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Smartland Residential Contractors Blog



Fall Home Renovations You Should Do Before Winter Comes

While we often think of home renovation projects in terms of the start of the year and spring cleaning, the post-summer season is actually an excellent time to get some of those remodeling projects out of...

By Steven Gesis
| September 07, 2018 |

Categories: Home Renovation


Building an In-Law Suite Addition? Here’s What You Need to Know

Whether you’d like to have an extra guest room when family members visit for the holidays or you have a mom who’s getting up in years and needs to move in with you, an in-law suite addition can work wonders...

By Steven Gesis
| August 24, 2018 |

Make Back-to-School a Breeze by Adding a Homework Room

It’s back-to-school time, and for kids everywhere, this means tons of homework. It also means tons of homework for all the parents out there who will spend the next several months constantly herding kids...

By Steven Gesis
| August 17, 2018 |

Have the Best Backyard Barbecue on the Block With These Perfect Patios

When the weather’s hot and gorgeous, no one wants to be cramped and crowded inside. Summer is the time for swimming pools, outdoor water games, and most of all — backyard barbecues. Over the next few...

By Steven Gesis
| August 03, 2018 |

The Top 5 Master Bathroom Must-Haves

While the kitchen is the most popular room for homeowners to remodel (according to the National Association of Home Builders), the master bathroom is a very close second. If you’re preparing to join the...

By Steven Gesis
| July 27, 2018 |

The Hottest Summertime Trends for Outdoor Living Spaces

As we move into the heart of summer, people everywhere are moving their weekend gatherings outdoors. In the past, people were content to pop open a few folding chairs in the grassy backyard and fan away...

By Steven Gesis
| July 20, 2018 |

Categories: Outdoor Living Spaces


Home Additions: How to Choose Between an Attached Garage or Detached Garage

When you imagine building a home addition, you might think of creating a guest suite for holiday in-law visits or perhaps a spare bathroom to end the whining and hair-pulling that results as your kids elbow...

By Steven Gesis
| July 13, 2018 |

Categories: Home Additions, Garage


Choosing the Basement Home Theater Layout That Works for You

Just imagine: the next time an exciting new movie comes out, you refuse to head to the theater, pay for overpriced drinks and popcorn, and sit in a room packed with noisy strangers straining to hear....

By Steven Gesis
| July 06, 2018 |

What Not To: Avoid These 5 Things When Finishing Your Basement - Guest Blog

Smartland Guest Blog by Stephanie Jerry

A lot of people live in homes with unfinished basements. These parts of the house are usually given the least attention. According to the Survey of Construction (SoC)...

By Stephanie Jerry
| June 29, 2018 |

How to Remodel a Dark Basement

As your family grows and your life expands, you may find yourself looking for some additional space. Maybe you need an extra guest suite for the holidays, a pet-friendly play area, or a home gym. No matter...

By Steven Gesis
| June 22, 2018 |

Reclaim Your Home — and Your Sanity — With These In-Law Suite Ideas

No matter how close your family is, in-law visits come with a certain amount of stress. In addition to the prospect of living in close proximity with your spouse’s parents for a few days or a couple of...

By Steven Gesis
| June 15, 2018 |

Categories: Home Additions


Enjoy Your Land With a New Farmer’s Porch

Springtime is here, and if you’re like many people, you’re itching to do a bit of home renovating in order to update and improve the value and livability of your home. What’s the best way to do this? Should...

By Tom Ott
| June 01, 2018 |

Adding an Outdoor Patio to Your Backyard Remodel

With warmer weather approaching and a million to-do items on your spring cleaning and project list, it might be time for a home renovation. No; we’re not talking a brand-new bathroom or a gourmet kitchen,...

By Tom Ott
| May 23, 2018 |

Adding a Kitchen Island to Your Home Renovation Project

It’s time to makeover your kitchen, and you’re ready to do a complete overhaul. You hope to make it a more user-friendly space, but you’d also like to give it a luxurious feel. As you think through the...

By Tom Ott
| May 18, 2018 |

Categories: Kitchen Remodeling


Backyard Deck Designs That Will Transform Your Property

If it’s time for an upgrade to your home, there are a lot of possibilities for ways to update your property and make it more enjoyable and livable. Some people opt for a newly remodeled kitchen, while...

By Tom Ott
| May 16, 2018 |

5 Keys to Successfully Building a Guest House

Years ago, you bought your dream home. You love your house and everything about it — it’s got a huge yard, beautiful kitchen, and ample room for your family. Well, most of the time it has ample room for...

By Tom Ott
| April 23, 2018 |

Categories: Home Renovation


Utilizing Renovations to Give Your Home a Luxurious Feel

While many of us dream of waking up in the morning and having coffee in a spotless, gourmet kitchen that overlooks the infinity-edge pool in the backyard of our 10,000 square-foot Hollywood Hills home, most...

By Tom Ott
| April 20, 2018 |

Categories: Renovation


How to Start a Home Renovation

You’ve wanted a brand-new gourmet kitchen for years, and the time is finally right. You’re ready to get started...or are you? In order for your project to be successful, you need to know how to start a home...

By Tom Ott
| April 18, 2018 |

Categories: Home Renovation


The Best Hardwood Floor Finishes and How to Choose the Right One for Your Home

Your home renovation project is going to totally transform everything. You’re redoing the kitchen, opening it up to the living room, and installing gorgeous hardwood floors throughout.

By Tom Ott
| April 06, 2018 |

Don’t Just Clean, Try These Spring Home Improvement Projects

Spring is in the air! As we emerge from our wintertime hibernation while shading our squinting eyes against the bright sun, we suddenly find ourselves inspired to throw open the windows and clean house....

By Tom Ott
| March 28, 2018 |

Categories: Home Improvements


How to Renovate Your Home on a Budget: The Top 5 Budget Tips

The ideal home renovation project is one that looks beautiful, is completed quickly, and comes in under-budget. That last factor can be a tricky one, as costs can quickly get out of control. Here are five...

By Tom Ott
| March 21, 2018 |

Categories: Home Renovation


Remodel vs. Renovation: What’s the Difference?

When it comes to home improvement projects, the terms “remodel” and “renovate” are often used interchangeably. Most people mistakenly assume they mean the same thing and use them to refer to any kind of...

By Tom Ott
| March 16, 2018 |

Categories: Home Renovations, Remodel


Making Your Home Historic With Vintage Industrial Style

Retro is all the rage now, whether it’s kitschy and colorful or reclaimed and weather-worn. One of the retro looks we’re seeing both in new construction and in home remodeling projects is vintage industrial...

By Tom Ott
| March 07, 2018 |

Home Additions and Tax Deductions — What You Need to Know

When you start thinking about a home addition, part of the planning process is juggling numbers. How big should the addition be? Will it be more expensive to build up or build out? How much time will it...

By Tom Ott
| February 28, 2018 |

Categories: Home Additions


New Construction: How to Design-Build Your Dream Home From the Ground-Up

Building a new home is an exciting experience, but it can feel like an intimidating one if you’re starting from scratch. From finding the right land to build on to choosing an architect, as well as a...

By Tom Ott
| February 21, 2018 |

Remodeling Resolutions: Finish Your Basement in 2018

For too long, your basement has been a musty, forgotten space. You venture into it to drag down unused workout equipment that’s taking up too much space in your master bedroom, grab holiday decorations, or...

By Tom Ott
| February 16, 2018 |

What to Do Before You Finish Your Basement

All too often, basements sit as musty, dusty, mostly-unused spaces where holiday decorations and long-forgotten toys, books, and workout equipment go to hide. Some families are saying no more to this wasted...

By Tom Ott
| February 09, 2018 |

Utilizing Green Building Materials in Home Renovations and Remodels

Years ago, homes were built with little consideration for the environment. Builders and homeowners chose materials based on budget or function, not thinking much about recycling or if the choices they were...

By Tom Ott
| January 31, 2018 |

How Long Will My Home Renovation Take?

Renovating your home is an exciting process, but with that excitement comes a great deal of stress – especially if it’s a very large renovation project. Although you’re excited to see the final product,...

By Tom Ott
| January 24, 2018 |

Categories: Home Renovation


Start Your Year Off Right With These Remodeling Design Trends for 2018

Like clothing fashion, home design fashion comes and goes. What was in when your home was built twenty years ago is likely now considered out of style. With every passing year, the home building and...

By Tom Ott
| January 17, 2018 |

Categories: Remodeling


Home Improvements For Those with Alzheimer’s and Their Caregivers

Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s can be a complicated and overwhelming task. As a caregiver, you may worry about how to provide safe accommodations for your loved one. Thankfully, thoughtful home...

By Lydia Chan
| January 11, 2018 |

Categories: Home Improvements


Build a New You by Turning Your Basement Into a Home Gym

As we bring in the New Year, it's time to start hitting those New Year's resolutions. Work less, eat healthier, and of course, the ever-popular resolution to work out more. That last one would be a lot...

By Tom Ott
| January 03, 2018 |

Categories: Basement Remodeling


What You Need to Know — and Do — Before Adding On to Your House

For years, you’ve planned to add an extra bedroom to your home. After giving up your bedroom to the in-laws and sleeping on the sofa bed in your home office for one final cramped Thanksgiving, you finally...

By Tom Ott
| December 27, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


The Importance of Foundation Repair Before a New Home Addition

Whether you’re looking forward to a brand-new guest suite for your in-laws to enjoy during the holidays, a private home office, or a larger living room, a new home addition is an exciting remodeling...

By Tom Ott
| December 20, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


6 Reasons Why Winter is a Great Time for Home Remodeling Projects

When it comes to taking care of your home, spring is the season for cleaning and winter is the season for … home remodeling projects? You may find the second part of that statement surprising — most people...

By Tom Ott
| December 15, 2017 |

Categories: Home Remodeling


Get Ready for the Big Game With a Man Cave Home Theater

When you’re a guy with a family, you sometimes begin to wonder where, exactly, in the house your space lies. The kitchen and bathrooms are your wife’s domain, as is the bedroom (since she long ago made you...

By Tom Ott
| December 06, 2017 |

Categories: Man Cave


Building an Addition vs. Buying a New House — How to Make the Right Choice

Over the years, your family makeup or life circumstances can change drastically. When a surprise baby comes along or your elderly mother-in-law begins having health problems and needs to move in with you,...

By Tom Ott
| November 29, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


Renovating for Rex: How to Create a Pet-Friendly Basement

For years, your basement has sat downstairs, an underused, under-appreciated room in your house. Finally, you’re inspired to transform it, but as you do so, you know it needs to be a space that’s usable by...

By Tom Ott
| November 22, 2017 |

Categories: Basement Remodeling


Be Prepared For Anything the Holidays Throw at You With a New Home Addition

The holidays are a fun, festive time full of friends, family, cooking, shopping, entertaining, and oh, let’s face it — stress. Along with the holiday cheer comes quite a bit of stress.

By Tom Ott
| November 17, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


Focus on the Feet With These Basement Remodeling Flooring Ideas

One day, it hit you out of the blue. Maybe it was looking around at your kids’ toys strewn in a path throughout the house — from their bedrooms to the living room to the kitchen and even a few in the...

By Tom Ott
| November 01, 2017 |

Categories: Basement Remodeling


The Pros and Cons of an Open Floor Plan When Adding Onto Your Home

Open floor plans have been one of the hottest interior remodeling ideas for the past several years. Typically, an open floor plan involves knocking down a wall between the living room and kitchen to connect...

By Tom Ott
| October 30, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


Work From Home Like Never Before With These Basement Home Office Tips

Get up in the morning, grab a shower and a cup of coffee, and head out the door for your morning commute with a breakfast bar in hand. This used to be the morning routine for most Americans, but in recent...

By Tom Ott
| October 25, 2017 |

Building Up vs. Building Out: Which is Right for Your Home Addition?

Has your family outgrown your home and you’re thinking of adding some more space? First, you'll want to do a bit of research to understand the different types of home additions. For instance, you’ll want to...

By Tom Ott
| October 20, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


Understanding the Different Types of Home Additions

When home-sweet-home would be sweeter if only it had a few changes made to it, a home addition may be the answer. Many people don’t realize that there are many different ways to add onto your home,...

By Tom Ott
| October 04, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


Forget Caves; Enhance Your Home With These Luxurious Finished Basements

When it comes to creating luxurious finished basements, the recent trend for many homeowners has been to turn the space into a man cave.Don’t get us wrong; this is a great way to transform a dusty, musty...

By Tom Ott
| October 02, 2017 |

Categories: Basement Remodeling


Waterproofing and More: How to Prepare Your Basement for Finishing

A second living room, a man cave, a playroom, or a guest suite: no matter how you plan to remodel your basement, it’s important to take the proper steps to ensure that the finished product is dry, cozy, and...

By Tom Ott
| September 27, 2017 |

Categories: Basement Remodeling


Utilizing a Home Addition to Improve the Flow of Your Home

Many families agree that home sweet home could be a lot sweeter if it were more functional. Cramped and cluttered bathrooms shared by the entire family as well as isolated kitchens that prevent the person...

By Tom Ott
| September 25, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


5 Keys to Minimizing Stress When Remodeling Your Home

Just like at work or in your personal life, minimizing stress when remodeling your home is easier said than done. Having strangers tromping through your torn-apart home can be difficult, even if you keep...

By Tom Ott
| September 01, 2017 |

Categories: Home Remodeling


Take Entertaining to the Next Level: Ideas for an Outdoor Kitchen

When the weather is gorgeous, everyone wants to be outside. A backyard update that includes an outdoor kitchen gives you the perfect excuse to spend those weekends enjoying amazing food, sipping drinks, and...

By Tom Ott
| August 30, 2017 |

Categories: Kitchen Remodeling


The 5 Coolest Things to Do With a Basement

Your basement has been sitting downstairs, musty, dusty, and full of boxes, for years. Lately, you’ve been discussing the prospect of doing something --- anything --- with the unused space. What’s the best...

By Tom Ott
| August 25, 2017 |

Categories: Basement Remodeling


Great Ideas for Building an Addition Above Your Garage

When it comes to adding onto your house, there’s no space that’s more ideal for a build-out than the area above your garage. However, while building an addition above your garage is a great idea, figuring...

By Tom Ott
| August 16, 2017 |

Categories: Home Additions


3 Things to Consider When Designing Outdoor Living Spaces

For too long, your backyard entertainment area has consisted of nothing more than a patio table, a few chairs, and a rickety grill you use for the occasional holiday barbecue. You’d like to use your yard...

By Tom Ott
| July 17, 2017 |

Categories: Outdoor Living Spaces


Creating a Basement Playroom Will Help You Reclaim Your Space

“When I was a kid, I had three toys to play with and I liked it!” “When I was a kid” doesn’t work for your kids today because they’re kids right now and the kids of today have lots of toys. Toys everywhere!...

By Tom Ott
| July 05, 2017 |

Categories: Basement Remodeling


Utilizing Design-Build Services to Create Your Dream Home

When you're investing a huge amount of time and money into a major remodeling project, you want things to go smoothly. This is particularly the case with big projects such as gutting and updating an entire...

By Tom Ott
| June 28, 2017 |

Categories: Design-Build


Using 3D Renderings to Visualize Your Home Improvement Project

Are you thinking of having an architect create a design for your upcoming home improvement project? If so, you may have images of the designer laying out page after page of blueprints. You’ll squint at the...

By Tom Ott
| June 22, 2017 |

Categories: 3D Renderings


How to Get the Right Financing for Home Renovations

You’ve done your homework, looked through magazines, saved links to websites, talked to a designer/contractor, and you’re finally ready to turn your home into the one of your dreams. It’s remodeling time!

By Tom Ott
| June 15, 2017 |

Categories: Financing Renovations


Basement Remodeling Tips

Is your basement sitting stale and unused --- a part of your home that’s forgotten until you wander down to dig out dusty boxes of Halloween or Christmas decorations?

By Tom Ott
| June 01, 2017 |

Categories: Basement Remodeling


A Custom Man Cave Can Truly Turn a Man’s Home Into His Castle

It’s every guy’s dream to have a sleek and stylish custom man cave. For the ultimate man cave, however, you can’t simply throw a big-screen TV on the wall, buy a recliner, plug in a dorm-sized refrigerator,...

By Tom Ott
| May 25, 2017 |

Categories: Man Cave


Time For a Bathroom Rehab? Here's How Much It Could Cost?

Besides the kitchen, your bathroom is perhaps one of the most important rooms in your house. It’s the place where you go to prepare for an important day at work. It’s also the room to which you retire to...

By Tom Ott
| May 18, 2017 |

Categories: Bathroom Remodeling


Building an Addition? Tips to Help You Budget Your Home Addition Project

The kids are old enough that they each need their own bedroom. You’ve just taken a new job that lets you telecommute. Your mother-in-law is getting up in years and needs to come live with you. 

By Tom Ott
| May 08, 2017 |

Enhancing Your Backyard With a Deck, Patio, or Outdoor Kitchen

As the weather warms up and the flowers begin to bloom, everyone’s thoughts begin to move outdoors. The best way to take advantage of all that springtime fresh air and sunshine is to create a backyard...

By Tom Ott
| May 03, 2017 |

Get Ready for Warmer Weather with These Spring Remodeling Trends

Ah, spring! A time for renewal! It’s also a great time to reconsider your home space and figure out what areas could be improved or better utilized. Both indoors and out, spring is a great time to start...

By Tom Ott
| April 26, 2017 |

Turn Wasted Space into the 5th Ave. Boutique of Your Dreams!

It’s a scene right out of *Keeping up with the Kardashians* or one of the many other reality TV shows that chronicle the lives of Hollywood’s fabulous and famous. A glamorous starlet flips on the light to...

By Tom Ott
| April 13, 2017 |

Mortgaging a Fixer-Upper: How to Get the Right Financing

FHA 203k financing --- The dream of home ownership with a superior loan structure.

By Tom Ott
| April 06, 2017 |

Making Fantasy a Reality: How to Finance Your Home Renovations

Wondering how to finance your home renovations? Finding lenders for home renovations is neither difficult or fraught with time-consuming strictures. With the explosion in the number of lenders providing...

By Tom Ott
| March 30, 2017 |

The 6 Most Common Home Renovation Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

Completing major home renovations is always exciting. You dive into the project with your energy levels high, ready to take on the world. Unfortunately, there are several pitfalls along the way --- and...

By Tom Ott
| March 29, 2017 |

Categories: Home Renovation


Remodel or Renovate? How to Know Which is Right for Your Bathroom Rehab

You have decided that your bathroom needs some attention. It happens, bathrooms see lots of wear and tear due to being a high traffic area and the fact that water usage is constant. Ready for a bathroom...

By Tom Ott
| March 24, 2017 |

8 Interior Remodeling Ideas for Adding Style and Value to Your Home

Many homeowners focus on building major add-ons or structural enhancements to improve the value of their home, yet interior remodeling ideas rarely cross their minds. A few upgrades in the kitchen,...

By Tom Ott
| March 22, 2017 |

Categories: Home Remodeling


Don't DIY Alone: Advice for Working With Contractors

DIY projects are currently all the rage. Anyone with a few tools and YouTube or Pinterest can figure out how to accomplish a wide range of projects, all without needing to contact a professional. There's...

By Tom Ott
| March 14, 2017 |

Are You Eligible? A Definitive Guide to FHA 203k Loan Requirements

A FHA 203k loan is a perfect financial vehicle for first-time home buyers with limited budgets, especially because the prospective buyer can select an affordably priced fixer-upper or as-is home, and, with...

By Tom Ott
| March 13, 2017 |

What Exactly Does 'Design-Build' Mean?

A Harvard University study in 2015 examined the skyrocketing trend of homeowners that are making serious improvements to their existing residence as opposed to buying newer, larger homes. So we wanted to...
By Tom Ott
| March 08, 2017 |

Categories: Design-Build


6 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Contractor

Have you decided to begin a home remodeling project? If so, congratulations! You're on your way to creating a great new space for you and your family. While choosing to remodel is an exciting process, it...

By Tom Ott
| March 01, 2017 |

The Benefits of Hiring a Contractor for Home Renovations

When you're considering a home improvement project, you should consider hiring a contractor for home renovations. You might be convinced that you can do it yourself. After all, you've watched all those home...

By Tom Ott
| February 03, 2017 |

5 Things to Remember When Remodeling Older Homes

Older homes can be a treasure trove for the remodeling enthusiast: great bones, a fantastic foundation, and a structure that was built to last. But when remodeling older homes, there are things you need to...

By Tom Ott
| January 27, 2017 |

The Pros and Cons of a FHA 203k Mortgage

Many home buyers are attracted to an FHA 203k mortgage because it allows the prospective buyer to include costs for renovating older homes or adding energy efficient upgrades to newer homes with one...

By Tom Ott
| January 27, 2017 |

Time For an Upgrade? Follow These 5 Home Renovation Tips

Are you looking to upgrade your home? Whether you are looking to increase your home's value in order to sell it, or simply looking to renovate, there are some great home renovation tips you'll want to keep...

By Tom Ott
| January 26, 2017 |

FHA 203k Full vs. Streamline: Which is Right For You?

These days, buying a house is far from being a simple process. In order to get the best deal, you want to --- as they say --- buy low and sell high. That means buying houses in good locations for less than...

By Tom Ott
| January 25, 2017 |

How to Properly Assess Home Addition Costs

When you decide that you want to take on a major home addition, the costs can add up quickly! You’ve got a dream in mind, but you want to make sure that it won’t break the bank in the process. Home addition...

By Tom Ott
| November 28, 2016 |
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