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Luxury

Tampa's Most Expensive Home Is a $13.9M Bayside Paradise

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    The conservatory/orchid house

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    Tampa Florida most expensive home

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    Inside the pavilion

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    The kitchen

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    The garden

With only six owners over the past century, the most expensive home in Tampa, FL, is seeking a new mogul to take the reins. Known as the Stovall-Lee house, the historic property is listed for $13.9 million.

It includes several buildings totaling 8,930 square feet of living space set on a 2.59-acre lot stuffed with manicured gardens, fountains, and fruit trees. Built circa 1909 by L.T. Trousdale, then the general manager of Florida Brewery, Tampa Tribune founder Wallace Fisher Stovall purchased the place in 1915.

Twenty-eight years later, the home was sold to William E. Lee, who added it to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. After changing hands a couple more times, it was purchased by Coca-Cola exec Harry Teasley in 1991. That's when Teasley began renovating the place.

He restored the main house over the years, finally finishing it last year, when the home first hit the market. He established a new guesthouse, pavilion, pergola, and one heckuva conservatory.

Also known as the orchid house, it was designed by architect Harry "Bo" MacEwen and built in England. It includes a lighted working clock tower decorated with an orchid on the roof. With severe Florida weather in mind, the orchid house is designed to withstand winds up to 130 mph.

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MacEwen also designed the poolside octagonal pavilion, which includes a 1,414-bottle wine room, French limestone and marble flooring, a full bar, and a coral stone fireplace with a screen made by late blacksmith Ivan Bailey. Listing agent Jennifer Zales says the pavilion and the conservatory are two of the home's most striking features.

"My personal favorites, and the areas that guests comment on most, are the pavilion and conservatory. They're so unique and beautiful in their own ways," she says.

The rebuilt two-car garage doubles as an exercise and hobby area; it includes an exercise room with steam room and a fishing tackle room with pine flooring salvaged from the original guesthouse. Throughout the gated grounds, you'll find a French knot garden, more than a half-dozen types of fruit trees, and koi and lily ponds. The estate boasts six bedrooms and nine bathrooms and overlooks the bay.

Teasley, who is approaching 80, told Forbes he's looking to downsize. And who can blame him? He gets to leave behind an incredible property.

"The estate as a whole, with all the elements, gives a sense of beauty and harmony no matter where you are standing," Zales notes.

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