Once brushed off as a quaint commuter town, Goleta’s high-tech business scene and picturesque scenery have turned it into quite the sought-after location. Starting as an agricultural hub for lemon farmers, the city soon drastically transformed after the University of California, Santa Barbara moved to the area in 1954. Soon, startups started appearing, with aerospace companies leading the charge.
These technological advancements and job opportunities reinvigorated the local housing scene with many Americans wanting to move to Goleta. Dubbed as one of the best places to live in America by CNN Money and Livability, the city has grown a sizable suburban community of around 30,000 people.
This boom in the number of residents and businesses has caused a surge in the need for local contractors. With multiple ranch-style homes, multi-family condominiums, and commercial spaces opening up around Goleta, local architects have become integral to the town’s growth. Listed below are 15 of these contractors that caught the editorial team’s eye for their impressive repertoire of services, accolades, and projects.
UTT Construction Inc.
74 D Aero Camino, Goleta, CA 93117
Carrying on founder Rodney Utt’s legacy, UTT Construction Inc. has been sprucing up buildings with its carpentry and contractor services since 1981. While Utt has long retired, the company continues to be run by talented foremen with years of experience. Bradley Wisham, who has been working with the company since 2006, has been heading contracting projects around the Tri-county area. That includes remodels, additions, indoor and outdoor kitchens, and bathrooms for residential and commercial spaces. Even after a project is completed, the firm also provides a maintenance service to keep its clients’ properties in tip-top shape.
While UTT Construction’s construction talent is indisputable, it is the company’s ability to create stunning wooden features that truly stands out. With its 3,600 square foot woodworking shop, the firm offers finish carpentry for all of the buildings they work on. In past projects, the contractor has made custom doors, stairways, coffered ceilings, among others. They also have a separate team for custom cabinets headed by shop foreman Bruce Williams; he has been with the company since the ’80s. Williams channels his experience into creating cabinets that complement the room.
As a proud member of the Santa Barbara Contractors Association, UTT Construction has won numerous achievements and titles for its services. The company has been dubbed the “Builder of the Year” by the SBCA five times. Its construction and remodeling projects have also received praise. One of which is an eccentrically designed project named “Book House,” which resembles two books with copper covers and brass pages stacked on top of each other. The house’s interior fits the theme with its array of outlandish sculptures and art installations. This house won an award in the New Residential Construction category for projects that cost over $1.5M in 2014.
Ashton & Hope Construction
133 E De la Guerra, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
Starting as a modest home remodeling service in 2015, Ashton & Hope Construction is now one of Santa Barbara’s leading general contractors. Partners Kyle Ashton and Robert Hope founded the firm to provide the neighboring area with large-scale residential and commercial builds and remodels. Starting as young laborers, both owners have worked from the ground up to learn everything about contracting over the past 15 years.
Known as one of the fastest-growing custom home building firms, Ashton & Hope Construction specializes in contemporary and modern residential builds. For those looking for more small-scale projects, the firm also provides kitchen and bathroom remodels. With years of experience with finicky pipework and wirework, the contractor specializes in making bathrooms and kitchens that are functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Branching outside of home builds, the company has also started offering commercial constructions. The firm has brought life to many of Goleta’s offices, medical facilities, restaurants, and leisure amenities. If a business facility or a house is feeling a bit cramped, Ashton & Hope can help maximize the space of these properties through its additional services. Knowing the importance of a building’s outdoor space in creating inviting structures, the company also provides landscaping projects. Whether a client wants to spruce up their garden or to install fences or an outdoor kitchen, the firm prides itself on being able to bring the best out of a building’s surroundings.
Santa Barbara, CA
The firm’s attention to detail stems from its owner Sean Caldwell’s pedigree and years of experience in all aspects of the carpentry trade from commercial construction to high end residential building projects. starting at the age of 13 working summers for his father as an apprentice carpenter, then doing his formal training and indentureship in the Carpenter’s Union with further training at the British Columbia Institute of Technology acquiring the coveted Red Seal certification from the Canadian Government that is recognized world wide.
After years of building up his skills and knowledge, Sean has now been a part of many projects in several countries from 70 plus story buildings in Downtown Vancouver B.C., high end residential remodels in Sydney Australia, to an LRT project in Puerto Rico and more currently multiple high-end residential projects around the greater Santa Barbara County area. Today, he leads Caldwell Construction in sprucing up homes all over the Santa Barbara country area with projects currently from Arroyo Grande to Carpinteria.
533 Olive St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101
There are a number of reasons why McKean Construction’s stunning custom home builds and remodels have caught the eye of esteemed architecture magazines and organizations. For more than 20 years, McKean has offered quality residential construction, addition, and renovation projects to Santa Barbara county. The company also boasts an eclectic array of building styles that can help homes stand out. And while it can create homes in any style, the firm specializes in Cape Cod, Victorian, Spanish, and contemporary abodes. Many of the homes they’ve worked on have been featured in Design LA, Dwell Magazine, Residential Design Magazine, and The Architect Tours of 2012 of Santa Barbara.
Founder Aaron McKean has made proper use of his over 35 years’ worth of experience in the industry, leading the team to its current prominence. Aaron has also developed a network of local subcontractors and vendors who continue to work with him to this day. A well-respected member of the industry, Aaron has served on the Board of Directors for the Santa Barbara Contractors Association. The firm also works closely with Built Green Santa Barbara, a non-profit organization that aims to introduce environment-friendly architecture to the community.
903 State St. Suite #206t, Santa Barbara, CA 93101
What this up-and-coming contractor lacks in age it makes up for with its modern and high-end stylings. Adding a touch of class to houses and commercial spaces across Santa Barbara, Bysun Building has made a name for itself for its luxury builds despite opening in 2018. Early into its career, the firm has already done projects for esteemed businesses and names such as high-end jewelry store Mejuri, Rosewood Miramar Hotel, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s brick-and-mortar store Goop.
While Bysun Building also offers commercial and residential construction, design-build services, and kitchen remodels, the firm specializes in its full-scale remodels. The company is headed by Joel Benjamin who has channeled his years of experience in leading numerous construction projects in Southern California. Joel has curated a trusted team of local contractors who have paved the way for the firm’s high-quality builds and increasing prominence in the industry.
One such build is the Mejuri store on Melrose which exudes elegance and character. Rather than going for the sleek minimalist approach most jewelry stores opt for, Bysun decided to employ a warmer color scheme and accent pieces that reflect the store’s aesthetic. Central to the design is the custom mirror wall art which beautifully complements the decorative metal fabrication and rose glass ceiling lights.
C.T. Baker Construction
P.O. Box 30182, Santa Barbara, CA
Establishing itself as one of the most reliable in the area, C.T. Baker Construction has enamored business owners and homeowners alike for the quality service they provide at every step of the process. Since 1999, the firm has helped remodel and construct residential and commercial spaces in Santa Barbara.
All projects start with a free in-house design consultation, where one of the firm’s designers visits the client’s property to take measurements and discuss the customer’s vision. A second meeting invites the client to see their vision first hand through a tour of the company’s furniture displays. Wanting to have an expert guide their customer every step of the way, the firm also assigns a project manager who oversees everything from start to finish. The manager will work hand-in-hand with a field supervisor who handles all the trades provided throughout the process while ensuring that the project follows municipal orders.
Business founder and namesake Charles Baker has over 30 years of experience building and remodeling custom homes around the county. Charles began as a carpenter for local contractors in the area, allowing him to develop a keen understanding of craftsmanship in everything from concrete foundations to finish carpentry. His background has allowed him to pay close attention to every aspect of his firm’s projects, explaining the firm’s consistent quality of construction.
Tony Toro Construction
3463 State St, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Embodying the determination of its animal insignia, the bull, Tony Toro Construction has charged headfirst to the top of the area’s home remodeling scene. Specializing in both single-room and full-scale renovations, homes in Goleta, Santa Barbara, and Montecito have enjoyed the firm’s services for over two decades.
Owner Tony Toro has been in the industry since 1988, starting as a lineman for the Public Service Enterprise Group. That’s where he developed his skill for gas work and electric work which he now uses to create kitchens and bathrooms. For those looking for more wiggle room, the contractor also offers a multitude of additional services including garage, deck, and patio construction projects. The company also provides design-build services where they handle everything from conceptualization of the build to the actual construction.
Aside from these traditional offerings, Tony Toro Construction has a roster of other fortes. Unlike many other firms, it offers a unique Accessory Dwelling Unit service. The firm provides homeowners an entirely separate structure within their house’s plot of land. Family members who want to be near their extended family but also need privacy are given a new living space that meets both needs. The company also offers home-office construction services where they create amenities conducive to improved productivity.
674 E Main St. Suite #191, Ventura, CA 93001
Being one of the most used amenities in any home, it isn’t all that odd to see kitchens and bathrooms losing their luster over time. Knowing just how integral these rooms are for the families who use them, Giani Construction offers remodeling services to keep them in tip-top shape. While they also offer general renovations and builds for commercial and residential spaces, the firm specializes in breathing new life into these specific rooms. The company provides various aesthetic styles including Modern and Traditional for kitchens and Victorian, Classic, and Modern for bathrooms. Handling all of the plumbing and electrical work, custom cabinetry, painting, flooring, and framing, Giani ensures that your bathrooms and kitchens look great and work well.
Founder Giani Pirva opened the business in 1999 wanting to curate his team of in-house architects and designers. Giani makes it a point not to enlist subcontractors believing that his team has the skills and synergy needed for the firm’s construction projects. The contractor is determined to pour effort into all of their builds, which is why it takes on only one job at a time. Stretching from Ventura to Santa Barbara, homeowners in the area have come to know Giani for its excellent service, and it has earned an A+ rating from the BBB.
1187 Coast Village Road, Montecito, CA 93108
Korling Construction has been working on world-class residential and commercial projects around South California since 1996. Gounder and president Amboy Korling has gone around the world, leading projects in Costa Rica, Israel, and the United States. The years he spent learning architectural approaches from various countries have helped set his firm apart from his competitors.
Working on the smallest of fixtures to the largest of houses, Korling Construction provides door and window installations, kitchen and bathroom remodels, and room additions for residential spaces. With over 20 years of experience managing commercial projects locally, the company understands the complexity that often comes with these builds. It can juggle the vision, budget, and schedule of its clients with local ordinances.
Outside of constructing full-scale builds and rooms, Korling also pays painstaking attention to the structural integrity of buildings. The company provides structural modification and repair, weatherproofing, waterproofing, foundation, and framing services so that its builds can survive whatever mother nature throws at them.
22 W. Calle Laureles, Santa Barbara, CA 93105
Known for its impressive network of material and furniture suppliers, Castle Construction can tweak any home and room to bring the best out of any residential space. The firm has a knack for full-scale, kitchen, and bathroom remodels with fixtures expertly crafted by workers around Santa Barbara. Founder Jason Tapia has collaborated with local craftsmen since 1999, believing in the quality of their work and builds.
Recognizing that each build and client is unique, Castle Construction takes its clients to its local boutique-style showroom to give a concrete representation to its customers’ vision. It is here where they showcase a multitude of kitchen fixtures which they have curated with their business partner Creative Kitchen Spaces. The firm also creates custom cabinets and provides basic carpentry with workers from Crystal Cabinet Works, Showplace Cabinetry, and Waypoint Living Spaces. It also decks houses with sleek countertops made out of granite, quartz, and marble sourced from Cambria and Caesarstone.
JK Wood Construction
7529 Carlisle Way, Goleta, CA 93117
Based in Goleta City, JK Wood Construction has a profound appreciation and knowledge for the architecture of its neighboring areas which it uses in its home and commercial constructions. The firm specializes in home, bathroom, and kitchen remodels and puts an emphasis on the utility of their builds. The company employs a repertoire of services including framing, carpentry, drywall, painting, electrical, plumbing, flooring, and finish work. Caring for the client as much as they care for the building, the contractor does the necessary paperwork and preparation to ensure its customers’ safety.
Second-generation general contractor and Goleta native Justin Wood founded the firm in 2007. Long before establishing the business, Justin had been immersed in both the city itself and the local contractor scene. That experience gave him the necessary background to lead various projects around Goleta, Santa Barbara, Montecito.
PO Box 91554 Santa Barbara CA
Mastering both the construction and carpentry process, Arraiga Construction can build and remodel any residential, commercial, and industrial building around Santa Barbara and Ventura. While it may have just started its operations in 2017, founder Alex Arraiga is a third-generation contractor who has grown up learning the tools of the trade from his family. His upbringing would eventually push him to pursue a degree in industrial engineering which gave him the knowledge needed for industrial builds. Alex has built a team of equally talented and experienced workers who he has worked with even before founding Arraiga Construction.
The firm specializes in new home construction and property remodeling services. The team continually keeps an open communication line with its clients to ensure that the build they envisioned becomes a reality. While full-scale projects are more up the firm’s alley, they also provide smaller projects such as its bathroom remodels. Arraiga Construction does everything it can to level up bathrooms to luxurious retreats including bathtub and shower replacement, tile installation, lighting work, fixture replacement, among others.
PO Box 5216 Santa Barbara CA
To feel like you’re living in the lap of luxury, you have to live in an equally luxurious home — and that is what Garner Construction specializes in. Since the 1990s, the company has constructed and remodeled high-end custom homes and modest estates. The residential spaces the firm manufactures have this old-school charm that is characteristic of their traditional, mid-century, Mediterranean, and Tuscan stylings.
Owner Iain R. Garner handpicks local subcontractors who meet his standards so that every aspect of the homes he builds is to the client’s liking. As a fully licensed, bonded, and insured firm, Garner Construction guarantees that all products are installed to the manufacturers’ specifications to produce a home that is safe and functional.
Eric Hollems Construction
350 South Kellogg Ave. Unit D Goleta, CA
A passion for luxury homes and the less fortunate — despite being vastly different, Eric Hollems Construction has dedicated nearly a decade of service to both. The owner, who also serves as the firm’s namesake, was born and raised in Santa Barbara where he first started as a carpenter. Eric steadily climbed up the rungs, learning everything there is to know about the construction process.
This has led him to create stunning high-end residential spaces in Santa Barbara and its neighboring areas. Eric Hollems Construction now offers custom home builds, renovations, and project management services to make the process feel as luxurious as the end product. This attentiveness to his clients stems from Eric’s affection for his wife and three children. An advocate for at-risk youth and local widows, he also actively participates in charities dedicated to them.
Similar to the superior visual range of its namesake, Hammerhead Construction’s scope of general contracting expertise guarantees that every nook and cranny of their builds are made to perfection. The differing specialties of the company’s three leaders have allowed the firm to adapt to any request from its clients. In 2006, Dave DeLorie and Jeff Selvey established the company to provide construction and remodeling services to the greater Santa Barbara area.
With a career in construction stretching back to when he was just sixteen, Jeff serves as the contracting expert. He took part in dozens of projects before forming Hammerhead Construction, allowing him to develop a grasp for the aesthetic and technical side of the trade. Dave’s wife, Bunny DeLorie is a realtor in Santa Barbara, and has also played a major role in making the company what it is today. Dave handles the business side of things, with his extensive history of managing enterprises involving engines, marine boats, and pocket watches. By 2008, Brandon Montano would become the third head of the team. With his bachelor’s degree in construction management, Brandon has been overseeing the process and ensuring that everything is running smoothly.
As general contractors, the firm handles the bulk of the client’s pre-construction errands including drafting and consultation, permit processing, and site preparation. While they can remodel any indoor or outdoor amenity, they are particularly skilled at kitchen and bathroom remodels and room additions.