Archive for the ‘Conventional Framing’ Category

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!

This passive solar home in Atascadero, originally built by Semmes in the late 1980’s, is being reinvented as a hub of family entertainment with the addition of a large great room. Stay tuned for more photos as this remodel and addition nears completion.


This creative master piece is nearly all dried-in and ready for mechanical and electrical. It is really taking shape with two new bedrooms, a bathroom, a sitting room and a large family room. There are also three lovely decks that boast fresh ocean views. Wait until you see the finishes!!

EF= Energy Factor.The method a water heaters energy efficiency is compared; measuring the amount of hot water produced per unit of fuel consumed. The higher the EF, the more efficient the water heater. Gas water heaters have EF that ranges from .5-.7; Electric models range from .75 to .95.

For this new modern home, Semmes & Co has specified an Accelera 300 ELECTRIC HEAT PUMP WATER HEATER with an EF of 2.5! Heat pumps extract the heat out of the surrounding ambient air.  Check out the Stiebel Eltron Accelera 300 as #1 in efficiency on TopTenUSA website, ranking the nations most efficient equipment.

Of course we are excited to discuss the implementation of this technology, so give us a call with questions!

Accelera 300 cutaway drawing

Heat Pump Technology




Though this custom home is stick-built (as opposed to straw bale or rammed earth) it is still considered a green home because it has been engineered with advanced framing in mind. Simple things like increasing stud spacing, three stud corners, properly sized headers and more are combined to reduce the overall amount of resources used to construct this contemporary craftsman style home.

Semmes & Co constructed this home back in 1987.  The principles of passive solar orientation, high levels of insulation, day-lighting,  proper ventilation and efficient equipment kept the original owners comfortable for nearly 25 years! However, they decided to downsize and relocate. When the new owners purchased this home in January of this year, they called Semmes & Co to update the finishes and expand the home a little to fit their needs…

Here are a few of the before shots to give context.  Keep posted to watch the transformation (and updating) of this original Semmes & Co creation!

Semmes & Company, taking advantage of the clear skies, began excavating for this 1,400 square foot addition in Arroyo Grande. The home will be a place for family to continue gathering generations from now and Semmes is proud to help bring this vision to life. Watch for updates as progress continues.


This Guest House has been designed and built with extreme chemical sensitivity in mind. The owners chose to have their cabinets build from bamboo- a rapidly renewable, formaldehyde free product. Green Goods constructed these cabinets and had them finished with a durable finish that is free of off-gassing toxins.

Bamboo Cabinets from Green Goods

Bamboo Cabinets from Green Goods