until she moved into a retirement home, (she's the one who nicknamed the home Pine Green), and since then the home has only had one other owner. So it's in good condition with a few pristine rooms, exactly as they were created by Stoltz.

The house is built of Cypress with a custom multi-colored stain and flourishes of Stoltz rockwork around entryways and on the monumental fireplace/fountain. His trademark pecky cypress ceiling can be found in the living room, and walls in one of the bedrooms and bathroom still show colorful Stoltz's touch. Two perpendicular walls surrounding the bathtub have a quintessential Stoltz flamingo fresco and are masterpieces with expressive splash techniques, years before Jackson Pollock.

The feeling I got from this small house was that of a lodge out West. There aren't many surviving old wood structures in Central Florida and the use of rough hewn timbers and large rocks reminded me of the architecture one might see in the National Parks. Behind a wall of colorful Crotons, this amazing oasis is hidden from downtown commuters. The size of the rooms is small by today's standards, and the home's new owners must have appreciated it as a piece of art, not for its livability. Let's hope they are good stewards of what is becoming a rarer commodity in Central Florida: originality.

Custom made light fixture made with Whiskey bottle

Flamingo decoration on the detached garage

Original light fixture

Hand-tinted photograph shows the way the home was originally furnished

The drip technique was used on several of the Stoltz homes I've seen


  1. Rick, what a great look at a unique home!

  2. Rick, I stumbled upon your blog and very much like the story you did on Pine Green, as well as your previous posts on Sam Stoltz. I thought I'd introduce myself - I'm the new owner and do plan on doing my best to preserve it and respect it as I make it my new home. You inspired me to start a new blog tracking my progress at

  3. Hi Rick-
    I am Mildred Horne's great niece and have so enjoyed reading you blog and seeing the pictures of a home I so vividly remember from my childhood. I do have one correction to make-hope you don't mind. The house was purchased by Mildred and her first husband, Carlton Nicholson back in the 1930's I'm thinking. Their son, David, was raised there. She continued to live there after Mr. Nicholson's death and her remarriage to Josh Horne.
    Again-thanks for the memories!!!

    Lisa Rankin Longwood, FL