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This modern farmhouse in Arroyo Grande, recently completed by Semmes & Co. Builders, made a splash when Houzz online magazine published a featured article on it and Gast Architects. Read the article here and visit our newly updated profile on Houzz.

Entertainer's 5The Hansen Home, a custom straw bale residence in Atascadero which was designed by Jennifer Rennick and built by Semmes & Co Builders, was recently highlighted in a special feature by The Tribune. Read the full article HERE, and view the complete portfolio HERE.

4 Lockwood Block Detail

The residence, designed by Aidlin-Darling Design,  has been awarded a Design of Excellence in the 2013 Design Awards Program for its exemplary use of concrete masonry.  The jury felt the project was a “wonderful use of the block and the jointing, not hiding the material but using its natural module and features to its fullest, both inside and outside.” The next issue of Concrete Masonry Designs will showcase the award-winning projects. Vew the complete portfolio HERE.

CASBAThe California Straw Builders Association will be hosting its next event, the Spring 2014 Conference, here on the Central Coast. The weekend long event will be hosted at Camp Ocean Pines in Cambria, CA and include speakers and workshops related to the straw building industry. For more information, or to register, visit the EVENT PAGE.

GreenBuilder MagSemmes & Co Builders is proud to announce that the beautiful straw bale home designed by Paul Poirier + Associates and built for Dreamtime Farms in 2012 was recently awarded Grand Overall Winner, Green Home fo the Year by Green Builder Magazine Green Home. For more on this project, visit the portolfio at, Dreamtime Farms, and read the complete article here: Green Building Mag, Subtle Masterpiece

Esalen Institute

Semmes & Co. Builders is pleased to announce our position on the project development team for upcoming improvements at the famous Big Sur Esalen Institute. Arkin-Tilt Press Release.

Esalen, established in 1962, has been a world-wide retreat center and educational institute for those looking to pioneer changes in oneself and society. “Perched on 27 acres of Big Sur coastline where the mountains meet the sea, its magical beauty makes it feel a little like the Garden of Eden. Esalen hosts 20,000 visitors a year who come for a weekend or a week or a month or longer to learn, to grow, to explore, to heal, or to carve the near edge of the future, the cutting edge of humanity.”

Arkin Tilt

Semmes & Co. Builders  will be contracting through Arkin-Tilt Architects out of Berkeley California  to consult on costs, schedule, sustainability and build-ability throughout the design process, from early programming to construction documents. Congratulations Esalen! We look forward to your upcoming revitalization.

Posted by on July 19th, 2013 in Uncategorized Comments Disabled
Rendering Before Construction

Rendering Before Construction

Actual Photo of Completed Home

Actual Photo of Completed Home


We recently added this beautiful project to our Remodel Portfolio.  Visit the Portfolio Page to learn more about this project and to see additional photos.

Architects, designers and clients often ask for details that test our imagination and problem solving skills; many times it’s as if there’s a hidden riddle. For this set of freeform, organic stairs, the owner asked for mahogany treads to match the finish carpentry through the existing home. Our first thought was to run the wood straight and trim the front edges to fit the curves. After some discussion and sketching, we decided that running the mahogany length wise and carving them to follow the curve would offer a finer, more custom look.

Our first step was to design a pattern; we cut rosin paper to fit the steps and gauged off the face, which Nick is doing in the first picture. To achieve the desired width in three equal depth sections we had to freehand the areas where the steps widened, and used semi-random spacing. Next, we matched each puzzle piece up to hardwood in the shop, cut to pattern and labeled diligently. While them working this out, we also had to develop other details like how to face each tread and how to finish to the slate risers. After all of the milling has been done and the drywall complete, we will bring the parts back to the job install. If I wanted to, I could probably bring my five year old grandson with me and have him help with the installation of the numbered puzzle pieces. We’ll have to laminate strips of hardwood to the face to get a nice flowing curve and then sand and finish it.  Check back soon for the results!

Iron work has been underway for some time at the Modern Farmhouse project in Arroyo Grande. Insulation will begin soon, as will siding. This place is really looking great!