Though it may be the smallest state in the U.S., Rhode Island boasts a rich history and culture. Because the state’s nautical geography permeates its culture, from its cuisine to its home styles, Rhode Island is known as “The Ocean State.” Rhode Island’s beautiful shorelines are dotted with colonial towns that overlook the sea. Historic Dutch Colonial, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Italianate, and Cape Cod-style homes with manicured lawns and amazing views of the ocean are a common sight. One of Rhode Island’s largest cities, Newport, even features Gilded Age mansions.
Notably, Rhode Island is known for having invented its very own architectural style: the Stone-ender. Developed in the 17th century, this style primarily highlights a house’s chimney. For example, the architectural elements of a Stone-ender home may be solely devoted to a large stone chimney. These homes are often timber-framed and two-stories high.
Building and renovating these homes throughout The Ocean State are talented general contractors, of which the top 15 are listed here. These contractors were selected and ranked based on their prestigious awards and extensive recognition.
15) JPS Construction and Design Inc.
88 Valley Rd. Middletown, RI 02842
JPS Construction and Design is a full-service general contracting firm that offers an extensive range of services, which include new home construction, home additions, whole-house renovations, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, and commercial construction. The firm’s designs often feature modern, contemporary, and eclectic styles. JPS has also worked on Cape Cod-style cottages and modern farmhouses. Led by Jamie Stebenne, a local graduate of Roger Williams University School of Architecture. The firm was established in 2012 after Stebenne decided to branch out of the construction and design business he co-owned at the time.
The firm prides itself on its ability to take on projects of all sizes. JPS’s team is composed of experienced and skilled carpenters, architects, and designers, all of whom are ready to assist in each project from start to finish.
14) Hebert Design Build
Unit R18 351 Liberty Lane W. Kingston, RI 02892
Tim Hebert discovered his love for building at an early age. As a child, Hebert would spend time in his father’s cabinet shop and later worked in the family’s lumber business. Following the closing of the lumberyard, Hebert leveraged his three decades of skills and expertise to establish Hebert Design Build.
Since then, Hebert has earned the title of Certified Graduate Remodeler and in 1993 was proud to be among the first 50 contractors in the U.S. to have earned the Graduate Master Builder distinction. Moreover, Hebert also served as a director for the Rhode Island Builders Association (RIBA) Remodeler’s Council.
Throughout the years, the firm has established a stellar reputation for its excellent custom home building, whole-house renovation, kitchen remodeling, and bathroom remodeling services. From traditional and classic shingle-style homes to contemporary and eclectic designs, the firm’s portfolio showcases an extensive range of styles.
13) Heritage Kitchen Design Center
7736 Post Road North Kingstown, RI 02852
As its name implies, Heritage Kitchen Design Center specializes in kitchen remodeling and design work. However, the firm also works on other spaces, such as living rooms, home offices, and bathrooms.
Led by Fred Schick, a former president of the RIBA with over 35 years of experience, the firm’s team is composed of experienced designers and builders that specialize in elegant colonial and traditional styles. The firm’s designers are the self-proclaimed “most creative and patient designers in Rhode Island.” One designer is designated to each client to ensure that each project is completed perfectly. The firm’s portfolio is a showcase of its signature cabinetry work, which emphasizes fine details.
12) Legacy Construction LLC
782 Main Street East Greenwich, RI 02818
Headquartered in East Greenwich, Legacy Construction provides custom home building and whole-house renovation work. The firm’s service areas extend throughout Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Legacy specializes in entire home remodels, kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, basement finishing, home additions, exterior renovations, and a lot of new custom homes construction. With over 31 years of experience, the firm’s work is distinguished by its excellent command of colonial and contemporary styles. As exhibited in the photo, most of the firm’s projects utilize neutral tones, with a particular emphasis on whites and greys. Wooden materials are used to complement the steel fixtures.
For its excellent craftsmanship, Legacy received the Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award in 2013. Legacy is also a patron of local contractors, making the firm’s team a blend of diverse carpenters and tradespeople.
11) Apex Kitchens and Baths
767 East Main Road Middletown, RI 02842
Apex Kitchens and Baths has been in the industry for more than 30 years and is responsible for some of the most exquisite kitchens and baths throughout Rhode Island, Southern Massachusetts, Eastern Connecticut, and in some areas in New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Florida. As the firm’s name suggests, Apex specializes in kitchen and bathroom work. All of its projects come with on-site measuring, hand-drawn plans, and elevations. The firm prides itself on working with only the best interior designers and for its signature cabinetry and counter tops.
Apex’s work is characterized by its generous use of neutral tones as well as colonial, traditional, and bungalow styles. The firm has graced the pages of several publications, including Southern New England Home and Newport Life Magazine, which recognized Apex with the Best of Newport County Award in 2016. Prospective clients can get a firsthand glimpse of the firm’s work through Apex’s showroom, which features dozens of displays and more than one hundred door samples.
10) Sixteen On Center
41 Eagleville Road Tiverton, RI 02878
Founded by a group of architecture students, Sixteen On Center utilizes the design-build approach and specializes in whole-house remodels, historic restorations, kitchen remodels, and bathroom remodels. Its process emphasizes the integration of intricate construction with elaborate design schemes. With a rich portfolio comprised of unique and one-of-a-kind homes, the firm has worked on contemporary spaces, quaint boathouses, exquisite historic homes, and traditional houses. Some of its work has been featured in Rhode Island Monthly and Boston Globe Magazine. The firm’s team is well-versed in transforming dated rooms into fun and modern spaces The photo featured here is a colonial-revival that had previously undergone two home additions.
Here, the team brought out the classic and original look of the space through the exposed ceiling rafters and resurfaced hardwood floors. The team then worked on opening up the living space and adding the steel beams to add a more modern touch to the room. Because the client was an artist, the firm went the extra mile and incorporated some of the owner’s antique pieces and art in the space.
9) B.R. Arnold Construction Co.
2 Tews Ct Newport, RI 02840
With over 40 years of experience, B.R. Arnold Construction specializes in custom home building, whole-house restorations, and renovations. Founded by Brian Arnold in 1973, the firm has received several awards throughout its years in the industry and has been featured in several publications, including House Beautiful, Builder Architect, and Rhode Island Monthly. The firm has taken on projects of all sizes—from small single-room remodels to entire estates. Its portfolio is a showcase of beautiful shingle-style homes, elegant Mediterranean-style restorations, and intricately designed spaces.
The photo featured here is a bathroom remodel that serves as a testament to the firm’s excellent skills in creating complex designs. Here, the team provided a colorful shell mosaic that filled the room’s walls and ceiling. The beautiful shells even line the window from above.
8) Suburban Renewal, Inc.
470 Old Baptist Rd North Kingstown RI 02852
Working in the industry for nearly three decades, Suburban Renewal has remodeled some of Rhode Island’s finest homes. Known for its excellent restoration projects and custom millwork, the firm is led by Jeremy Sherer. All projects receive the benefit of his nearly 30 years of residential construction experience. A proud master builder, Sherer has led his team into remodeling numerous stately colonial and Victorian homes. The firm’s excellent work and fine craftsmanship have won them several accolades throughout their years in the industry. These accolades include the Rhody Award for Historic Preservation, the Builders Choice Grand Merit Award, and the Providence Preservation Award.
As shown in the photo here, the firm’s projects feature neutral tones and a modern take on traditional and colonial themes. They also exhibit an excellent command of classic shingle-style themes.
7) DiStefano Brothers Construction Inc.
433 Main Street, Wakefield, RI 02879
With a team composed of experienced and talented craftsmen, DiStefano Brothers Construction is a premier design-build firm best known for its bathroom remodels, full kitchen renovations, and home additions. Its portfolio is a splendid array of coastal, traditional, and colonial themes. The firm presents itself as an expert on, but not limited to, New England style homes and modest coastal houses.
The photo featured here embodies the firm’s style through the space’s tasteful use of white and its blending of contemporary straight lines against the company’s signature colonial woodwork.
For DiStefano Brothers Construction’s excellent services and camaraderie, the Southern Rhode Island Chamber of Commerce recently named one of their principals, Peter DiStefano, as Best Employer of the Year. The firm is also a proud recipient of Remodeling Magazine’s Big50 Award.
6) RI Kitchen & Bath
139 Jefferson Boulevard Warwick, RI 02888
A multi-award-winning design-build firm, RI Kitchen and Bath specializes in residential remodeling, light commercial remodeling, and multi-trade interior renovation projects. It is led by Steve St. Onge, who is a Certified Aging-in-Place specialist and Certified Graduate Remodeler. Under his watchful eye, the firm conducted a 10,000-square foot expansion in 2008. Further, RI has established a strong clientele list throughout Rhode Island, Southeastern Massachusetts, East Bay, and the Connecticut market area. The firm is particularly skilled in crafting elegant colonial-style kitchens with a modern touch achieved through incorporating sleek metal pieces, as shown in the photo featured here.
Some of the firm’s most recent awards and recognition include a regional Chrysalis Award, several Contractor of the Year (CoTY) awards and a feature in Remodeling Magazine as one of its annual Top 550 firms in the nation.
5) Davitt Design Build
4 Frank Ave # 1, West Kingston, RI 02892
With over three decades of experience and 60 industry awards, Davitt Design Build is an award-winning pioneer in the design/build industry, having introduced the concept to southeastern New England. From charming beachfront homes to luxurious Cape Cod-style houses, the firm follows a “Client for Life” process. Balancing the creativity of their talented architectural design and construction teams with astute budgetary oversight, they bring elegant design, quality craftsmanship, and seamless project management to every project.
The firm’s work has graced the pages of several renowned publications, including Fine Homebuilding, New England Home, and Coastal Living. The firm is also the recipient of various CoTY Awards and Chrysalis Awards—most notably for its historical restoration work. In 2015, Davitt was the proud winner of the CoTY Award for Best Historical Renovation and Best Entire House Remodel on a national level.
4) Baud Builders, Inc.
P.O. Box 5708 Wakefield, RI 02880
Originally known as Gunnar Carlson Construction of Wakefield, Rhode Island, Baud Builders was established in 1949. A family business now on its third generation of builders, the firm is currently led by David Baud. He learned the trade of the craft through his father and grandfather, which led him to finally join the business in 1972 in between summer vacations from school. He would eventually buy the firm in 1986 and rename it David C. Baud Builders, Inc. before ultimately deciding to call it Baud Builders ten years later. The firm primarily specializes in new home construction, whole-house remodeling, and historic renovations. It extends its services throughout Rhode Island but primarily concentrates on the South County area.
David is a proud member of the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) prestigious Builder 20 Club, which is composed of 20 handpicked home builders throughout the nation. David served as the club’s president in 2004.
3) Modern Yankee Builders
3433 Diamond Hill Road Cumberland, RI 02864
Founded in 2000, Modern Yankee Builders is an award-winning design-build firm that provides its services throughout Rhode Island, and on occasion, Massachusetts. With a specialization in Mediterranean, colonial, and contemporary styles, the firm has had the honor of receiving numerous industry awards. Most notably, it has been a recipient of a national Janus Award for Best Outdoor Living, Best Bathroom Remodel, and its restoration work on a 225-year-old bedroom. The firm has also earned several Master Design Awards and Chrysalis Awards for its excellent craftsmanship, in addition to having been featured in Qualified Remodeler and Professional Remodeler. It is also proud to be one of the five Certified Graduate Remodelers in the Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts areas.
As shown in the photo here, Modern Yankee’s projects often showcase its exquisite marble countertop work. There is also a generous use of wood accents coupled with metal finishes.
2) Sweenor Builders, Inc.
12 High Street, Wakefield, RI 02879
Sweenor Builders’ principal, Jeff Sweenor, began carefully assembling his team of talented craftsmen in 1989. Since then, he and his team have earned an excellent reputation for their superior work. With an emphasis on building and renovating custom-designed luxury homes, the firm ’s projects are concentrated in southern coastal Rhode Island. Many involve phased building cycles where Sweenor creates legacy homes and family compounds by the sea. Having been in the industry for nearly three decades, the company has grown by evolving to meet the needs of its clients. Its’ portfolio showcases a full range of in-house design/build and interior design services, as well as collaborations with southern New England’s leading architects. Sweenor also offers an expansive in-house custom millwork and cabinetry shop to help bring each client’s vision to life.
For its craftsmanship and meticulous eye for design, the firm has caught the attention of several award-giving bodies and publications. In 2015, the firm received a Rhody Award from Preserve Rhode Island and the Rhode Island Historical Preservation & Heritage Commission for its restoration of a local landmark nearly 144 years old. Sweenor also earned a 2017 Specialty Room and 2018 One-of-a-Kind Custom Home Award from the NAHB’s Best in American Living Awards. Both winning projects, along with the firm’s recent net-zero renovation, were featured on This Old House TV.
1) Kirby Perkins Construction
210 Old Airport Road Middletown, RI 02842
With over 30 years of experience and more than 500 completed projects, Kirby Perkins is an award-winning firm that extends its services throughout the Southern New England area. Its founder, Jerry Kirby, first got his glimpse into the home building industry after working on restoring historic houses in Newport during the summer. This would come in handy after his establishment of the firm with the arrival of the firm’s first major project: a $38M restoration of Captain Samuel Sears’ historic waterfront home. Since then, the company has taken on numerous notable restoration projects and has made a name for itself for its intricate designs.
The firm also prides itself on its capacity to take on large projects. Its portfolio shows a range of estates, ranches, mansions, and boathouses. To ensure the unique quality of each of its projects, Kirby Perkins boasts of a 10,000-square foot mill shop, where all of its designers and carpenters work on its exquisite architectural woodwork.
For its work on lavish French estates, Tuscan mansions, and colonial and Cape Cod manors, Kirby Perkins has received several awards, including the Doris Duke Historic Preservation Award. It has also been featured in various publications, including Boston Design and Fine Homebuilding Magazine.
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