Archive for the ‘2015 Spring Newsletter’ Category

by Jessica Steely & Jeff Wade

New construction and remodeling can be a challenge, for the home and building owneJessicars, as well as for the contractors. All sorts of surprises occur that conspire to delay and confound the best of intentions. Remember in life, relationships and construction – if you find something that works, stick with it. This has been the case for the partnership between Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. and Green Goods for many years.

The mission and motivation of both businesses have remained aligned for over 10 years. It was at that time, they co-founded the local nJeff Wade-2013onprofit organization, SLO Green Build. These teams collaborate to provide    eco-friendly buildings through the use of sustainably harvested and constructed materials using green construction techniques.

The practice of Green construction includes energy efficiency, conser01Green Partnershipvation of resources and healthy indoor air quality. Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. and Green Goods strive to find a balance of cost, comfort and conscience in every element of a project. This has resulted in satisfied customers across the Central Coast.

Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. and Green Goods source the most eco-friendly 03Green Partnershipproducts including, FSC lumber, rapidly renewable cork flooring, soy-based glues in cabinets and plywood. Reclaimed wood has also played a role, reusing the high quality materials initially installed many years ago. With that same idea, they bring the demo materials to ReStore for a second life.

Combined, Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. and Green Goods projects have spanned many construction styles. Building types include: straw bale, passive solar, farmhouse, craftsman and contemporary.

A recent project in Arroyo Grande seamlessly incorporated multiple styles. Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. was se02Green Partnershiplected as the general contractor and Green Goods provided the cabinets, vanities, closets and built-ins. Semmes customizes every project to insure a quality result to the budget and character desired by their clients. Green Goods is often involved. In this case, the client selected Green Goods, and Semmes could not have been happier. This was a succinctly custom job and required the highest quality of fit and finish.

The scope of the casework on this project was large, with de04Green Partnershipsign evolving as construction occurred. Good communication between the on-site Semmes and Green Goods teams resulted in the best possible room sequencing and coordination with the other subcontractors.

Consider using a Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. | Green Goods partnership for your next project.

Contact Jessica at Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc., 805-466-6737 or Jeff at Green Goods 805-300-2805

NCI logo





Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. is proud to be a sponsor of the


Annual NCI Golf Tournament Fundraiser
for Achievement House, Inc.


Saturday, April 25, 2015 | Beginning at 9am


Laguna Lake Golf Course
11175 Los Osos Valley Road, San Luis Obispo


Atas Lake rainbowby Tom Moore

Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. is based inland on the Central Coast in Atascadero California. Some of Atascadero’s best Tom Mooreknown geographical attributes are that it is exactly half-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is close to Morro Bay and is the gateway to the Paso Robles wine region.

Atas. Lake 1962

Atascadero Lake 1962

A little known fact about Atascadero, it sometimes has a very nice little lake. The Atascadero Lake began as a swampy region in the early twentieth century. A local visionary named E.G. Lewis figured out how he could sell plenty of real estate. So, he built a dam, let the lake fill with rain water, took photographs, and marketed them to a nation that wished to share his version of the American Dream.

When it has water in it, Atascadero Lake is a serene place with its beautiful park and walking trails. Over time the Army Corps of Engineers devised a way to fill the lake with water from the adjacent Atascadero Creek (meaning “place of much water” or “mud-hole,” depending on who you ask). The creek is seasonal, but runs pretty consistently. In the old days locals used to water-ski, fish and swim there. But, over time it became polluted. This was mostly blamed on the “outflow” of local animal species, including dogs and birds. This recent California drought has offered a chance for the lake to be dredged (as it was in the early 1960’s), with bulldozers and dump trucks.

Atascadero Lake is now ready to return to its former glory. Soon it will be the backdrop for the new bandstand, our lovely park, the Veteran’s Memorial, and the Charles Paddock Zoo. The Lake will be the centerpiece for the perimeter walkway, hosting parents strolling babies and children, dog walkers, joggers, cyclists, lovers and a small contingent of our homeless people.

All it needs is water.

We in the West all need water, I’m sure this is not nAtas Lake currentews to anyone. A local group, The Friends of Atascadero Lake has drilled a well to assist in recharging water lost through evaporation. That water will be piped into the lake making up for evaporation lost during the summer.

Wait a minute! Some folks ask, “Can’t that water be used for something more helpful than filling a recreational facility?” The answer is, “Probably not.” Much of the water that flows into Atascadero Lake actually cycles back into our local aquifer. A fast-moving underground stream originating from the Sierras is this water’s source. After it passes through Atascadero, the next place this stream surfaces is under the Pacific Ocean outside of Monterey, California.

Personally, in my 20 years here, I’ve seen the lake water change colors from clear to black, and then from brown to green to orange. I hope that the efforts of the Friends of Atascadero Lake will help keep it an important part of the community for future generations.

Note: The opinions stated here are strictly my own and not necessarily the opinion of Semmes and Co. Builders, Inc.

(And, well the facts stated here might also not be facts.)

Atas Lake clouds

by Margie Schuler

There’s no doubt that Keurig coffee units are popular. Almost everyone has one: from my office to my doctor’s office to my frieMargie (sm)nds’ houses. I have a friend that doesn’t drink coffee but she has one, too! A 2013 survey by the National Coffee Association said 1 in 8 American households have a single serving coffee brewer. So, we know Americans love coffee and convenience, that’s not new, but what about the K-Cups?

At the market last night, I noticed one-third of the coffee aisle devoted to K-Cup selections, an almost ovek-cups1_custom-78c58bb3accf7de970bc775fc9f9a5dd75b83aba-s600-c85rwhelming amount of choices. A quick Google search of K- cup yields 23,400,000 results, from the Keurig website to regular priced and discount retailers. Now I admit, my curiosity was piqued by reading an NPR article and watching a video entitled “Kill the K-Cup,” a mock-horror film with a Godzilla-like creature made from K-Cups, with planes shooting K-Cups like bullets. It wa01Kcups quite hilarious but made me seriously think about what happens to K-Cups, which was exactly the intent of Mike Hatchey, CEO of the company that produced “Kill the K-Cup”. According to Hatchey, 60 billion K-Cups have gone in02Kcupto landfills thus far, and given the Keurig’s popularity, this number will only rise. K-Cups are #7 composite plastic and aren’t recyclable in most areas. Another shocking statistic is 8.3 billion K-Cups were produced in 2013, that’s enough to circle the world 10.5 times!

Now I’m not judging your morning coffee habit, or insisting that you buy a reusable filter that fits into your Keurig (we have one at the office and it’s great!). I only want to pique your curiosity, and if you’re interested, you can sign a petition to urge Keurig to move up their deadline to make all K-Cups recyclable. Now go back to enjoying your brew.


Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc. is featured on the innovative, artisan kitchen and bath website, Native Trails.


“… Native Trails leads the industry in artisan crafted, sustainable products for kitchen and bath design; Native Trails copper sinks, copper tubs, and bathroom vanities are sold in over 1,300 showrooms throughout the United States, Canada, and beyond.”



Read Native Trails interview with Jessica Steely, president of Semmes & Co. Builders, Inc.

Screen shot 2015-04-09 at 11.20.05 AM

by Paul Rose

While concrete has become the go-to resource for most all structural mass paul-roseprojects, Rammed-earth provides many more attributes that are aesthetic, thermal and structural. We use Rammed-earth methods in several ways:



Pneumatically Impacted Stabilized Earth (PISE), which is similar to a “shot-cretOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAe” application on a swimming pool. Stabilized earth is applied under great force to a one-sided formwork and around the re-enforcing steel. This leaves a smooth finish on the form side, with a course granular texture on the outside.


Conventional Rammed-earth, is installed between two forms and hydraulically impacted with tam01Earthen Prodping machines. This style leaves a finish that is smooth on both sides with a layered pattern similar to sedimentary stone. Both of these styles achieve a compressive strength of over 600 pounds per square inch.


Watershed block is a formed block similar to the common concrete block, but has a very 02Earthen Prodlow carbon footprint, and a dramatic visual appeal. These blocks come in a number of different colors and textures, fitting into the conventional structural mindset of many engineers. Watershed block requires less labor and specific knowledge for correct installation than PISE or conventional rammed-earth.


Much research has been made into where these materials originated and their future use.  Concrete has one of the largest carbon footprints in the construction industry, and is not a justifiable solution as a long-term product.

This article about the Egyptians’ method for building the pyramids is recommended for a new perspective on this old material.

As the art and form of building has changed over the years, we at Semmes and Company Builders, Inc. would like to help you build a lasting project for today and tomorrow.