After all the work, planning, and money you will invest in building a custom home, you want to make sure it is beautiful, inside and out.

Creating a relaxing, and beautiful outdoor living space will not only increase the appeal and value of your home, but it will also provide an oasis for you to enjoy with your friends and family for years to come.

Consider the following ideas for your backyard to make it a space everyone can enjoy:

Pick the MVP- How do you envision spending the majority of your time outdoors? Lounging by a pool? Relaxing in a hot tub? Entertaining friends or catching the big game? Whatever it is, make this component the centerpiece of your outdoor space. Invest the money into where you plan to invest the most of your time and worry about the other elements later on.

Create shade- As Floridians, we know more than anyone how brutal the sun can be and how glorious the shade is, especially in the summer. Gazebos and pergolas not only provide shade, but a great place to gather together. Consider filling the space with a small table and chairs where you or guests can enjoy a coffee or cocktail. And did we mention they look beautiful?

Comfort is key- The truth is, if there is no where to sit and relax outdoors, you most likely won’t take the time to do it. Shop outdoor patio furniture to find the material, color, and style that best suits the look you are going for. And a tip- covering the furniture will help make it last longer.

Décor adds more- The options are limitless when it comes to décor. Into glam? Consider hanging a chandelier from the pergola or gazebo. Love to entertain? Bistro lights make a beautiful, warm glow. Pillows, outdoor rugs, lanterns. We have a feeling you might enjoy shopping for all the fun elements that will make your outdoor space uniquely yours.

Landscaping goes a long way-  Just like your home would look bare if you didn’t hang any photos, pictures or decorations, your yard will look bare if you don’t landscape. From providing privacy, to giving you a pop of color, to creating a tropical and lush look, your plant and flower selections will bring it all together. Take a stroll through a local nursery to get inspiration on what you like and what would work in your yard. Make sure you know how much sun your yard receives so you can focus on plants that will thrive.

With more than 25 years of construction experience, Caroline Contractors has been providing the Tampa Bay area with custom residential construction, commercial construction, remodeling, ADA modification, renovations and shell services that are professional and cost-effective. Contact us today to start planning your dream home.

So you’ve built your custom, dream home. All the months of prepping, planning, construction, and inevitable stress are finally going to prove worth it, because the big moment is finally here: moving day.

Moving into your home is exciting, and exhausting. However, don’t let the stress and lengthy to-do list get the best of you. Stay organized with these tips so you can focus on how wonderful your new home is, how lucky you are to have this opportunity and all the memories you will be creating in your custom home.

  1. Hire movers- Yep, it’s worth the money to hire a properly licensed and insured mover.This will allow you to focus on everything else, and leave the physical moving to the experts.
  2. Donate, donate, donate- You will certainly feel overwhelmed as you begin packing, wondering when you accumulated all this stuff. Save time packing, and help others, by donating everything you no longer need, want or use. Or, if you want to earn some extra cash, consider having a garage sell to make back some of the expenses that come with moving.
  3. Don’t skimp on packing materials- It is devastating to start unpacking only to find that valuable or sentimental items have been destroyed due to poor packing. Invest in bubble wrap, proper boxes and tape to ensure this doesn’t happen.One tip- you can usually visit local stores to give you their boxes for free!
  4. Do the packing yourself- This is one way to save a lot of money. Plus, by you packing, you can organize exactly how you want. Be sure to clearly label boxes, marking the room and some of the main objects that are in the box. That was, when you are unpacking, you can have an idea of where you want to start. Set aside, or box together, items you would need immediately, such as toilet paper, paper towels, bath towels, soap, cleaning materials, silverware, plates, etc.
  5. Switch utilities- You don’t want to get to your new home, only to discover there is no water or electric. Contact the company to switch the bills and have everything up and running for when you arrive.
  6. Change your address- The USPS offers a checklist for moving on their website. To set up certain utilities and bills, as well as updating your drivers license, you will need mail with your new address, so it’s important to get this set up sooner than later.

Staying organized, will help you be able to enjoy this exciting time in your life.  What are your go-to moving tips? Comment below!

As you prepare to move into your new home, you will inevitably ask yourself, should we just hire movers? The idea of having one less thing to worry about it is appealing, but perhaps the (loveable,) likes-to-be-in-control part of you worries they won’t do as good of a job as you would. We get it!

Ultimately, that decision is up to you, but here are a few things to take into consideration as you make your final decision.

Moving distance-
When moving locally, you can bribe family and friends with food and drinks to help you with your move. Additionally, it is pretty affordable to rent a big truck to move the larger items of your home in a day. However, long distance is another story, and items are traveling longer, increasing the risk of breaking.

Pressed for time –
There is a lot of extra work that comes with moving. Professionals are trained to work around the clock to move items quickly and effectively. If you won’t have the time to properly organize, it might be worth it to hire movers and make your life a million times easier before and after the move.  

Specialty items-
If you have a lot of large items; hot tub, pool table, piano, grandfather clocks, etc., hiring movers becomes an easy decision to make. Not only are these items heavy, but they are super tricky to move in and out of doorways.

Cost-
Make sure you talk to a few different companies to get multiple quotes. After speaking with a few, and ensuring they are legit, decide if it’s something you can afford, and where you could cut down on the costs. Some companies charge less if you pack everything yourself, for example. Check to see if they are offering any specials, or try negotiating the price with them.

Reputation-
It’s very important that if you do decide to hire a moving company, you pick one that is reputable. Check Google, Facebook, or Yelp. Ask friends and family for companies they recommend.

Insurance –
After their reputation checks out, it’s important you confirm they have proper insurance. You can check U.S. Department of Transportation, or the 
Better Business Bureau, to ensure they are reputable and insured.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever used movers? If so, how was the experience?

Building a custom home is a dream come true for many. It provides homeowners with the opportunity to make decisions and call the plays on exactly how they want their home to look, feel and function. Which is why it’s important take the time to think through fun and personalized touches that will make the home 100% YOU. Remember, that’s exactly why you made the wonderful decision to custom build your home in the first place!

If you need some inspiration, consider the following ideas that are super trendy and super fun!

  1. Built-in bookshelves- Not only are bookshelves a beautiful statement piece, but they also provide extra storage. And let’s be honest, storage is always a good idea.
  2. Outdoor TV- Is there anything better than catching Sunday’s game outdoors, near the grill (and pool)? One of the things we love about Florida is the endless summer and ability to spend weekends poolside. By adding a TV, you’ll be able to catch some sun and catch the game.
  3. Unique cabinet hardware- One-of-a-kind kitchen or bathroom hardware can provide a unique look to any space. From glamorous, to farm rustic, the options are endless! If you aren’t sure where to begin, start with a quick search on Etsy.
  4. Jacuzzi tub- The hustle and bustle of our daily lives are no joke. Imagine having a large jacuzzi tub (or gorgeous clawfoot tub) to come home and soak in from time to time. It will only take one lavender-scented bubble bath for you to realize how great of an idea this custom touch was.
  5. Custom kitchen cabinets- The options are endless here. From custom spice drawer, bread drawers, walk-in pantry with organized shelving, hidden trash and recycling; there are so many ways to be efficient in the kitchen, keep things organized and keep a clean and glam look to any kitchen. 

A dream becomes a reality with sweat, determination and hard work. At Caroline Contractors, that’s how we build your dreams. You can always trust us to provide quality workmanship, personalized service and our complete focus on your new custom home, your renovations or your commercial projects. Every single time.

What is your dream custom touch for your home? Comment below!

If you can’t decide between granite and marble for your countertops, take a look at this list of differences from our friends at Better Homes and Gardens to help you choose the material that’s right for your needs. Here’s what they have to say.

When choosing countertops for the kitchen or bathroom, many homeowners prefer the look of natural stone, which offers a nearly endless array of unique colors and patterns. Granite is one of the most popular countertop materials on the market and a popular choice for modern or traditional houses. Marble is synonymous with luxury and is a classic choice for high-end homes. Use this simple guide to discover which of these beautiful materials is right for you.

Appearance

As with any material, the aesthetic differences between granite and marble are a matter of taste. Some people prefer the natural look of granite, which comes in a wide range of colors and patterns. Others like the elegance and veining of marble, which is easily recognizable and most commonly available in black or white.

Durability

Granite is often cited as the most durable natural countertop material available, and is known for resisting cracks and chips well. Hot pots can be placed directly on the countertop, you can cut right on the surface without damage, and spills wipe away easily. Like granite, marble is very strong and resistant to damage. However, it is much more porous and will stain easier than granite.

Maintenance/Repairs

With proper annual re-sealing, granite is very resistant to stains, though well-used kitchens may need to be sealed as often as monthly. Minor scratches or dings in granite can be filled in with color-matching epoxy or resin from the home improvement store, but professional installers should repair cracks larger than an ice cube. Minor damage to marble can be repaired similarly to granite, but bigger problems also require professional help.

Installation/Price

Both granite and marble should be installed by a professional. They are extremely heavy and difficult to handle. Also, cutting holes for a sink is no easy task. Granite prices have started to go down, making it quite a bit more affordable than marble. To save money on marble, choose tiles instead of pricier slabs. 

Maybe these tips will help you decide between granite and marble. If not, feel free to give us a call with any of your questions.


Do you or a member of your household use a wheelchair to get around? If so, you may benefit from modifying to make your home wheelchair accessible. Making some basic adjustments can be a great help for accessibility.  The key is to consider how you can promote independent living and provide a safe, easy to maneuver living space. 

Modify Your Home Entrance

The entrance to your home is a top concern. Build a wheelchair ramp for each entrance of the house. The costs of constructing a ramp will vary depending on its size and materials. Make sure the pathway is wide enough, consider handrails, and use a non-slip surface and a cover. You can also opt for a vertical platform lift if a ramp isn’t possible. 

Make Floors Safer for Travel

Floors can be problematic if you travel from room to room on wheels. If your house is decorated with carpets and rugs, it may be time for a change. Tile or hardwood flooring is ideal, but you can also use a low-pile carpet. Install rubber ramps to make thresholds safer, and cover any exposed cords on the floor. 

Widen Doorways for Easy Navigation

One of the most difficult areas to navigate while in a wheelchair is through a doorway. You can provide a safer and more pleasant experience for yourself or your loved one by widening the doorways in your home. Caroline Contractors can help adjust your home’s structure to accommodate a wheelchair. 

Create A Safer Kitchen

You can make positive changes in your kitchen, too. By lowering countertops, installing appliances that are easy to reach and providing roll-out storage units, you can make your kitchen safe and easier to use. You can also install a sink that allows the individual to roll his or her wheelchair underneath it. Adjust the location of all controls and outlets, and use rocker switches for lighting. 

For more information about how to make your home wheelchair accessible, Call Caroline Contractors at 813-931-4611 and let us help you build your dreams.

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.

The cost to install a home solar energy system has fallen rapidly over the past few years, and prices continue to decline. If you’re thinking about going solar, there’s no better time than during the design process for your new home. When you incorporate solar into your new home’s construction, you take advantage of solar’s environmental and financial benefits without having to retrofit your home with a solar installation later down the road.

In addition, owners of new residential and commercial solar can deduct 30 percent of the cost of installing a solar energy system from your federal taxes thanks to the investment tax credit (ITC), also known as the federal solar tax credit.

If you think you want to install home solar energy, here are a few things you’ll need to consider:

Orient the home for solar panels
It is important to have a large south-facing roof. If your home has a rectangular shape, one of the long sides should face south. This provides more roof space for your solar panels. You’ll need plenty of space if you want your solar system to produce all the electricity your house will consume throughout the year. A small south-facing roof will limit your space for panels, decreasing the possible size of the array.

Have a roof pitch of 30 to 45 degrees
The angle of the solar panels impacts the solar energy production. Mounting your solar panels at an ideal angle will increase the solar electricity output throughout the year. If solar panels are placed at a steep angle, they produce more electricity in the winter because the sun is lower in the sky. When panels are installed at a 0-degree angle, they produce more electricity in the summer because the sun is higher in the summer sky.

Strategically place dormers, vents, and chimneys
Solar systems generate the most electricity when they are completely unshaded, especially in the middle of the day. Even vents, dormers, and chimneys can create shadows on the panels, decreasing your energy output. It is important to strategically place these building features to maximize the energy production of your system and available space for mounting solar panels.Avoid trees and building obstructions
Trees and buildings can shade your solar panels, causing a significant reduction in your solar energy production. When building a new home, locate the home clear from obstructions that will shade your solar panels. Even deciduous trees create branch shade during the winter months, significantly decreasing your energy production. If some shade is unavoidable, select solar equipment that is specifically designed for shaded conditions.