When you think of Orlando, you probably think Disney and Universal Studios, and a million other theme parks, and all of the stereotypes of sticky-sweet American family vacations.
Even if a lot of American families do like traveling down to Florida to have a good time, Orlando is a lot more than a warm climate and endless lines for iconic rides. Downtown Orlando is also a place where people can discover eye-popping skyscrapers, sports centers, theaters, art galleries, shopping centers, and parks. There are charming old homes, built in a range of styles, including Victorian, Colonial Revival, and Greek Revival. If you’re a fan of the Beat poets, and On the Road, check out the Jack Kerouac House: in 2013 the literary bad boy’s home was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. In 1998, it was remodeled to look like the Frame Vernacular house that Kerouac knew in his time.
Orlando is, truly, “The City Beautiful.”
The firms on this list work hard to transform old houses into something that fits perfectly into the modern century, while still recalling the glamour of old Florida. And perhaps because it’s Florida, a lot of these contractors have LEED or Green building certifications in addition to being members of prominent, more traditional building associations. Those older homes may have been beautiful, but today they can be beautiful and energy efficient.
13) Kitchen Solvers of Orlando
2446 Sand Lake Rd., Orlando, FL 32809
Living up to their name, Kitchen Solvers has grown to be one of the most trusted contractors in the kitchen remodeling industry. Since 1982, they have done more than 45,000 kitchen remodels Nationwide. Here in Orlando, Jorge and Debbie Goncalves, owners of Kitchen Solvers of Orlando, were probably able to complete so many remodels thanks to their 10 prior years of experience in drafting and designing, as well as customer service. With their expertise, the firm is able to do custom cabinets, refacing solutions, countertops, and backsplashes.
Along with kitchen remodeling, they also do bath remodeling. Though the firm doesn’t have many awards or affiliations, many of their clients have given their work positive feedback, some highlighting that the firm’s experience helped them spot small details that affected the room’s overall function. One notable advantage the firm has, especially considering Florida’s formidable cultural mix, is linguistic: they’re fluent in English, French, and Portuguese, and can also speak Spanish.
12) Zelmar Kitchen Designs
6735 Conroy Windermere Rd. Ste. 111 Orlando, FL 32835
Thriving on referrals and recommendations, Zelmar Kitchen Designs has more than two decades of experience that includes both American and European design expertise.
Some of their projects have won Waypoint Living Spaces’ National Design contest; the nationwide contest featured spaces from kitchens, bathrooms, and other rooms. In 2014, the firm gained first place for Best Bath and Best Kitchen. Both the bathroom and kitchen are elegant and fabulous remodels but, as far as I am concerned, the bathroom is the most notable. Carrying a modern design and a monochromatic theme that highlights traces of black and white marble, it has a walk-in shower and a bathtub propped underneath a rectangular stained glass window. The overall effect of that window leads natural light to play with the darker colors, providing a satisfying, pleasing balance.
The firm has many baths and kitchen remodels in Orlando, Windermere, and Winter Park, and is a member of the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA). Founded in 2006, Zelmar Kitchen Designs is owned by head designer and multiple award-winning designers, Zeljko Markovic. He was a previous designer at Hoffmeister (a top German design company) and one of the top 10 designers at Lowe’s: he earned the company over $1 million per year. With such a highly experienced and successful principal, it’s not surprising that they are one of the most trusted firms when it comes to kitchen and bathroom remodels.
11) Details Construction Group
390 N. Orange Ave., Suite 2300, Orlando, Florida 32801
Details Construction Group works on fine remodels and new home builds throughout Central Florida. Here, many of their clients have highlighted the members’ streamlined and organized building process. Putting their 20 years of experience to good use, Details Construction Group has a coordinated team that works together to define, then meet the logistical requirements for each; they excel at the details
The firm does new home construction, renovations, home additions, and outdoor landscaping, but most of their projects are renovations. One of their most notable works is a kitchen remodeling project in Winter Springs. A room that leans towards light colors, its details are further accented by the natural light that streams into the room.
10) The Homestyles Group
141 Parliament Loop, Lake Mary, FL 32746
The Homestyles Group is a full-service design and remodeling firm. They specialize in custom cabinetry, complete kitchen, and bathroom remodels, home additions, and complete home renovations. Founded by Michael Horbal in 1999, the firm is known to have access to eight lines of cabinetry which are showcased in their showroom, and in their own custom shop.
They are affiliated with the National Kitchen Bath Association (NKBA), and the Florida Builders Association. The firm is also an active participant in the community: they support foundations like Boys Town, Habitat for Humanity, Hospice of the Comforter, Meals on Wheels, Leadership Seminole, and Extreme Makeover Home Edition.
9) Fortis Enterprises
933 Lewis Drive, Suite A, Winter Park, FL 32789
Fortis Enterprises is a premier custom home builder serving Central Florida’s most discerning and trendy communities, including Orlando, Winter Park, Delaney Park, and Windermere. Most of their clientele are repeat customers, but more people might be considering them after their Merit Award in the 2018 Parade of Homes. Called Atlantic Oaks, it is a contemporary house that plays with the cool ambiance of modern lights, and interior designs that lean towards silvers and blues.
In addition to that award-winning house, they also retain two LEED AP managers who keep the firm up-to-date on sustainable construction practices. For 35 years, the firm has completed numerous complex and detailed projects with founder John Mazzone.
8) Alair Homes
2207 E Michigan Street, Orlando, FL 32806
Though locally owned and operated in Orlando, they also have branches in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Ohio, among others. With their nationally respected name, Alair is able to secure discounts from in-demand material warehouses and subcontractors. Looking through their projects, they have a number of notable projects, but one of the best is likely a residence called The Plaza.
A mid-century modern home, it’s a 1900 square foot house that was remodeled to make a wide-open floor plan that highlights the home’s warm ambiance, which was really a good decision. The design supports the metallic epoxy flooring that offers a pleasant dream-like effect. Alair homes are one of the most respected builders in Orlando. Founded by Daniel Kennerly, this firm is best known for their ‘Client Control’ software which gives homeowners authority over the project from start to finish. With Client Control, customers can virtually watch their projects 24/7, validate progress reports, and authorize costs as they occur.
7) Brentwood Construction and Remodeling
463 Mangrove Ct., Lake Mary, FL 32746
Brentwood Construction and Remodeling is a full-service design/build contractor established by Eric Stier in 2009. Servicing the communities Orlando, Windermere, and Lake Mary (among others), the firm does home renovations, custom home additions, and new custom homes that highlight their green building construction. Other than being a certified green builder, the firm is also energy star certified, a member of the Metro Orlando Home Builder’s Association, the Florida Builder’s Association, the National Association of Home Builders, and the Florida Green Builder’s Coalition.
Recognized by the Orlando Business Journal as Central Florida’s largest custom home builder, the firm focuses on craftsmanship and creativity that gets better every time they build a new house: they keep evolving during and after every project. The result is predictable: happy customers that return when it’s time for a new project.
6) KBF Design Gallery
696 E Altamonte Dr #1070, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
Established in 2003 by Keith Vellequette as a family-run business, KBF Design Gallery has been providing the Greater Orlando area custom bathroom and kitchen remodeling design services for over 28 years. Qualified Remodeler has consistently identified them as one of the Top 500 remodeling firms in the nation.
Given this auspicious title–which has been the leading benchmark for growth and success among remodeling firms since 1978–it’s no surprise they have been featured in a few magazines. The Orlando Sentinel, the Orlando Family Magazine, and the Florida Home Magazine have all featured their work. The latter profiled one of their most prominent projects: a kitchen remodel for Paul and Nancy Livieri of Windermere. In this room, functionality was highlighted with the construction of numerous cabinets that maximized space, and an island–designed with a Barricatto Exotic Granite countertop and complemented by Black Galaxy Granite–was installed.
5) Hardwick General Contracting
253 N. Orlando Ave, Suite 301, Maitland, FL 32751
Here are just a few of Hardwick General Contracting’s notable awards: Project of the year, Builder of the year, Remodeler of the Year, and a first place award in the Parade of Homes’ remodeling category. They also won the Aurora Award in 2010 for their work on Dolce Vita Verde and Casa de las Flores, in Winter Park. In 2011, they were featured in the Master Custom Builder Council Magazine. The list is long.
Serving Orlando, Belle Isle, and Conway, this firm is a nationally recognized luxury custom home and renovation company. Though they have many great projects, their best one could be their award-winning Lakefront Formal Farmhouse. Built in the early 1990s, this residence is inspired by farmhouse design. They used authentic materials, like the reclaimed wood floors that spread out through the home. The build also included wainscoting in formal living areas, shiplap walls, and tongue and groove ceiling accents.
Greg Hardwick brought the company into existence in 2004. Greg has 19 years of experience working for multi-million dollar building industries. He also had various leadership roles as a project engineer and construction manager, and thus it’s no surprise that the firm is able to make such well-crafted homes that repeatedly bring customers back for more.
4) Charles Clayton Construction
2250 Lee Road, Suite 120, Winter Park, FL 32789
Specializing in large and small new construction, whole home remodels, and historic preservation, Charles Clayton Construction is a nationally recognized custom home builder that was featured in Builder + Architect Magazine. Possessing impressive building capabilities, they are members of the Home Builders Association, and they are a certified Green Building Professional.
They have also won countless awards. In 2007, they were able to bag three more Aurora Awards for home remodels all priced over $2,000,000. In that same year, the firm won first place in the Spring Parade of Homes for a remodel on a private residence. In 2008, they took the spotlight in the Parade of Homes, winning two first-place awards. They also were recognized with the grand award from the Parade of Home’s remodel showcase. That project included a remodeled master bedroom with a new custom bed, a new second-floor guest suite, a cypress wood conservatory, and additional outdoor porches complete with summer kitchen.
One of their best builds is the Via Giovannetti in Winter Park. Built in a classic design with a brick facade–which was white-washed to age the house–the idea was to create a 100-year-old home that could mix with the old and established neighborhood and still harmonize with the 1.76-acre lakefront that boasts the most spectacular water views in the area.
Though the firm was founded in 1994, the firm has more than 100 years worth of experience standing behind it thanks to its founder Charlie Clayton who came from a long line of builders.
3) Farina and Sons
3432 Edgewater Drive, Orlando, FL 32804
Since 1950 Farina and Sons have been flourishing as Central Florida’s premier residential contractor and remodeling specialist. As a testament to their expertise, they’ve won countless awards. They recently won first and grand for the new traditional home and an Aurora award, they were also voted best builder in Sentinel Readers poll 2018, and also selected to build remodel showcase home for NAHB IBS The New American Remodel. Since 2000, they’ve been featured in countless magazines: the Orlando Sentinel, Southern Living, Orlando Magazine, Florida Home Buyer, and Orlando Business Journal. Other than the magazine recognition, they were also featured in WKMG’s Ready, Set, Renovate where the Isleworth Mansion in Orlando received the spotlight.
Though they have many projects worth mentioning, one of their projects–the Lake Butler Residence Windermere–is a 1930’s lakefront home that was renovated to reflect its original historic quality while creating a fresh modern/traditional coastal style. Featured in the Orlando Business Journal, this gorgeous home won a first place award in the 2015 Parade of Homes Remodelers’ Showcase.
2) E2 Homes
301 Circle Drive, Maitland, FL 32751
Ever since 2005 E2 homes have been doing Custom Homes, Renovations, Green building, and Concierge Services in the Orlando and Winter Park areas. Known as a company that crafts modern homes that fit perfectly within Winter Park, the company has won numerous awards since 2009. Two of their most recent awards are the 2018 LEED-H Project of the Year, and a 2017 LEED v4 Certification for the Aaron Residence, a fully renovated modern home in the Lake Maitland Owl Preserve Subdivision. In addition to their many awards, they’ve also been featured in countless magazines such as the Winter Park Maitland Observer, Orlando Sentinel, and the Orlando Business Journal. In the Orlando Business Journal’s 2016 issue, they were included on Central Florida’s Top Home Remodeler’s list.
The firm typically partners with these great design companies: Michael Wenrich Architects, Green Apple Architecture, and CRT Studio.
1) PSG Construction
803 South Orlando Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789
Dedicated to building, PSG Construction has been serving Central Florida since 1987 when founder Paul Gidus formed the company with his brother Stephen. As one of the top 50 remodelers in the country–according to Remodeling Magazine)–the firm has been recognized in countless publications: Orlando Magazine (2003, 2004, 2006, and 2007), Southern Living (2002, 2003, 2004, and 2006), and Remodeling Magazine (1998, 2002, and 2003). They also don’t fall short on awards. Since their first in 1996, they’ve proven they can win: from the Parade of Homes to the Aurora Awards to the most recent 2018 Remodeler of the Year in the State of Florida.
In 2015, the firm won the Parade of Homes’ Grand Award for one of their most notable works: an astounding library addition in Baldwin Park that makes reading even more relaxing. Boasting woodwork of solid maple, this 1,100 square foot, the two-story library had 25 windows. Some of those windows offer a view of the town below while you read in front of the Isokern fireplace that is the centerpiece of the sitting area.
The library is one of the most decadent of their countless breath-taking renovations.