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A bonus: bonus rooms

Published May 19, 2007

In the front, fenced yards and porches. At rear, private courtyards connect the townhomes to alley-access garages.
[Sun Ketch]
[Sun Ketch]
Townhomes at Northeast in St. Petersburg have more than 2,300 square feet of living space and are priced in the $400,000s. They have hardwood floors, impact glass and fibercement siding.

Every time I think I've seen all the possible variations on a townhouse, I'm pleasantly surprised to see something new.

Sun Ketch Communities, whose townhomes I've been looking at all over the Tampa Bay area for 15 years now, has a new project, Townhomes at Northeast, at 49th Avenue and First Street NE in St. Petersburg. This is an infill parcel once occupied by a mobile home/RV park.

The 42 townhomes have front porches, fibercement siding and impact glass. A private courtyard separates each home from its alley-access garage. And the big surprise is above the garages: bonus rooms. In one of the models this space is set up as a home office. Nice commute, no? The other is furnished as a media room.

For all the people who work at home, or who want some getaway space, or want to keep projects or hobbies or paperwork out of the line of fire, this is a terrific use of square footage. The models, with 2, 350 square feet and 2, 371 square feet, range in price from $420, 000 to $445, 000. Details:; (727) 638-5601.

Drink this in

Take a sip of bottled water and note these figures from Shopsmart the almost painfully hip shopping magazine from Consumer Reports:

183: Number of gallons of water you'd consume annually if you drank the recommended eight cups a day.

236: Annual cost in dollars of buying bottled water by the gallon (at $1.29 each) to get your eight cups a day. (Obviously this number would be much higher if you bought individual bottles, which most of us do.)

142: Annual dollar savings if you buy a carafe to filter and chill your water (the magazine recommends Brita, Shaklee and Pur carafes). Figure $17 to $60 for a carafe, $48 to $90 for replaceable filters.

The average person uses 166 plastic water bottles a year, says Refill Not Landfill, a campaign to reduce disposable water bottle waste. (Visit It's sponsored by Nalgene, maker of refillable bottles.) Eight out of 10 plastic bottles end up in a landfill or as litter. Enough oil is used in the production of disposable water bottles annually to fuel 100, 000 cars for a full year, according to the Earth Policy Institute.

Judy Stark can be reached at (727) 893-8446 or


[Last modified May 18, 2007, 16:46:21]

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