Archive for the ‘Remodels’ Category

by Margie Schuler

Semmes hosted a local interior design group at a recently completed home remodel project and the event was enjoyed by all.

It’s not often a client is gracious enough to open up their home to 30 local designers and their design and build teams but when this happens we are honored at the opportunity to show off our work. This particular home remodel project took just over one year to complete and encompassed remodeling the main house with a garage addition, conversion of original garage wing into home gym with sauna and bath and a media room, remodeling a horse barn into a guest house with garage and wine cellar, converting the horse dressage arena to an orchard with raised planter beds and storage, and extensive landscaping. The transformation of a “vanilla” house into a spectacular custom home was remarkable. Our clients now have a home they are proud of; a home that fits their personality, their lifestyle as new retirees and showcases their various collections. Semmes and Co. Builders, Inc. appreciated working with the Architectural firm Studio 2-G and Jeffrey Gordon Smith Landscape Architecture on this impressive project.

New courtyard between new garage and remodeled garage wings

Dressage arena converted to orchard and garden

Converted barn guest room and wine cellar



Barn exterior after


House exterior before


House exterior after


Back of house


Semmes Holiday pic 2015

May you and your loved ones have a peaceful, loving holiday season.
We look forward to seeing you happy and healthy in 2016 !

We here at Semmes are a pretty happy group. And we have some new guys to add to our hard working gang.

Steve Bishop pic 2015First we want to welcome Steven Bishop. After a hiatus, he’s back with Semmes and working hard as a job manager these days. You’ll see Steven taking care of all the details on his jobs. We’re happy to have him back with us.


Chris WalterNext, in our line-up is Chris Walter. Chris or “Walter” as the guys call him, joined the Semmes team in September. He’s already been here three months. Whoa – time flies when you’re a hard-working job manager!


Al Martini

Just recently we added our newest:  Albert (Al) Martini. Al comes to us with a background in fine finish woodwork (See some of his artistic side here.)


To all our newest members – we welcome you. We’re so happy you chose to be part of the Semmes Team.

by Tom MooreTom

During a recent remodel in San Luis Obispo, we made many trips to the Habitat for Humanity ReStore.

What a cool place. You can’t just go there and drop off items without going in and seeing what’s new. Their inventory is in a continual motion, just like the wonderful people that work there. On one trip I spotted some brand new windows that would work perfectly for a small project we were working on. But by the time I had the owner’s approval and made it back to the store they were almost all gone. Fortunately for us,  they still had two windows we needed for the project.

If you’re looking for the obscure, obsolete or overboard this is the best place to start!


ReStore – San Luis Obispo

You need some gently used tools? They got ‘em. Want plumbing fixtures, a kitchen sink, and the tile? They those, too.  After many trips I needed some subway tile to match some existing tile. I fumbled through about 300 tiles to find 5 that matched what I had. You would be amazed how many variances of white subway tile there are. At the ReStore, people just go in, buy an armload, take them home and stick them on the wall. They don’t match? Honey Badger don’t care, sheik nouveau. I love that place!
Did I mention this is Habitat for Humanity? The money spent at the ReStore goes to support funneling money and products into the worthy cause of supplying housing for under-privileged people all over the country and the world.

I suggest a trip to ReStore next time you’re going on a run to the hardware store.

You may save some money while doing someone some good. Who knows, you may even find something that you didn’t even know you need and discover that you can’t live without.

ReStore South:

ReStore North:

Margie (sm)   by Margie Schuler

In my previous career and now with Semmes, I have been fortunate enough to work with many delightful clients on some impressive projects. I believe design is subjective. What is “right” is what the client likes and wants. I have gotten the opportunity to work on innumerable designs. I get to live vicariously through my clients because being an effective part of any project requires immersing yourself into the client’s project, its design elements and overall style. Therefore my work allows me to explore other styles that I might not typically gravitate towards myself. (It also makes my personal projects harder, but that’s another story.)

After all these years projects can blur together, but certain ones stand out. The reasons projects stand out is as unique as the project itself. Semmes just wrapped up a unique job, which I knew would be outstanding from the beginning. This was a smaller job as far as Semmes work typically goes. There was a high level of attention to detail because these clients were asking us to remodel a newly purchased home (with original construction by Semmes), which did not fit their style at all.

In this article I’m focusing on the Master Bath. The bones of the Master Bath were good, it was of sufficient size and included all the necessary elements but nothing about these existing elements fit the new homeowner’s style. After a lot of hard work by everyone involved, our client now has a showcase Master Bath that suits their design style. I think you’ll agree their new Master Bath is stunning!

Stunning Master Bath2

The Master Bath now has ample storage in the traditional style vanity, double mirrors with medicine cabinets and side storage tower. The Oil Rubbed Bronze plumbing and light fixtures compliment the dark smoky quartz found in the Persa granite.

Stunning Master Bath2

Slab granite walls showcase the stunning natural variation and flow of the Persa granite. The shower floor is also Persa granite that has been cut into tiles and given a leather finish for additional texture when showering. Notice the detail given at seams and wall panels, the granite fabricator did an excellent job of matching the pattern and veining.



Nichter Cellar 2The beautiful Nichter Wine Cellar, built by Semmes & Co Builders, Inc. was featured in an article published by the Tribune. Taking a look inside four different SLO County Wine Cellars, this article shows all the ways one can enjoy a wine collection.

Nichter WineCheck it out here.


turko with hat

by Turko Semmes

In the past, I have written before about Passive Solar Solutions for buildings. And still they are an important way to reduce energy costs and increase comfort levels. There are four components that must be considered when applying passive solar solutions to a project. They are Orientation, Ventilation, Insulation, and Mass (OVIM). Each part of the solution is used in different ways depending on the climate where the building is being built as well as certain site, budget and human factors. But by applying these applications appropriately, the building’s energy use can be greatly reduced. The comfort levels can be raised even in severe climate zones, sometimes at little extra cost.

Today, I want to talk about Mass, sometimes known as Thermal Mass. In particular, let’s discuss Phase Change Materials (PCM’s). The Thermal Mass role is to act as a battery to moderate the temperature of the home through the daily and seasonal cycle changes.

There are two applications of mass. One is direct gain where the sun strikes the material directly – think Trombe Wall systems.

The other and more common application is indirect gain. This is where the temperature of the mass is affected by the room temperature – think all surfaces in the building. We try to incorporate standard high mass materials into buildings to achieve this, but it is not always practical. Some of these materials are concrete in the floor, walls and counters. Also used are extra layers of drywall, fireplace facings, etc.

But for years, we in the industry have thought it would be super to have a material that can store more heat than its actual weight or volume. Now that material is here and it’s called Phase Change Materials (PCM). PCM’s can store 5 to 14 times more heat per unit volume than conventional storage materials such as water, masonry or rock. They do this by changing from a liquid to a solid (much like Freon does in heat pump/air conditioning systems). The trick has been to find a way to incorporate them into buildings in a format that can be standard for all buildings.

Now, the National Gypsum Company in partnership with BASF has ThermalCORE PCMmanufactured a drywall that has small capsules – beads of phase change material within the board. The drywall is installed and finished in the same ordinary way. The only extra cost is the material itself. But, don’t jump up and run down to Home Depot or Lowes. This material is in the economic and marketing development stages. However, I do have some samples, and they are performing quite well, as specified.

Soon, this material will give your energy analyst another tool to help design your building to be more energy efficient and comfortable. All without adding additional systems, complications or maintenance. Since drywall is used on most buildings, one can place it strategically to achieve the comfort and energy savings desired. This is just one more reason Passive Solar Solutions should be applied to their maximum potential before any active or complicated systems are considered.

Phase Change Materials for
Building Applications