San Luis Obispo offers its residents vintage retail stores and hip restaurants as well as a coastal and country-style environment with beaches and views of the mountains. The town meshes classic buildings with modern attractions catering to a range of residents.
The best general contractors in the area work with a variety of house styles: coastal beach houses, Spanish Colonial residences, and vintage structured homes. These firms are capable of providing any updates to existing homes or additions their client needs. Our editors curated this list of the top twelve general contractors in San Luis Obispo, looking into each firm’s experience, portfolio, accolades, and designs.
201 N. Milpas St, Santa Barbara, CA 93103
Dennis Allen established Allen Construction in 1983. Over the past three decades, Allen and his staff have served the Santa Barbara area through sustainable and energy conservation methods, providing healthy, functional homes. Besides serving Santa Barbara, Allen has other divisions located in San Luis Obispo, West Los Angeles, and Ventura. The firm has become a pioneer in these areas for its green-building methods, which have produced a bevy of projects resulting in a portfolio of Tuscan, Meditteranean, Spanish, and contemporary style homes.
The feature project below is the remodeling of a 5,192 square foot, three level home overlooking the ocean with updated interior finishes. A significant upgrade was to replace all of the old transom windows and doors, along with outdated metal railings on the balconies, that obstructed the spectacular views. The firm upgraded the living room with a large format marble tile flooring and a dramatic modern linear fireplace while the kitchen received reconfigurations featuring luxury finishes with a waterfall island featuring a wood inset seating area. As for the exterior, the firm redesigned its structure using glass to replace the metal railings, a new entrance, and updated columns with a more contemporary design.
Semmes & Co. Builders
7900 El Camino Real, Atascadero, CA 93422
Turko Semmes established Semmes & Co. Builders after graduating from the Architecture Department of Cal Poly State University in 1978. The firm is currently led by Jessica Steely, Paul Rose, and Tom Moore: Semmes handed the team to them in 2011. The team has completed over 300 custom home and remodeling projects with a select number of commercial projects featuring small wineries, energy-efficient shopping centers, and private schools. Through the years, the firm has become a multi-award winner, garnering the 2019 Merit Award, the 2012 Azure Architectural Design Awards, the 2012 Residential Architect Design Award, and the 2011 GreenSite, Residential Project of the Year.
Pictured below is a vacation retreat remodeling project that serves as a future retirement home for the client but is also capable of hosting friends and family. One of the areas the firm worked on is the living area below, which features a classic cabin-like design with a wooden ceiling and flooring. The modern leather couches and seats complement the structural design, enhancing the appeal and accentuating the cabin-style environment. The Semmes & Co team partnered with resident architect Jim Duffy and Landscape architect Chris Manning.
Robbins Reed Custom Homes
1308 Monterey Street, #210, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Featuring a bevy of beach houses, Robbins Reed Custom Homes completed this Beachside House in Pismo Beach with a size of 1,625 square feet with an additional 503 square foot Casita. The point of emphasis was modifying the interior structural layout to provide the client with extra space and enhance the ocean views. The SLO Life Magazine featured the residence. Projects like this are a result of years of experience from custom homes director Ryan Adams and principal Shawn Reed. Both are members of various organizations aiming to serve the area, and the firm has an excellent reputation.
Holland & Knapp Construction
4110 Horizon Lane, Unit B, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Carty Holland and Zachary Knapp founded the firm in 2011, focusing on producing custom home building and remodeling projects. The company is a merger of two companies that resulted in 48 years of experience in the business, improving the residential construction and remodeling services it offers. The firm’s process includes careful attention to detail combined with quality craftsmanship catered to each client. The results represent their owners’ lifestyles and desires.
An example of this meticulous approach is the remodeling projects of this 1980s residence featuring major upgrades to the design and floor plan. The Holland & Knapp team transformed the traditional home into a contemporary Central Coast Farmhouse with vaulted ceilings, vinyl flooring, and wooden furniture, for a rustic home environment. With the home’s small rooms and living space, the firm prioritized efficient use of the floor plan catering to family living and entertaining guests. The result is a modern transformation that includes custom furnishing solutions with updated designs.
2972 S Higuera Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Showcasing an array of residential projects, the Ferreira Inc. team has tackled numerous projects with various designs and styles. These styles include ranch houses, Mediterranean villas, Tuscan homes, and French Country residences. The project below is one of the modern ranch farmhouses the firm has completed. A notable feature of the house is the integration of indoor and outdoor living that provides additional spaces but includes extra natural lighting that enhances the home’s environment by creating a vibrant appeal.
We’ve featured the kitchen, one of the areas that incorporate indoor and outdoor spaces. Along the sides of the kitchen are numerous windows, with the opposite side acting as floor-to-ceiling doors that lead to the courtyard/patio area. This provides more space while offering natural light to illuminate the kitchen. Founder Dan Ferreira has formed a reliable team more than capable of producing quality home projects. Today, it’s a 33 person team with years of accumulated years experience.
1508 Mill St, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Owner Mike Morain began his career in 1976 working as a carpenter, garnering experience with small projects. These experiences assisted him in establishing his own company in 1986 when KGM Construction began offering its services to the San Luis Obispo area. Morain established key foundations that would be the core of his process. He focused on efficient, productive work, a set timeline and budget, and thorough management with the crew and subcontractors. This result is a bevy of residences, from classic ranch homes to custom modern luxury estates.
The photo below is a result of the firm’s approach, featuring the Sequoia Residence in Templeton, California. Aside from its vibrant contemporary interior, the firm includes numerous outdoor spaces that offer the homeowner opportunities to mesh indoor and outdoor living. The photo illustrates a great example of the firm’s work on such projects: the outdoor patio extends the living room space to a swimming pool and garden area.
2420 Broad Street, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
With nearly two decades of experience, Coast Construction is a custom home and remodeling specialist that has accumulated an array of projects with numerous designs. Since 2001, the husband and wife team of Rich and Pamela Blythe have acquired a systematic approach that has helped them produce quality projects. A seamless process and intricate detailing have established them as a go-to firm for San Luis Obispo. The firm’s portfolio showcases Spanish, Colonial, Mediterranean, and luxury projects like this custom-made bar with a vintage ranch design. This project is one of the more notable and unique projects of the firm, completing a traditional vintage bar with wooden walls, tables, and seats. This rustic finish pays homage to a classic Western saloon-style bar.
Oak Ridge Custom Builders
7410 Sonora Ave., Atascadero, CA 93422
Partners Kane Jenkins and Patrick Jarvis have been in the business for over three decades and have developed a building process around transparency and proper communication with the client. They’ve established a track record of producing contemporary coastal homes and remodeling projects. A great example is the Pismo Beach Home that includes a simple modern finish. The interior includes a mild color palette with its furniture and backdrop providing a relaxed home environment. Furniture includes wooden cabinetry, rattan seats, and candle chandeliers, providing a unique contrast to the beach ambiance of the house.
PO Box 73, Santa Margarita, CA 93453
Showcasing an array of projects, CK Builders has tackled various residential and commercial projects. As far as its residential projects are concerned, the firm applies zero energy features, offering homeowners an efficient house that helps keep costs down. One of the firm’s best residential projects is featured below—the Albera Kitchen Remodel. This 1980s classic kitchen had some challenges the firm had to resolve, such as low ceilings, low hanging upper cabinets, and appliances being too congested in one area. Appliances received reconfigurations, and details such as the ceiling and storage space received much-needed upgrades. The result of the remodeling is a more organized kitchen that emphasizes proper spacing for functionality. President Cindy Edwards oversees the firm’s projects and instills a level of quality and efficiency in all its projects. This led to the firm’s recognition as a reliable, trustworthy firm in the area.
Artifex Industries, Inc.
3547 S Higuera St Suite F, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
For over ten years, Artifex Industries, Inc. has been building a solid track record of providing its clients with various kitchen, bathroom, and new construction projects. The firm’s style focuses on revamping classically designed homes and offering new modern looks that still respect tradition. The team at Artifex does this by combining the highest quality materials and products with modern construction techniques, all while maintaining affordable prices for the project. A great example is the feature project below, the Wisenhunt Kitchen remodel. The kitchen’s vintage features remain with the mahogany cabinetry, marble islands, and bar stools but are reconfigured for a contemporary open-concept kitchen, incorporating the dining area and living space. The firm installed bright ceiling lamps and windows, creating a vibrant atmosphere.
Jerry Lithwin Construction
P.O. Box 1804, Morro Bay, CA 93443
Jerry Lithwin Construction primarily focuses on kitchen and bath remodeling projects, occasionally tackling room additions and other handyman projects. Lithwin has three decades of experience which enables him to keep his process seamless and straightforward. This approach has led to numerous returning clients and, as a result, established the firm as a top company in the area. Along with Jerry is his wife Aimee Lithwin, who assists clients by offering design consultation services and continuously seeks alternatives to create effective systems that allow the firm to excel. This emphasis on process results in projects such as the kitchen remodel below, featuring vintage furniture with modern appliances. Its simplicity provides ample space that offers functionality and efficiency in the kitchen.
935 Riverside Drive Ste #3 Paso Robles, CA 93446
With over 15 years of experience and over 800 projects, RCH Construction has cemented itself as a reliable firm for both residential and commercial projects. The project below is a kitchen remodel in 2018 featuring a modern setting with Asian-inspired details. Apart from the noticeable contemporary kitchen setup, the RCH Construction team incorporated the dining area, which includes a mahogany dining table, black-colored seats, and various plants. Paired with the bleached-colored flooring, it adds a unique touch to the modern setting of the kitchen and showcases a blend of simple furnishing and designs. President Ryan Halsey has an established team of subcontractors that aid clients throughout the process. The firm has applied this approach since its genesis in 2007 and has since proven its ability to produce quality remodeling projects.