The 2007 Greater Tampa Bay Luxury Home Tour continues today and Friday through Oct. 14.
The tour features 15 estate homes with the latest in luxury, architecture, interior design, technology, craftsmanship and landscaping.
"The Luxury Home Tour allows attendees to come behind the gates and see multimillion-dollar homes in Tampa's most exclusive communities," says Brianne Bauer, spokeswoman for Greenspring Media Group, the tour's producer.
The homes are in new communities as well as historic waterfront ones.
"Often, people drive by exclusive communities or gated homes and think, 'I wonder what the inside of that amazing home looks like.' This is the perfect chance to find out," Bauer says. "People love to see the opulent ideas in elegant living and get the latest trends in interior design, architecture, landscaping, electronics and more.
"Words cannot describe the jaw-dropping effect these extravagant homes have on people who walk through the front door."
Best of all, Bauer says, visitors don't have to be wealthy to enjoy the tour.
"I personally don't have $5 million to buy one of these amazing homes, but I can incorporate many ideas I see on the Luxury Home Tour into my own home," Bauer says. "Take, for example, the Brazilian cherry hardwood floors, the amazing Venetian-plaster wall treatments or maybe great paint schemes. People always come away from the tour with endless ideas."
The tour includes homes in Hillsborough, Pasco and Pinellas counties.
Hillsborough County stops include Stonelake Ranch, a gated residential reserve on the eastern shore of Lake Thonotosassa, where homes by John Cannon Homes and Alvarez Homes are on display. FishHawk Ranch, a master-planned community in Lithia, features a home by Hyde Park Builders.
Pasco County tour homes are at The Champions' Club, a gated golf-course community in Trinity. Builders include Arthur Rutenberg/Catenac Custom Homes, Campagna Homes, Costanza Homes and Samuelsen Homes. Also on the tour is Connerton, a master-planned community in Land O' Lakes, where Costanza Homes and Arthur Rutenberg Homes/Lyons Heritage Tampa have built tour homes.
In upper Pinellas County, the tour includes Grand Cypress on Lake Tarpon, a new, gated community featuring a home by Catenac Custom Homes. In Indian Rocks Beach, Bella Capri is a tour stop. A preview center will offer a look at how the Terra Nova Ventures community, which will offer 24 Italian-inspired residences, will be created.
On the waterfront, there is the Shore Acres community in northeast St. Petersburg, which features a home by Pristine Homes. Snell Isle, also in northeast St. Petersburg, features residences by Windstar Homes and Mark Maconi Homes.
Bauer thinks savoring the homes, rather than rushing through them, is the best way to enjoy the tour.
"Since tour homes can be found throughout the greater Tampa area, we scheduled the tour for three consecutive weekends," Bauer says. "The passport ticket allows access into all 15 spectacular homes and is valid for all three weekends."
Pick up a program at Robb & Stucky in Tampa's International Plaza or a Washington Mutual Bank branch to plan your tour, Bauer suggests.
"The program gives all the information on the homes - price, square footage and the wow factors that make these homes amazing."
Advance passport tickets are available at www.tampabayhometour.net, Robb & Stucky and Washington Mutual Bank branches. The passport is $15 and provides access to all tour homes. Passport tickets also can be purchased at any tour home for $20. Single-site tickets sold during the tour will be $5 each.