For those who don't head to the beach or the mall on a lazy Sunday afternoon, checking out open houses can be a not-bad way to spend a few hours. But let's face it, most of what's on the market is pretty mundane staff, a lot of 3/2s, maybe with a pool. So here's a look at some truly unusual houses for sale in the Tampa Bay area.
* Where: Dunedin
* What: Six bedrooms, five baths, 12,454 square feet
* Price: $2.999 million
Who isn't fascinated by ancient Egypt, what with all those cool mummies and hieroglyphics? Channel your inner Cleopatra or Tutankhamun while watching movies on the 152-inch screen in the Egyptian-themed theater of this mansion that looks out on Honeymoon Island. Lounge Pharaoh-like on the enormous bed or relax in one of 14 reclining seats.
But that's not all. The 24-foot high foyer with peacock-plumed ceiling opens onto a vast living space that includes one room decorated Safari-style and another evoking the South Seas, complete with tiki bar. Other amenities include a second full kitchen and pool/spa with 10-foot waterfall and integrated gas firepit.
The house, built in 2008, "is surely one of the most brilliantly unique in Florida," says agent Rick Perry, whose wife, Dania Perry is the listing agent.
* Where: Dade City
* What: Five bedrooms, five baths, 4,432 square feet
* Price: $900,000
TV viewers of advancing age might remember Sky King, a crime-fighting pilot who lived on a ranch with its own air strip. Echoes of that '50s era show can be found in this log cabin house on 16 lakefront acres with an FAA-designated helipad.
The seller is pilot James Newton. A Briton, he served in the United Kingdom's Commando Helicopter Force, flew operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and had an appointment to U.S. Central Command in Tampa. In 2004, Queen Elizabeth awarded him the Distinguished Flying Cross.
In a "package deal" that included Tampa-based Mile High Helicopters, an aviation company of which he is now president, Newton also got the house with pool, stable (his wife and son ride) and guesthouse. "It reminded me a bit of my farm outside Bath (England)," he said. "We wanted to use the property as a family home but we are still in transition to being permanent residents of Florida and it's not something we can use full time, as much as I'd like to spend 24/7 there."
Tiny beach house
* Where: Indian Rocks Beach
* What: One bedroom, one bath, 480 square feet
* Price: $570,000
If tiny houses are your thing, here's one whose view can't be beat. It sits right on the sand overlooking the Gulf of Mexico.
One of the original and few surviving beach cottages, the house was built in 1948. Three large windows look out on the dunes and a vaulted ceiling makes the living-dining area feel bigger than it is.
Is this a tear-down? "Not at all," listing agent Cole Phillips said in an email. "It is actually listed as an income-producing property and not a lot. It is a fee simple ownership so it truly would be your beachfront property for $570,000."
If 480 square feet seems a bit too snug, the 1,030-square-foot, two-bedroom, one-bath cottage right next to it is also for sale — for $995,000.
Contact Susan Taylor Martin at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8642. Follow @susanskate.
Correction: The British Distinguished Flying Cross has been awarded a number of times in the past 70 years. An earlier version of this story was incorrect on the history.