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The Best General Contractors in Santa Barbara

16 Min Read

Santa Barbara was modeled after the French and Italian Riviera coastal regions, making it what it is best known as today: The ‘American Riviera.’ Santa Barbara offers a resort-like atmosphere year round with its unrelenting sunshine – prompting a multitude of tourists to flock in, and in some cases, permanently move in. Santa Barbara took inspiration after the Spanish culture, with its many days of festivals and numerous Mediterranean restaurants. Not surprisingly, the architectural inspiration for homes and estates became Spanish as well: the lushness of the landscape and distinct building design.

Here, we look at the top general contractors able to emulate the signature style of Santa Barbara’s lushness and culture.

Jed Hirsch General Building Contractor, Inc

3324 State St. Suite E, Santa Barbara, California 93105

Jed Hirsch has offered full service, high-end residential custom building and remodels in Montecito, Santa Barbara, Carpinteria, Santa Ynez, and Goleta since 1990. The firm is also Built Green Certified and a member of the Santa Barbara Contractors Association.

Project by Jed Hirsch General Building Contractor

The firm, headed by Jed Hirsch, employs a team of master craftsmen and dedicated builders for each project. Hirsch himself has over 35 years of experience in construction, carpentry, cabinetmaking, and concrete work. Hirsch’s residential projects- for which clients pay from as little as $20,000 to upwards of $3million- include a mix of contemporary and Spanish aesthetics – with strong leaning on modern finishes. These homes are either situated oceanfront or surrounded by lush greenery.

Lynch Construction

209 Santa Cruz Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93109

Lynch Construction has been building modern and Spanish-styled houses in Santa Barbara for over three decades. The firm’s founder, Brian Lynch is a fourth generation Californian, whose family owned and operated a lumber company.

The firm builds projects in a timely manner, on budget, and guaranteed to last for generations. The firm serves the areas of Carpinteria, Goleta, Montecito, Summerland, and Santa Barbara. Lynch offers clients custom home building, home and kitchen remodeling, and masonry.

Project by Lynch Construction

Lynch Construction has worked on many residential projects that include a mix of Spanish design with highlighted contemporary finishing. Their work in remodeling a George Washington Smith home Mesa Road won the Santa Barbara Beautiful Award in 2008.

Mitch Williams Construction

2963 Grand Avenue, Suite D, P.O. Box 776, Los Olivos

Mitch Williams Construction has specialized in custom builds of estates and ranches since its establishment in 1985. The firm has worked on some of the most beautiful homes in Santa Barbara, including wineries and ranches in Santa Ynez, has built estates in Montecito and contemporary homes in Hope Ranch ranging from $250,000 to $20 million.

Project by Mitch Williams Construction

Founded by Mitch Williams, the firm offers full-service general construction from conception to post-completion, as well as home remodeling, barn design and construction, and deck building. Mitch Williams credits its builders’ years of expertise in custom cabinetry for the specialized techniques that go into its building projects. building which it credits to its builders’ years of expertise in custom cabinetry. These techniques and the firm’s strong reputation as a top general contractor have been featured on the Today Show.

Trillium Enterprises, Inc.

501 Chapala Street, Suite A, Santa Barbara, California 93101

Trillium Enterprises, Inc. has been building and renovating estates in Santa Barbara since 1989. Co-founded by Ken and Peter Cohen, the firm steadily built their portfolios around remodeling and custom building high-end homes in the area, often in a contemporary or Spanish style, or a mix of both. Trillium’s projects have been priced from $50,000 to upwards of $25 million. Peter Cohen holds a degree in Econometrics, while Ken Cohen has a degree in Mechanical Engineering.

Project by Trillium Enterprises

Trillium offers full-service, end-to-end general contracting project management. The firm employs experienced craftsmen who provide consistent high-quality and detailed builds. Trillium consistently provides clients with detailed and updated cost estimations to prevent unwarranted costs, attesting to their high degree of customer service and satisfaction.

James Johnson Construction

3905 State Street Ste 7-311, Santa Barbara, CA 93105

James Johnson Construction is a full-service general contractor in Santa Barbara, offering clients in Montecito and Hope Ranch custom home building, green building options, remodeling, and construction of amenities such as barns,pool houses, and wine cellars. The firm builds residential homes in the Mediterranean, French Provincial, and contemporary styles, as well as does a range of restoration work.

Project by James Johnson Construction

James Johnson, the founder, notes that it is their dependability and integrity that has led to their glowing reviews from clients. The firm prides itself on consistently completing projects on time, with finishes that are highly detailed. James Johnson is a member of the Santa Barbara Contractors Association.

Clause Contracting

817 East Yanonali Street, Santa Barbara, California 93103

Clause Contracting specializes in building high end estate homes in Santa Barbara – in both classic home and contemporary styles. Currently headed by Don Clause, the firm continues its Italian family tradition of luxury custom building, following the footsteps of the company’s founders nearly a century ago. Of particular note is the firm’s attention to crafting finer details in the builds and how they incorporate the site’s surrounding details.

Project by Clause Contracting

In addition to their estate home builds, the firm also worked in restoring some noted properties, including a George Washington Smith- a renowned American Architect who popularized the Spanish Colonial Revival style in the early 20th century- home that had been left in disrepair, including finding solutions to its flooding basement.

Lynn Morris Contracting

PO Box 4666, Santa Barbara, CA 93140

Lynn Morris Contracting has been building luxury residential units in Santa Barbara for more than 30 years. The firm’s founder, Lynn Morris, graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and worked as a carpenter, journeyman, and supervisor before gaining his contractor license n 1980.

Lynn Morris Contracting provides custom home construction and home additions for budgets from $100,000 to over $1 million. The firm, in addition to custom house construction, has also completed renovation work for the historic Casa Del Herrero and Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.

Project by Lynn Morris

The firm has been prominently featured in Santa Barbara News and has won the Santa Barbara Beautiful Award in 1992 and 2013, and the Montecito Beautiful Award in 2004.

Caputo Construction

8939 South Sepulveda Boulevard, Suite 110-702, Los Angeles, California 90045

Caputo Construction is a boutique, high-end home builder in Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Sonoma Counties. Founded by Mark Caputo in 2004, the firm has consistently delivered luxury residential units in both contemporary and Spanish styles. The firm focuses on delivering projects on time, without unpleasant surprises, and with the best possible quality – all by giving project managers and superintendents the best possible training.

Project by Caputo Construction . Photo by
Photo by

For their work, the firm has been awarded Builder of the Year 2010 and Best New Residential Construction by the Santa Barbara Contractors Association, named ‘Best of the West’ Gold Nugget Grand Award by the Pacific Coast Builders Conference, and has been featured in Builder, California Homes, Sunset magazine, Los Angeles Times, and Santa Barbara Seasons.

Mark Trabucco Builder

428 Los Olivos, California 93441428 Los Olivos, California 93441

Mark Trabucco began his career in building with a toy carpentry gift set from his father when he was six years old. His passion for carpentry and craftsmanship grew since then, so much that he started a construction company when he was still in high school. A series of projects later, his operation moved to Santa Barbara, where he went on to live and work. Since 1994, Mark Trabucco Builder has specialized in luxury, custom ranch and home building in the areas of Montecito, Hope Ranch, Santa Ynez, and Santa Barbara.

Project by Mark Trabucco Builder

Mark himself leads the project on site, choosing not to hire a middleman but to personally attend to the project. His most publicized work, the Montecito Oceanfront Estate, has been given a 10-page spread in Veranda magazine in its August 2016 issue.

RHC Construction, Incorporated

2070 Creekside Rd. Santa Barbara, CA 93108

RHC Construction, since its establishment in 1996, has completed more than 30 homes and remodels in Santa Barbara. The firm specializes in constructing high-end Mediterranean homes which are incorporated with contemporary fixtures, while maintaining the rusticness and lushness of the Spanish aesthetics.

The firm is founded by a husband-wife partnership, Rich and Krista Coffin, with Rich – a fluent Spanish speaker himself – managing the general contracting, and Krista serving in business administration and marketing. The firm has worked on construction projects which ranged from 2000ft up to 12,000ft, mainly in Montecito and Santa Barbara.

Project by RHC Construction

RHC maintains an open book policy, in a way that all bids, subcontractors, and invoices are available for review by both the owner and architects. RHC Construction has been featured in The New York Times, Carpinteria Magazine, Phoenix Home & Garden, Santa Barbara Magazine, Beautiful Kitchens and Baths, and Traditional Home.

DD Ford Construction

303 Palm Avenue, Santa Barbara, California 93101

DD Ford Construction has been building luxury custom homes and remodeling houses in Santa Barbara for nearly 40 years, often serving high profile clients. The firm, however, started humbly: the firm’s founder, Doug Ford, crafted furniture in a small garage. His excellent work soon reached crowds and his projects became more high-profile.

Today, the firm offers new home construction, major renovations, remodeling projects, and maintenance. Their construction service starts from conception, but does not end in completion – the firm prides itself on staying responsive to their clients for the long term.

Project by DD Ford Construction

For their work, the firm has been recognized with various awards, including the Santa Barbara Contractors Association’s (SBCA) ‘Builder of the Year’ award, the Santa Barbara Beautiful Award, SBCA’s Member Choice Award, Chrysalis Regional Award for ‘Best Historic Renovation,’ and Remodeling Magazine’s Project of the Year in 2017.

Giffin and Crane

224 South Milpas St, Suite B, Santa Barbara, CA 93103

Building with Giffin and Crane means adhering to a specific set of five steps during their planning stage – which the founders claim to be responsible for minimizing surprises during the construction phase. The five-point steps include the Conceptual Estimate, Preliminary Estimate in which the firm categorizes job aspects, the Scope of Work, the Agreement stage or the start of construction, and the Project Completion.

Giffin and Crane, co-founded by Geoff Crane and Bruce Giffin, is a design-build and general contractor firm serving the neighborhoods of Carpinteria, Goleta, Mission Canyon, Montecito, and Santa Barbara, offering custom home creation, general contracting, home additions, and renovation. The firm also offers their client the option to ‘go green’ and live in environmentally-responsible homes.

Project by Giffin and Crane

The firm has worked on more than 3,000 projects, and many of their residential builds combine contemporary and Mediterranean design aesthetics. Their works have landed them several awards including the Custom Home Pacesetter Award, and the Santa Barbara Beautiful award. They are members of the Santa Barbara Contracting Association, the Chamber of the Santa Barbara Region, AIA Santa Barbara, and the Home Builders Association.

Allen Construction

201 N. Milpas Street, SB, CA 93103

Allen Construction, headquartered in Santa Barbara, is a highly-sought after general contracting firm with more than 35 years of experience, a growing portfolio, and a myriad of home building awards including the NARI 2015 Contractor of the Year and the 2014-2016 Regional Contractor of the Year awards.

Allen Construction specializes in building new custom homes and estates as well as remodeling existing homes. Allen Construction, who is known both regionally and nationally as progressive builders, offer their clients green building options for healthier, more energy and water efficient homes. The firm, currently headed by Aaron Pick as its Chief Executive Officer, is employee-owned and has offices in West Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, and Ventura, in addition to its headquarters in Santa Barbara.

Project by Allen Construction, Photo by Jim Bartsch

Allen Construction has also won the “Best Contractor” Award from the Santa Barbara Independent, the 2017 National Chrysalis award, the 2017 Pro Remodeler Design award, the Santa Barbara Beautiful Environmental Stewardship Award, and the 2015 Master Design Award. For their extensive work, the firm has been featured in California Home+Design, Seasons Magazine, Los Angeles Times, New York Times and Food & Home Magazine.

Young Construction

9 Ashley Avenue, Santa Barbara, California 93103

Over the course of 30 years, founders David and Bob Young have created a highly-responsive team of luxury home builders in Santa Barbara. They note that it is how they approach each project that made them highly sought: with personal involvement, detail orientation, and cost-effective solutions.

The firm has worked on projects located in Summerland, Montecito, Toro Canyon, Santa Ynez, and Mission Canyon, with a typical job, costs up to $10 million. The firm specializes in custom homes, general contracting, home additions, and commercial construction.

Young Construction has received the 2010 Gold Nugget Grand Award for their work on the Padaro Lane Residence, and the 2010 Gold Nugget Grand Award for the Best Custom Home, as well as the Best Builder of the Year 2010, in addition to an array of other awards such as the Santa Barbara Beautiful Award and Peterson Award for Art in Public Places.

Project by Young Construction

For their works, the firm has been featured in Santa Barbara Seasons, Luxe, Dining and Destinations, Montecito Journal, Architectural Record, Trends, Architectural Digest, California Homes, and Angeleno.

Leonard Unander Associates, Inc.

1328 De La Vina Street, Suite A, Santa Barbara California 93101

Leonard Unander Associates is a prolific, high-end residential builder in Santa Barbara. The firm, managed by a family of intergenerational builders since 1977, has overseen projects ranging from modern-styled homes to the classic Santa Barbara Spanish estates and ranches.

The Unandar builders note that their craftsmanship, smooth construction planning process, and attention to detail allows them to reach the level of prominence that they have today. The firm has won two Santa Barbara Beautiful Awards – usually given to public and private projects that enhanced the community, the Single Family – Large Category, and the Santa Barbara Beautiful Award in 2009.

Project by Leonard Unander Associates

The firm offers full service, residential project management to their clients, from pre-construction to post completion, with green building options for waste and water management, as well as home maintenance service. Their works have been featured in Santa Ynez Valley, Food & Home, Pacific Houses, 100 Houses, Architectural Digest, Luxury Home, Montecito Journal, and SB Digs.