Milwaukee is Wisconsin’s largest city and is situated on Lake Michigan’s western shore. Known as the “big city of little neighborhoods,” Milwaukee has over 75 neighborhoods with distinct vibes. The historic Third Ward is the city’s thriving arts and fashion district, the Wauwatosa neighborhood exudes a European charm, while Bay View is the hip district of beer gardens and record shops.
There are many home styles in Milwaukee from Bungalow to Ranch, but many of the city’s most stunning homes are located along the shoreline and overlook the lake. In this list, we found the best custom home builders that focus on large-scale renovations in the city based on the quality of the projects they have completed. Beyond the quality and scale of their work, we took awards, press coverage, and clientele into consideration when determining the ranking.
15) One Room at a Time, Inc.
4927 S. Division Rd. Waterford, Wisconsin 53185
One Room at a Time is a full-service general contractor that serves southeastern Wisconsin. Founded by husband and wife tandem, Steve and Stephanie Ciaglo established the firm to share their trade knowledge and innovative design strategies for their clientele. Recently the founders were featured on ProSource’s website, one of North America’s top wholesale supplier of home renovation needs. Steve and Stephanie were featured to give expert tips on how homeowners should choose the perfect contractor for their project.
When One Room at a Time was founded in 2004 and based in Waterford. They gain new clients through word of mouth referrals and their primary project locations are Brookfield, Whitefish Bay, and Wauwatosa. They specialize in home remodeling and additions with in-house design, they also do new home construction and finish carpentry.
14) Lemel Homes
7161 North Port Washington Rd Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53217
Lemel Homes has been serving the area since 1983 when founder Joe Lemel left his 50% stake in the largest production home builder in Wisconsin to establish his own business. He wanted to take a more personal approach to his projects, and 35 years continues to offer a personalized experience for his clients.
Unlike many spec home builders that only build homes on subdivisions or land they already own, Lemel specializes in building homes where their clients want to live. That said, the firm has many templates for home styles including Ranch, Traditional, Contemporary, or Craftsman that can be used as starting points for a customized home that maximizes the unique layout and opportunities associated with the client’s lot.
In addition to home building, the firm offers demolition, new room addition, and remodeling services and provides 3D renderings of the new floorplan to help envision the final space.
Lemel Homes is a National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) and Metropolitan Builders Association (MBA) certified builder. They’ve also received an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
13) Highland Builders
1751 State Road 28 Kewaskum, WI 53040
Todd Wolff and Shane Pionkowski—an architect and an engineer—brought their unique and complementary talents together to found Highland Builders in 2003.
Highland Builders specialize in many of the common styles of the area including Ranch, Craftsman, French, and Lake homes, but include many contemporary elements popular with modern families. These include features such as highly functional kitchens that open into the living space and large windows that increase natural light.
The firm has been recognized numerous times from the Milwaukee Home & Fine Living Design Awards, including the Gold Award for The Best New Custom Home under $1,000,000 in 2009. In addition to these awards, what makes the firm stand out is its glowing reviews; you would be hard-pressed to find a client that wasn’t thrilled with its work!
12) JM Remodeling & Construction, LLC
Website | 414.354.2800 | 7701 North Teutonia Ave. Milwaukee, WI 53209
JM Remodeling & Construction, LLC is a full-service design-build company that also does custom carpentry and restoration for residential, commercial, and non-profit organizations. The firm has a wide range of clients, but it specializes in servicing residential areas. In the last few years, the firm received two awards for Residential Bathrooms and two awards for Residential Exteriors from the Milwaukee Chapter of NARI and an award for Residential Kitchen at the Wisconsin Remodelers Awards (WRA) in 2016. They are also members of the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), the NARI Member, and MBA.
What makes JM Remodeling & Construction stand out from other firms is that they offer a continuing education program for their staff. This not only helps the team stay updated on the latest industry trends but also helps them develop a deeper understanding of material quality and industry practices. They share this expertise through useful tips and insightful articles on remodeling on their blog.
11) Dimension, Inc.
| 3315 N 124th ST (Suite A) Brookfield, Wisconsin 53005
While Dimension may be a small firm, the skill level of founder Dave Kallie and his team are comparable to a larger firm with greater resources. The company was founded not long ago in 2010, but they have already built a strong reputation in Milwaukee with a solid customer base of repeat clients. Silver Awards at the Wisconsin Remodelers Award (WRA) in both 2012 and 2017 reflect the company’s rise to prominence. They have also recently won the Best in Construction and a Bronze for Best overall Parade Home.
Dimension’s specialty is in creating a healthy home. The firm partnered with Source 1 Project Solutions to integrate the “Step Beyond Green to Healthy” initiative into its design process. This initiative uses safer materials that reduce volatile organic compounds and chemicals in the building process as well as implements a state-of-the-art water filtration system.
They are certified by the NARI and the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), and serve most of southeast Wisconsin and other neighboring cities. Their home remodeling/addition projects range from $50k while their new home construction projects range up to and over $1 million.
10) B&E General Contractors
6001 N Green Bay Ave Glendale, Wisconsin 53209
Award-winning design-build firm B&E General Contractors has produced some of the most impressive homes in southeast Wisconsin. Their founder, Mark A. Brick, is a distinguished builder who is only the 51st person to have received the distinction of Master Certified Remodeler from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) Nation. He has also received the designation of Universal Design Certified Professional.
The firm has been in the business for 31 years and has been winning awards since 1995. Their most recent recognitions include two gold awards from the 2011 WRA awards and two awards from the 2009 National Contractor of the Year.
Many of B&E General Contractors’ homes have elegant country style exteriors with some modern accents so they look timeless rather than outdated. Despite the grandeur of their designs, their homes maintain environmentally-friendly features that reflect their status as an Energy Star Partner.
9) Aspen Homes
325 Oakton Ave, 202 Pewaukee, WI 53072
Shelly Basso is one of the most respected builders in Wisconsin. She has been in the industry since the age of 19, and in 1993 she established Aspen Homes. Throughout the years, she has been an active member of MBA and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). Her work has been featured in Professional Builder magazine’s 40 under 40 lists in 2014 and in Modern Home Builder.
Aspen Homes claims that there are no two homes they’ve built that are alike because each of their floor plans is customized according to the location and the homeowner’s needs. Clients are able to draw inspiration from the idea center or can work with Aspen homes to develop a more customized design. Aspen Homes is also part of Focus on Energy’s New Home Program which pairs homeowners with contractors who make homes that are more efficient by 25 to 100 percent. Aspen homes are certified by the Wisconsin Certified Energy Star and Wisconsin Green Built Home Builder, and homes range from $300k to $850k.
8) Hillcrest Builders
124 South Swift St Glenbeulah, WI 53023
Hillcrest Builders is a home builder, realtor, and developer established in 2001 by Oyvind Solvang. Oyvind is a man of many talents; he has experience in construction, real estate, and finance, but he has shifted his focus to providing home construction services to Milwaukee and its surrounding areas. The firm’s construction services are divided into four divisions which are pre-priced home plans, custom homes, condominiums, and remodeling. Each project involves a designer, the firm’s president, and a sales consultant to help properly budget the floor plan.
Hillcrest Builders’ homes are reminiscent of lakeside vacation houses while maintaining the domestic feel of a functional, modern home. Their designs have been featured in several publications like Luxe Interior Magazine and were named as “Your Best Builder 2013” by Sheboygan County Best Magazine. Their homes in Karpathy Lane in Plymouth received the 2012 Leadership in Energy & Environment Design Leed Award.
7) Design Group Three
5050 N. Port Washington Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53217
Design Group Three is a design-build firm established in 1989 that combines the best of both worlds with in-house architects and builder teams. Because the architects and builders of the firm work closely together, the original vision of the architect will not be compromised. Besides new home construction, they also do remodeling, green building, and historic building conservation.
Design Group Three’s list of recognition is not trivial. They were named Milwaukee Magazine’s Readers Choice in 2018 and ranked 311 on the top 500 of Qualified Remodeler Magazine in 2015. They have also received a bronze and gold award from the 2011 WRA awards, a gold award from the 2013 WRA awards, and placed third in the NKBA Dreams to Reality Competition for the Residential Kitchen category.
6) Victory Homes of Wisconsin, Inc.
N118 W 18531 Bunsen Drive Germantown, Wisconsin 53022
In 2003, John H. Stoker and Dave Pluim decided that they needed to shake up the building industry in southeastern Wisconsin and so they purchased the assets of Victory Homes, LTD and founded Victory Homes of Wisconsin. 15 years later, they are now among the most recognized and trusted home builders of Wisconsin with eight Parade of Home awards, two Total Kohler Awards, two PPC Builder Awards from 2009 and 2012, and four MBA partner in excellence awards.
Victory Homes of Wisconsin is a spec home builder that offers data on land availability in nine different neighborhoods across Milwaukee. The firm offers a collection of popular floor plans that bring convenience to a modern lifestyle while leaving room for clients to customize according to their needs.
5) Scherrer Construction
601 Blackhawk Drive Burlington, Wisconsin 53105
An institution in Milwaukee’s building industry, Scherrer Construction was founded in 1928 by Vin and Elmer Scherrer and has been serving the community for 90 years. Today, the firm has grown to one of the biggest commercial builders in Wisconsin; their project categories extend to healthcare, industrial, educational, retail, and municipal works. As a commercial builder that works on larger-scale projects, the firm only takes on luxury homes in the residential space ranging from $500K and up.
As one of the most widely recognized elite construction companies in Wisconsin, they assure the best craftsmanship with their superior design options. Their state-of-the-art construction has garnered them the Safety Excellence Award from Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin, and a $10M project they completed with Michels Corp. received a special recognition award from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. Their homes have also been featured at the Walworth County Career Fair 2016.
If there’s anything Scherrer Construction has gained in their years of experience, it’s their undying passion to serve the community. Apart from his construction company, Scherrer also has an award-winning non-profit organization, Scherrer Cares. The charity has won the Community Service Award from the Associated General Contractors of Wisconsin for their Buddy Bench Program, an anti-bullying campaign implemented across the state.
4) Cream City Construction
3112 W. Highland Blvd. Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53208
Cream City Construction has been building homes in Milwaukee and the southeastern Wisconsin area since 1997. Its founders, Todd Badovski and Jim Grote, have 50 years of combined experience. Despite being in business for a while, the founders have chosen to keep the business personal and intimate. The firm designs country style homes with brick-lined walls and subtle European-influenced accents that give a cozy vibe to the facade.
The firm’s remodeling projects have won awards like the 2016 National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) for Best Bathroom Remodel and Historic Kitchen. Their functional and polished designs have won a basement remodeling challenge in HGTV’s show Bang For Your Buck and they have been featured in an article in the Milwaukee Journal about making a garage more stylish.
3) Bielinski Homes
1830 Meadow Lane, Suite A Pewaukee, Wisconsin 53072
Bielinski Homes is a long-standing firm founded by brothers Harry and Frank Bielinski in 1960. They have won numerous awards in their 58 years of business but their most recent awards include the 2016 MBA Achievement Award for People’s Choice Landscape Design and several awards from the 2015 and 2014 MBA Parade of Homes. They were also named Best Home Builder of Milwaukee by Shepherd Express from 2014 to 2017.
Despite all the success they have attained, Bielinski Homes prides itself on being a family business and is the only home builder in Wisconsin that has been under the same leadership for over half a century.
Bielinski Homes makes classic traditional American homes with modern interiors carefully crafted by the Bielinski Design Studio. If the customers do not have a design in mind, they are able to choose one from the in-house floor plans that fit their budget. Their price range is from $200K to $1 million and they serve a majority of the Milwaukee County.
2) Barenz Builders
N112 W16700 Mequon Road Germantown, Wisconsin 53022
Established in 1977, Barenz Builder is a family-run business founded by Ron and Cheryl Barenz. The two have always been passionate about building ever since they were young and have always cared about quality and craftsmanship. In fact, when they joined their first Parade of Homes they won 7 awards. Now, Barenz Builders is one of the most trusted luxury home builders in the area.
Their ambition to redefine the home building experience has garnered them the Grand Award in the 2001 Parade of Homes, a bronze award from the 2011 WRA Awards, and their Redux House won the 2016 AIA Wisconsin Design Award. They’ve also been featured in the January 2017 issue of M Magazine, and Summer 2016 edition of Lakeshore Living magazine. In fact, they’re one of the few builders in southeastern Wisconsin to receive the Graduate Master Designation and the Certified Green Professional from NAHB.
1) Sazama Design Build Remodel, LLC
635 S. 70th Street Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53214
From restaurant owner to Master Carpenter, Don Sazama is truly a polymath. In 1987, Don established Sazama Design Build Remodel in order to merge his passions in business and design and to expand his skills in carpentry and architecture. The firm has completed over 700 homes, has won 11 awards from the Milwaukee Home and Living Magazine, and was featured in BizTimes Milwaukee in a special article on luxury living.
Sazama Design Build Remodel builds homes that are modern and luxurious, and have collaborated with many notable firms including Ivy Interiors and the award-winning landscape designer, Gingko Leaf Studio. They also specialize in large remodels ranging from additions to bathroom and kitchen remodels.