Orono is a warm community with small-town appeal and easy access to the Minneapolis hub. To complement the scenery encompassing the city, its residents have built parks, wildlife areas, fine homes, and top-performing schools, making Orono one of the most ideal communities in the state.

Not surprisingly, more people are moving to Orono, which is why our editorial team made this list to introduce you to the best general contractors in Orono, Minnesota. These firms have proven their mastery of the building process and various adjacent techniques, and they have worked with numerous clients building plenty of experience. Each firm differs in its approach, but these firms unite with a common goal: building enduring homes while providing owners the comfortable and valuable homes they deserve.

John Kraemer & Sons, Inc.

4906 Lincoln Drive, Edina, MN 55436

John Kraemer & Sons is the state’s only firm to become a four-time recipient of the Builder of the Year Awards, a sought-after distinction from Housing First Minnesota. This award certifies the trust, ethics, and customer satisfaction the firm has delivered since its establishment in 1978. From large estates to empty-nest homes, lake cabins, and renovations, the firm handles each project on a transparent process, where every bid and invoice is open for client review at any time. 

By closely listening to the owners, John Kraemer & Sons completed the Medina Lower Level project. Evident in the featured photo is an open floor plan creating a connection between the living, dining, and kitchen areas. Making the entire space feel spacious and inviting are wooden kitchen fixtures, marble countertops, herringbone layout floor tiles, and minimalist tones of white and gray. 

Gordon James Construction

5159 Main St East, Suite 200 PO Box 306, Maple Plain, MN 55359 

John Quinlivan has a deep knowledge of the construction industry: his father was a contractor. He founded Gordon James Construction aiming to realize great designs and execute breathtaking results. Over its 16 years of service, the firm has created an impressive portfolio consisting of lake homes, cottages, rustic houses, and ramblers. It also specializes in the renovation and installation of luxury home areas, including wine cellars, home gyms, and home theaters. 

Gordon James Construction serves the most coveted communities in Minnesota, including Orono, Wayzata, Lake Minnetonka, Shorewood, Edina, and Minneapolis’s Chain of Lakes. One of its featured projects is the remodel of this coastal home that features white and wood elements visible in the walls, ceilings, and floors. To follow a particular theme, the firm incorporated hues of muted blue finishes throughout the home. It also employed lighting fixtures, a sleek kitchen with a large island, and an open floor plan that provides a seamless connection between the dining and living rooms.

Denali Custom Homes

18352 Minnetonka Blvd, Wayzata, MN, 55391

David Bieker developed his interest in architecture at a young age while sketching pictures of his dream home. His passion for design soon transitioned to homebuilding when he witnessed his parents—interior designers and engineering graduates—build custom homes in Indiana for two decades. Spending his early years working in the family business, Bieker has learned the sophisticated ins and outs of the construction process. He combined that knowledge with his passion and founded Denali Custom Homes in 1998, a firm that places a high value on every home that it builds.

Bieker founded Denali Custom Homes with a passion for creativity and utmost customer service, taking time to understand every need of his clients. As the firm builds a thoughtful home, it also embraces green building by employing advanced technologies for enhanced durability, energy efficiency, and healthier indoor living. An example of its completed project is this luxurious lakeside home in Minnetrista. The property features low pieces of furniture, high windows, and multiple outside living areas that all work together to capture the natural scenery surrounding the home.

Mark D. Williams Custom Homes Inc.

332 2nd Street, Excelsior, MN 5533

Featured in Parade of Homes Spring 2020 and a 2020 Reggie Award Winner in the $2 Million and above category, the home featured here is a unification of simplicity, elegance, and charm. Mark D. Williams Custom Homes built the residence with a thoughtful layout and clean details to complement the majestic overlooking Lake Minnetonka. It also used a four-season porch and south-facing views to permit residents and guests to enjoy the scenery of the lake at any time of the day. From traditional lake homes like this one to modern farmhouses and cozy cottages, the firm undertakes them all and completes them successfully, regardless of the style and scope of the project. 

This versatility is one reason why Mark D. Williams Custom Home has become an award-winning firm operating in the Twin Cities with over 40 years of experience. The firm is made up of skilled, hard-working, and reliable people who enjoy sharing a craft. They also believe that by working together, they can contribute to making the building industry stronger. The team makes themselves available from plan development through the entire selection process and provides the required assistance to create a home that satisfies your individual lifestyle.

Revision LLC

153 East Lake Street, Wayzata, MN 55391

A companion to its longstanding sister company, Revision LLC has deep knowledge and a long history behind it. The firm recreates spaces and renovates homes. Its services encompass whole home remodels, kitchens, lower levels, baths, and other specialty projects. Located in Wayzata, the firm has worked with countless homeowners in and around the lakes area and throughout the greater metropolitan area. One of its fantastic projects is this updated Urban Coastal Cottage, featuring a nautical look and serving as a serene lakeside home.  

Aiming to build valuable homes, Revision works collaboratively and creates transparent relationships with clients. Leading this seamless and effective process is John Daly, a manager with vast experience in the industry. He was trained to build with high standards, as defined by company siblings, Revision and Stonewood.

Pillar Homes

1700 Niagara Lane, Plymouth, MN 55447

Pillar Homes works on major renovations, additions, historic rebuilds, and preservation. The firm also provides real estate and consulting services. It specializes in constructing homes on private lots, tear-down lots, and small-scale developments. You’ll want to take a closer look at this striking European Cottage located in Wayzata. The living room has a cathedral ceiling and a beautiful combination of clerestory and picture windows. Together these elements provide substantial internal lighting, helpful in maximizing visual comfort and reducing overall energy use.

While Pillar Homes continuously builds functional and appealing homes, it also consistently receives awards from industry peers for its notable home-building excellence. A few of its recognitions include bagging the Builder of the Year Award from the Builders Association of Minnesota (BAM) and the Trillium and Reggie Award from Housing First Minnesota. K.C. Chermak, the owner of the firm, leads this award-winning team in giving unparalleled attention to each client. Applying his years of practice and creativity, he guides the firm in employing a personalized process and tactile and cohesive decision-making.

L. Cramer Builders + Remodelers

5500 Lincoln Drive, Edina, MN 55436

Be it a construction of a bespoke home or a renovation of a historic property, L. Cramer Builders + Remodelers integrates the perfect design team and artisans to finish a project. This professional team carefully specifies a plan and materials to create a space that combines both grace and performance. Owner Greg Jurvakainen instills in his team integrity, honesty, and a commitment to rigorous construction standards. His principles and extensive experience began when he was doing carpentry at a young age. As a young man, he learned a skill and also learned the upright transparent business practices he now employs leading his firm. 

Since 1978, L. Cramer Builders + Remodelers has started its process by listening and carefully defining goals, priorities, and standards. These goals are integrated with the firm’s expertise to create a home that suits a personal style. As a result, the firm now holds a nationally recognized portfolio full of award-winning custom homes, renovations, and remodeling projects.  Included in this portfolio is this Lakeside Home that includes a well-built, cozy, open gathering space. The stone fireplace, stained cabinetry, soaring ceiling, and unobstructed views of the surroundings bring it all together to achieve the client’s goal of a tranquil, inviting home.

Worth Custom Homes

11112 Park Dr, Rogers, MN 55374

While attending a high school shop class, Bill Worth discovered his passion. He later excelled in carpentry school. After gaining experience in framing and finishing as a contractor, he founded his own construction company in 1980. He taught his son, Jarod, by bringing him to job and construction sites, opening his eyes early to the construction industry. After college, Jarod still wanted to prove himself, so he worked devotedly to become a Project Manager for their family-owned company. 

Today, Bill and Jarod use their innate passion and hard-earned skills in building tailored houses. These passions and skills are supported by their integrity which has allowed Worth Custom Homes to maintain a level of award-winning craftsmanship for 40 years. The firm has won recognition from Housing First Minnesota, including a Reggie Award and Trillium Award. Worth Custom Homes also participates in the Parade of Homes: the featured project above was the firm’s entry for the 2020 exhibition. It spans over 5,000 square feet and has a receiving area with a 25′ beamed ceiling, massive windows, and a custom fireplace, ideal for owners to relax and entertain guests.

Erotas Custom Building

21930 Minnetonka Boulevard, Excelsior, MN 55331

Founded in 1992, Erotas Custom Building prospers through its superior dedication, artistry, and craftsmanship. The firm has worked in a number of different architectural styles, including midcentury, Tuscan, modern, traditional, Tudor, and contemporary. The firm also worked on this traditional European estate, featuring an old-world wonder through using classic stones and copper on the exterior and stained wood on the interiors.

This project shows how Erotas Custom Building dedicates its time to give a logical and functional purpose for every project detail. To achieve that level of focus, the team oversees every aspect of the process, from the initial meeting to the final inspection.

Tom Hendrickson was on-site daily to help Erotas with the construction of his family home. Having on-hand experience as a client, he was impressed by the firm’s performance and decided to work with them the following year. Years later, he used these unique experiences and perspectives as he now serves as the president of the Erotas Custom Building.

Thompson Construction LLC

6465 Olstad Drive, Independence, MN 55359

Dorian Thompson has been in the custom home building industry for over three decades, working at the field, office, and as an estimator with a premier multi-awarded firm. In 1998, he decided to start his own company, and call it Thomas Bren Homes. He wanted to take what he had learned and provide quality construction services. Its services include small renovation projects, sophisticated upper-bracket custom homes, and sustainable homes that employ geothermal and green building techniques.

Thomas Bren Homes believes that building a home is a series of ideas and decisions evolving through a progressive dialogue between the owners and its team. Aiming to build a home as a unique expression of its owner, the firm dedicates its time to listen to and define clients’ needs. The firm makes the entire building process worth it by following an architectural plan closely.

Alma Homes, LLC

2500 Shadywood Rd #750, Orono, MN 55331

Simple layouts, white-colored walls and ceilings, seamless installation of kitchen fixtures, and close attention to the essentials all contributed to the minimalist look of the home. To complete projects like this, Alma Homes takes its time getting to know its clients and their lifestyles. The firm deliberately takes on fewer projects each year to commit more time and focus from the first sketch and floor plan development to fixing the furniture and placing the final details in a home. Alma Homes builds, in other words, with painstaking craftsmanship. The firm ensures that it provides unique design, follows efficient timelines, and treats its clients like family. Comprising an adept team that enjoys family gatherings at home, the firm believes that a home should be inviting and reflective of a range of lifestyles and the needs of a given family.


  • Jake Gustafson

    Jake has served as Senior Editor at General Contractors and brings a wealth of experience rooted in his passion for building. Holding a degree in Construction Engineering Management from Oregon State University, he actively engaged in industry-related activities, including membership in the Associated General Contractors of America student chapter and participation in the Associated Schools in Construction student competition. Previously, Jake served as a project engineer for a prominent general contractor in Portland, where he played a pivotal role in various aspects of construction projects, from pre-construction to subcontractor management. His expertise extends to working on innovative projects, such as North America's largest CLT commercial building. Expertise: Commercial Construction, Commercial Remodeling, Home Design and Build Key Highlights: Editor at General Contractors, Project Engineer for Portland-based general contractor, Field Engineer for the largest CLT commercial building in North America Education: Oregon State University, Degree in Construction Engineering Management