If you are unfamiliar with the term shell work, let us clear a few things up. Afterall, this is an area we are very passionate – and skilled – in!

When building a home, homeowners can choose to hire a company to do only the shell construction on their home. A shell building is a component that separates the building’s interior space from the exterior surrounding areas. Essentially, only the basic structure of a building. Depending on the contractor and the purpose of the building, there are several options for the types of construction materials that are used to build the shell, including metal, stone, concrete, and wood.

But why only build the shell and not completely finish it? Why would anyone want that? Because this gives homeowners the opportunity to completely customize their homes to be exactly what they have always wanted! That Pinterest board you’ve created? Yep, that can be your home. Those custom touches you’ve pinned for a kitchen? Yep, that can be done too. Additionally, by having more control of the interior of the home, essentially, calling all the shots, you the homeowner can save money shopping around for the best deals, cutting out labor costs (since you’ll perform a lot of the work yourself) and getting the satisfaction of knowing YOU played a huge role in making your dream home come true.

A shell home typically includes basic excavation, foundation, framing, siding, roofing and the installation of windows and doors.  The inside will typically be left unfinished, down to the sub-floor and stud walls, so that remaining stages can be completed by the homeowner at a later time. Imagine getting to have a blank canvas where you can have full control of the flooring, equipment, furnishings, every detail. This is exactly why the idea of shell work is so attractive to more and more people.

Working with an experienced general contractor can make all the difference when it comes to your shell and core work. As a full-service design and construction company, Caroline Contractors are aware of the importance of proper scheduling, staying within budgets, and disruption-free progress. We bring years of hands-on experience to every shell and core project.

We have worked with some of the best companies in Central Florida, and we pride ourselves on having a team of professional project managers, superintendents and master craftsmen at every level who deliver the best quality for our customers.

Contact us today to learn more details.

Entertaining is something homeowners in Tampa love to do. Building features into your custom home to make that easier have become must-have’s in residential home building.  More and more homeowners want to be able to invite their family and friends over and show them a good time without feeling cramped in their living space. 

Make Entertaining in your Custom Home a Breeze

Designers recommend extending your house’s living space and adding features that are great for entertaining. It’s more convenient for owners, but it also increase the value of your home. To give you some options for your own place, here are some the most loved custom home features when it comes to entertaining.

Build an open layout

An open layout concept allows people to flow from one area of your home to the another and is one of the easiest ways to make any custom home perfect for entertaining.  Your guests, whether they are family or neighbors, can mix and mingle.

An open layout encourages people to mingle and talk because they’re all in the same open space. Furthermore, it’s more convenient for the host and hostess since food and beverages are all served from the same central location. 

Craft a multi-purpose kitchen

The kitchen. It somehow always draws people in and is one of the favorite places to congregate in during parties. Be sure to create this space to be functional but still spacious. You can add a bar to store and serve drinks, a long island or a breakfast bar with a few seats or benches and centerpieces that are great conversation starters

Entertaining can also means preparing larger than normal amounts of food. Planning your kitchen to include two ovens or even two dishwashers can help with Thanksgiving, holiday meals or any other celebration you’ve prepared.  

Choose Indoor-Outdoor Space

Opening up your entertaining area to include your lanai or patio is a great use of space for entertaining. Many Florida parties tend to spill out into the outdoor space.  Planning for entertaining in your outdoor spaces is equally as important as the indoor space. 

Whatever your favorite custom entertaining feature, Caroline Contractors can build it. Give us a call to see how we can help build your dreams.

If you want to build a custom home in Tampa Bay, there are many design ideas that will reflect your unique personality and style. However, it can be hard to get started when there are so many design styles from which to choose. Custom homes come with highly-personalized features to perfectly match your wishes and requirements. Use these thoughts to decide on interior design ideas for you and your family to enjoy for years to come.

Don’t Follow The Crowd

Your custom home should be built and designed exactly the way you want. Break away from what everyone else is doing and “say no” to styles that don’t meet your needs. Have an honest discussion with your custom home builder about the features you want. By doing this, you’ll have a finished product that you’ll be proud to both relax and show.

Examine Current Trends 

No, you don’t want a cookie cutter home. However, a new trend might be helpful if you discover a particular need. Have a look at what’s new and popular. You might find ideas that work well into your own vision for home design.

For example, gas lanterns are becoming a popular replacement for porch lights. The welcoming ambiance this creates might be the perfect fit to welcome visitors arriving at your home when it’s dark outside. 

Incorporate Natural Elements

For centuries, homeowners have brought outside elements inside. By incorporating nature in this way, you reap the benefit from the mood-enhancing facets of interesting focus points or sensations. For example, add fresh air to your home by intentionally creating a flow from the outside to the inside. This can be easily achieved with large glass walls that slide back and forth. Plus, it will allow a warm breeze to enter into your living space. This can also be done through maximizing the amount of natural light entering your home’s interior, through skylights, floor-to-ceiling windows, and other illuminating features.

Plan for the Future

When you build a custom home in Tampa Bay, you get peace of mind that your residence can provide decades of enjoyment. When you work with custom home contractors and professionals, you get advice on your current plan so that it is easily adaptable for the future. 

There are always questions about how to build a custom home in Tampa Bay. Feel free to contact us with any of them at 813-931-4611.

If your home is older, you may be considering a bathroom remodel.  Bathrooms and kitchens are like time capsules and can easily take guests – or potential buyers – back to the 1980’s.  Remember the bright brass fixtures and turquoise toilets? How about shower doors with swans? If you want to remodel and upgrade your bathroom, there are lots of products and ideas available.  However, to save money and minimize headaches later, there are a few things you will want to consider as you plan and budget for your bathroom remodel. Consider how the existing plumbing and other construction characteristics limit what you can do, what you can repurpose versus replace, and having a contingency plan if you find major repair needs during the remodel process.

Existing plumbing and other construction characteristics

As you plan your remodel, whether you are using a contractor or handling this as a DIY project, it is important to make notes about the size and shape of existing tubs, showers, vanities, doors, etc.  Unless you plan to completely rebuild this part of your house, you will need to buy things that will fit. Also, consider where plumbing is located; is the tub you have your heart set on taller and wider than the existing one?  If so, move the plumbing to accommodate the larger tub. Want to add a second sink to the vanity?

Consider where water supplies and drains are located and if this would be a cost effective option. Consider the size of doors and configuration of the bathroom as well as the hallway, etc.  The alcove tub/shower that have been there since the home was constructed, may have been put in place before walls and doorways were completed. In that case, find a tub that has separate surrounds. This way, you can install it without a significant amount of collateral damage.

Repurpose versus replace

If you’re on a fixed budget, repurpose what you can.  The old vanity with the formica top, drop in sink, bright brass fixtures, and swollen side splash probably needs to go, right?  Maybe not completely. If the base cabinet is of good construction, it might be a wise financial decision to repaint the cabinet, and replace hinges and door/drawer pulls.  Now all you need are a new vanity top and fixtures. Your tub may be fine and all you need is to protect it while you remove and replace the gaudy tile that seemed like a good idea and looked wonderful on the Brady Bunch.

A plan for unforeseen problems

With proper planning and a good contractor, you can come up with a pretty good estimate for the remodel…except for the unknowns.  It is a good idea to have an understanding with your contractor regarding how you will handle the unforeseen problems. Maybe the contractor can quote a cost per hour plus materials cost and agree to gain approval for any additional work that happens along the way.  A good inspection during the planning phase can identify many repair needs and minimize surprises. Experienced contractors will know to look for sagging floors, water stains, peeling wallpaper, etc and can include fixes in their estimate.

So, as you proceed down the path of a bathroom remodel, a little planning up front can save money and headaches later.

Building a custom home is always an exciting experience. Whether it’s your first custom home or not, it’s important to find the right floorplan for your custom home that will fit how you and your family live.

Before you begin shopping for a floorplan, take some time to sit down and discuss what features you want and those you need for your next home. Here are a few things to consider as you make your must-have list:

Does the floorplan for your custom home need something that you don’t have now? 

Walk through your current home and make a note of the features you like and want to keep vs. those you wish you had. For example, if you enjoy cooking and entertaining but feel isolated from your guests or family, choose a floorplan with a kitchen that’s open to the living area.  If you have younger children and want them to nap or sleep without being disturbed, be sure their bedrooms are far enough away from the living area. 

What size floorplan will your custom home need?

Couples who’d like to start or expand their family will want something different from couples who have adult children. Perhaps you plan on retiring or caring for an elderly family member. In other words, consider how your accessibility needs for the preset and the future may change. Determine the layout and number of rooms you will need. Try to make your floorplan flexible; while it may fit now, it may not work in the future as your family grows or shrinks. As a result, converting current rooms into new functional rooms is easier.

Will your floorplan include dedicated space for hobbies?

Are you a cinephile with a passion for a great theater room?  What about a grand billiards room or even a home gym? And, if you work from home, you will most likely want office space. Be sure to include plenty of space for the things you love in the floorplan for your custom home. 

Taking time to consider the features you need in your new home is an important step to make sure you choose the right floorplan. Caroline Contractors’ design-build team can help.  Contact us to discuss floorplans for each life stage, from young families to empty-nesters.

When building a new custom home, the proper amount of storage space can be a difficult thing to determine. There are no hard and fast rules about it, so it’s at the owner’s discretion. So how much storage do you need? One rule of thumb says that the total storage space in a home should equal about 10% of the total square footage.  So, if your custom home is 5,000 square feet, you should build 500 square feet of storage at a minimum.

Some families have more or bulkier items to store. Maybe you enjoy baking and your kitchen is equipped with mixers, specialty baking items, or blenders. Or what if you love holiday decorations, clothes or shoes, or saltwater fishing. Make sure you include closets or storage spaces to accommodate all those items.  

Storage spaces to consider when planning your custom design.

1.  Linen closets, cabinets or shelves.  Design linen closets in spaces that lead to bedrooms or build cabinets inside each bathroom.

2.  Ample pantry and kitchen storage.  Besides canned, boxed and packaged food, create plenty of space for everyday pots and pans, plus those seldom-used cooking and entertaining pieces. And if you entertain frequently, a bar area can serve as a nice focal point as well as a useful place to store barware and mixers. 
3.  Coat closets at each entrance.  A coat closet at a main entrance can serve for visitors coats or heavier coats that don’t get much use in the Florida climate. Closet space near other entrances help keep kids shoes and everyday jackets out of the way and are useful for storing smaller cleaning implements.  

4. Storage space for mowing and gardening supplies. If you enjoy doing yardwork, you’ll need plenty of space for mowers, trimmers and other gardening supplies. This space may also prove useful for larger coolers and portable outdoor lawn chairs or beach umbrellas. 

5.  Cabinets with doors or drawers in your living spaces to hide away your kid’s toys.  Add built-ins to rooms where children or grandchildren will play or buy free standing units for toys and electronics. 

6.  Cleaning closets to house a broom, mop, vacuum and cleaning products. You may even consider one on each floor of your house so you have easier access to these everyday items.  

7.  Cabinets or shelves in your laundry area for detergents, fabric softeners and other laundry related items.  

8.  Hobby storage.  Whether you or your family members are into crafting, boating, or board games, remember to include space for hobby equipment.  That might include cabinets in the family room, the garage, a home office or even in a dedicated hobby room.

9.  Storage for pet food, pet toys, pet crates or beds, and litter. That storage could easily go in mudroom or laundry room if planned properly.  

10.  Storage for audio visual and home entertainment equipment.  If you’re planning on a home theater or if you want smart home features, such as home security system, you may want a dedicated closet for those components.

No matter what storage spaces you decide on, remember that most homeowners fill up all the storage space they put in their home, so plan for more than you need so you always have enough. 

Building a custom home in Tampa is a dream for many Bay Area residents. You get to choose what you like, what you want, and how to enjoy who you are. From start to finish, it’s a big part of a lifelong dream. In order to have a smooth and satisfying home building experience, invest some time in understanding how it works, from inception to construction.

Get Started On Your Custom Home

While each experience is unique, the first steps to building a custom home are typically the same for everyone. Set your budget, select your style, choose your builder.

Budget For A Custom Home

In Tampa, building a custom home is not necessarily more expensive than buying an existing home. Your decisions regarding land, design, and materials will all impact the final price. You must figure out what you can afford and dissect every little detail.

Start by using a spreadsheet program to itemize your project. Include everything that will be involved in the project: land costs, local fees and permitting, taxes, design and engineering fees, construction costs, furniture, and decorating. Talk to your contractor and prepare for every contingency. A good builder can help you get what you want and stick to your budget. They’ll work alongside you every step of the way to ensure your budget is realistic and respected.

Select Your Home’s Style

When it comes to designing a custom home, the options are endless. Don’t let it overwhelm you: with some careful consideration and a lot of shopping around, you will find what you love. 

Pay attention to how you and your family live, along with your wants and needs when you’re thinking of style basics. Ask yourself questions  like:

Do you enjoy entertaining guests?

Are overnight visitors frequent? 

Do you need a quiet space for working?

How much storage space do you need?

Will you be an empty nester soon? 

Your custom home should reflect how you currently live and how you plan to live in the future. Asking these questions will help you determine your livability needs before you dive into the design.

Choose Your Home’s Builder

It’s important to find a builder you feel comfortable with and you can trust. You will be very  involved with them for the entire building process and beyond. They will be your guide through the whole process. Choosing the wrong builder will make the experience far less enjoyable, so be sure you know and trust your builder.

A good place to start is to ask friends and family for recommendations, research local homes you like, or read local reviews. You can pick a builder, an architect, an interior designer, and other team members individually, or you can select a full-service builder that take care of everything for you. 

If you need help deciding where to start, call Caroline Contractors at 813-931-4611 and let us help you build your dreams.

When you are considering buying a newly built home, you will have a few different options. You can choose a tract, spec or custom home. These are all very different from each other in terms of how they are built and your involvement in the overall design of the home. To help you make a better-informed decision, it helps to look at the different features of a custom home vs. spec home vs. tract home.

Tract Homes

Tract homes are what you might call a subdivision. These homes are built to specific floor plans that are chosen by the builder. The builder usually buys a large piece of land where homes are built. You can usually decide which floorplan you like when buying a home, as long as that floorplan style is still available. If the homes have been selling quickly, your floorplan options may be limited.

Spec Homes

Spec homes are similar to tract homes in that they are built to be sold before the home is completed. You can buy a spec home after completion as well. If you buy prior to construction, you may be able to choose certain options to customize your home, making it a semi-custom home. However, the builder typically works off specific floor plans and limited color and fixture selections when designing the homes.

Custom Homes

Custom homes are the most flexible option. The construction of the house reflects a customer’s specific specifications. That usually includes the floor plan, lot choice, selection of colors and materials, and all the fixtures that are included as part of the final product.

You choose the land and the overall home design. This allows you to build the home to your specifications, not the builder’s. When comparing a custom home vs. a spec home, you would get to choose all the details, not just some.

These three options all offer you the chance to move into a newly built home. However, the main differences lie in how you can customize the floor plans and design features when comparing a custom home vs. spec home vs. tract home.

If you are considering a custom home in the Hillsborough County, Pasco County or Tampa Bay area, contact Caroline Contractors to find out how we can help you build your dreams.

To build or not to build, that is the question. Finding your perfect dream home can not only be stressful during the search process, but can be disappointing when you find a home that’s close but not quite just right. Instead, consider investing your money into something you are 100% happy with. When comparing the process of buying a home that is suitable to your needs vs. building a custom home that truly fits all of your needs, it’s easy to see that building a custom home is the obvious choice.

Fully Customized to Your Preference

This is the most obvious and most often cited reason given for building a custom home. The buyer has total control to tailor the entire house. While the chances of finding a home built with everything you want already on the market is slim, the chances of getting what you want with a custom builder is nearly 100%. that is 100% customized to your preference with no surprises.

Low Maintenance

Another advantage to having a brand new, custom-built home is that everything is new. Everything from the plumbing, air conditioning, appliances, to the light bulbs in the ceiling are all brand new and should have little to no maintenance for a long time. After you’ve settled in and your furniture and decorations are in place, you should be worry-free and can enjoy your new custom home without being concerned with unexpected expenses such as the cost of fixing a broken air conditioner.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency in appliances and home building materials has come a long way. New technologies help save consumers money every month by making their home more energy efficient, thus requiring less money to heat and cool homes. Having the latest and most energy efficient materials and appliances at your fingertips makes things more cost-effective.

When building your new custom home, the choices and possibilities of what kind of home you want and what you pick to go inside are endless. The exciting part is knowing that it’s your dream home, and it’s something that you have totally customized for you and your family.

With a custom home, the choices are endless. The exciting part is knowing that it’s your dream home, and it’s something that you have totally customized for you and your family.

Not sure where to start? Call Caroline Contractors at 813-931-4611 and let us help you build your dreams.