FLORIDA • A 3,000 sq ft beachfront home is on sale in Seaside, Florida, a planned community so pristine, it was used as the too-good-to-be-true town on The Truman Show.
The Jim Carrey film was shot in 1998, back when it seemed unbelievable that Americans would watch a reality show about a hapless fool for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The house, offered for US$11.8 million (S$16.1 million) by Christie's International Real Estate, was the residence of the town's founders Robert and Daryl Davis.
After the Davises inherited the land that became Seaside in the late 1970s, they conceived a master plan that would serve as a beachhead (pun intended) of the New Urbanist movement, which promotes small, ecologically sustainable and walkable towns. The Seaside slogan is "a simple, beautiful life".
Seaside has more than 300 homes - all within walking distance of the town centre - more than 12 restaurants and over 40 shops and galleries.
The Rossi house, so named because it is the only building by the Pritzker Prize-winning Italian architect Aldo Rossi in the United States, is on the town's western edge and has three bedrooms and 31/2 baths.
The house, which has almost 2,700 sq ft of outdoor space (almost matching the indoor square footage), was built in the mid-1990s. The parcel on which it sits contains three Gulf-side lots with potential for two additional residences.
The house features a Bang & Olufsen integrated sound system with speakers in every room, Gaggenau and Miele kitchen and laundry appliances and, as a coup de grace, a retractable skylight that opens to the roof terrace.
The Rossi House is just as beach-y as one would expect from the founders of a town called Seaside: There are white finishes everywhere, Adirondack chairs amply distributed and an outdoor terrace with a grill and a shower.
Given the lot size and the house's architectural pedigree, it should not come as a surprise that the estate is priced several million dollars higher than other houses in the town.
If you buy the Rossi house, you are not just buying into Seaside, you are (arguably) buying the best of it.