Breathtaking beaches stretch for 300 miles along the Atlantic coast. Lively crowds enjoy the hip nightlife in bustling cities. Tranquil communities in the Low Country are where neighbors sip iced tea on the front porch. Add a booming economy that continues to flex its muscle, and it’s no wonder that North Carolina is a destination spot for Americans nationwide. It’s also no surprise that the state’s housing market is red-hot.
With income and home values climbing upward while unemployment stays low, more people in the Tarheel State are looking for single-family homes and reliable people to build them. With that in mind, we wanted to run down a list of custom home builders in North Carolina that deliver exceptional customer service and quality construction. Every contractor on this list is expert at that and more. We then rated each firm by the integrity of its principals, industry standing, client feedback, and, above all, its jaw-dropping portfolio.
15) Bost Custom Homes
Website | 919.460.1983 | 941 Evans Road, Cary, NC 27513
Rex Bost was operating an artisan masonry company when he tried his hand at designing and building his first home in 1986. The project was so successful and satisfying that he shifted the company’s focus to residential construction. He spent the 1990s building a reputation for high-quality, luxury homes and excellent client service. By 2000, the company was one of the most successful builders in the Triangle region. Bost Custom Homes builds throughout Cary, North Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Research Triangle Park (RTP) and other surrounding areas.. Typical homes cost between $1M and $4M.
The firm has collected over 30 industry awards. Most recently, it was honored with the Best of the Best Custom Builder at the 2018 MAME Awards (Major Achievements in Marketing Excellence) sponsored by the Wake/Raleigh HBA. Parade of Homes honors include Wake HBA Parade of Homes Judy Richardson Lifetime Achievement Award, 11 Gold Awards in 2000, 2002, and 2004, 2005; Building Company of the Year and Best Green Built Home in 2007; and “Best of the Best” in 2006. Bost Custom Homes is a member of the Green Home Builders of the Triangle (GHBT) and the Remodelers Council of the Home Builders Association (RCHBA).
14) Grainda Builders
Website | 704.892.7640 | 17824 Statesville Road, Cornelius, NC 28031
Born in New Jersey and raised in Pennsylvania, Joe Grainda studied carpentry and cabinet making at Cumberland-Perry Vocational Tech School. Although he went on to major in real estate and insurance finance at Penn State University, Grainda couldn’t stay away from the homebuilding environment. He freelanced as a carpenter in the summer and during school breaks. After graduation, he landed an entry-level position with a national homebuilder. Nineteen years later, he was an executive-level manager but needed a career change. He founded this business in 2002. Three years later, Vice President of Operations Jason Tananbaum joined Grainda’s team. Tananbaum had proven homebuilding skills from his former employer. He had been named National Builder Divisional Rookie of the Year and received a Construction Volume Award.
The finely crafted builds that Grainda and Tananbaum put together are found in Charlotte, Cornelius, Davidson, Mooresville, and Lake Norman. They have been profiled in Currents Magazine. Quintessential Charlotte Magazine has featured the company’s 6,342-square-foot Lake Norman mountain retreat. Among its industry honors, Grainda Builders has received a Star Award from North Carolina Home Builders Association (NCHBA). These days, it’s putting up luxury residences in the Crescent Communities, the Peninsula, and the Point, as well as along Charlotte’s waterfront.
13) New Old
Website | 704.975.3723 | 936 Market Street, Fort Mill, SC 29708
Mary Ludemann has been called “the builder with a national reputation and regional appeal.” For the past 12 years, she and husband Troy have run this successful design-build business. Both learned the building trade from Mary’s father, Tom Murtaugh, a custom home builder. Thought New Old is based in South Carolina, it builds throughout the North Carolina neighborhoods of Myers Park, Charlotte, Matthews, Paw Creek, and Wesley. The high-end homes are priced between $850k and $4M.
Press coverage — both local and national — has been extensive. New Old projects frequently make the pages of REFRESH, This Old House, QC Exclusive, and Luxury Home Magazine. Even Better Homes & Gardens featured the firm’s distinctive products on front covers in 2014 and 2015. Since January 2016, Mary has been a contributing writer for Charlotte Urban Home magazine. As for awards, New Old has been honored with a 2016 Major Achievements in Marketing and Excellence (MAME) Award for Custom Home of the Year and Custom Home Builders Association (CHBA) Custom Builder of the Year. This North Carolina custom home builder also belongs to the prestigious Southern Living Custom Home Builder Program.
12) Whitney Blair Custom Homes
Website | 910.575.4900 | 7269 Beach Drive, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 28469
Founder and Owner Jeff Sanderson named this company after his two daughters. He originally opened a residential contractor firm in Chapel Hill, NC, but by the 1990s, he moved to the beautiful North Carolina Coast and relocated the business to Sunset Beach. He credits the natural scenery for inspiring the signature luxury homes for which his team has become so widely known. Sanderson has said he will build anywhere between Wilmington and Myrtle Beach.
Sanderson has earned an impressive set of trade credentials. He is the only North Carolina builder to hold dual accreditations in North and South Carolina as a Certified Master Builder (CMB). He also holds National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) accreditation as Graduate Master Builder (GMB), Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), and Certified Green Professional (CGP). He has served two consecutive terms as president of the Home Builders Association (HBA) for Brunswick County.
For his custom builds, Sanderson has received 24 industry awards. These include National Best in American Living Award (BALA) in 2006 and 2007, Southern Living Custom Builder of the Year in 2008 and 2016, Southern Living Southern Home Awards Best Custom Builder in 2016, and seven Diamond Awards from Parade of Homes Brunswick County.
11) King Post
Website | 910.367.9323 | 4022 Market Street, Wilmington, NC 28403
Although this Wilmington firm maintains a small staff and a low profile, industry watchers know it as one of the most capable custom home builders in North Carolina. King Post was founded by Fran Colangelo, a University of Colorado graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering and Architectural Engineering. When Colangelo first moved to the East Coast, he and his wife Tia landed in Vermont. The couple ran a timber-framing company in Burlington between 1984 and 1992, and then headed south. In 1993, they opened King Post. Soon they were joined by Partner Adam Butler, a San Francisco Art Institute graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts. Butler had 10 years’ experience at managing significant West Coast developments for big name clients.
In the early 2000s, Colangelo and Butler took on remodeling and new construction projects throughout southeastern North Carolina. The business grew, and so did their reputation. King Post homes range in price from $800k to $5M and have been featured in Custom Home Magazine. A particularly elegant home by the firm on Intracoastal Waterway was spotlighted in the Wrightsville Beach Magazine.
10) Bold Construction
Website | 919.929.6288 | 50211 Governors Drive, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
Partners Jason Dell and Chris Ehrenfeld, friends since preschool in Pittsburgh, prove that lifelong friendships can blend into a winning business union for this North Carolina custom homebuilder. Ehrenfeld started building homes after graduating University of North Carolina as a business graduate in 1997. Dell received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Penn State University at the same time and moved south 5 years later to pursue contracting opportunities with Ehrenfeld. Together, they have built a solid reputation, with luxury homes throughout the Triangle. Their latest projects have been in Chapel Hill, Hillsborough, Southwest Durham and the upscale golf course community of the Governors Club. The homes are priced between $700k and $3M+.
Bold Construction has been featured in Entrepreneur, Money, and Fortune magazines. Ehrenfeld has been named to Triangle Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 List. The TBJ has put Bold Construction on its list of Top Custom Home Builders since 2015.In 2017, the firm was named to Inc. Magazine’s 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies.
9) Andrew Roby
Website | 704.334.5477 | 2000 West Morehead Street, Charlotte, NC 28208
This firm’s roots go back almost seven decades. Hungarian-born Andrew Robicsek immigrated to the United States in 1950. He shortened his name to “Roby” and began working as a handyman in Charlotte. Gradually, he took on more substantial projects and soon began to build custom homes. Today, Andrew Roby is one of North Carolina’s largest home building and remodeling companies.
In 1976, the firm came under the ownership of Glenn Haston, who had been Roby’s longtime partner. Haston’s son, Travis, has taken over the Andrew Roby operation. Travis has degrees in industrial technology and construction management from East Carolina University. Assisting him are a CFO, a COO, two senior directors, seven project managers, and six executive superintendents. Although the firm handles many remodels, its extensive portfolio includes award-winning new homes. It serves the areas of Lake Norman, Fort Mill, Lake Wylie, Matthews, and Myers Park. The firm was recognized as Best Home Builder of 2015 by The Charlotte Observer. In 2016, it won the Charlotte Business Journal’s Family Business Award.
8) Artisan Custom Homes
Website | 704.987.9369 | 21016 Catawba Avenue, Cornelius, NC 28031
To provide clients with a focused design experience, this substantial home building firm prefers the small-team approach. Artisan Custom Homes is headquartered in Cornelius. It is run by two men who possess decades of construction experience combined. Jay Johnstone is the lead developer. Partner John Shryock manages construction. Along with a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Catawba College, Johnstone has 25 years’ experience as a custom home contractor. Shryock has a degree in civil engineering from North Carolina State University. By the time this firm was formed, he had spent close to 20 years framing houses in Raleigh. Both men have North Carolina Unlimited General Contractor licenses and CGP credentials.
The upscale communities throughout Denver, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville, Mooresville, and Lake Norman have the greatest concentration of luxury homes by the Artisan crew. Most builds range in price between $650k and $1.5M. Artisan homes feature diverse architecture styles, from vintage European to French country. Artisan is credited with building the first NAHB Green Certified Home in Davidson.
7) Shea Custom Homes
Website | 704.602.3333 | 8008 Corporate Center Drive, Charlotte, NC 28226
Shea Custom Homes makes this list as one of the largest luxury homebuilders in the nation that is still privately owned and run by the Shea family. This multi-state firm spawned from the one-man plumbing business that John F. Shea opened in 1881. Today, Shea Custom Homes are found in 10 states, but the focus has always been in the Carolinas. In North and South Carolina alone, the company has put up well over 4,000 luxury residences.
The firm’s Carolina division is headquartered in Charlotte and run by John F. Shea Jr., along with cousins Gil, Ed, and Mike. The Shea crew travels throughout the state, but most of its new homes appear in Matthews, Mint Hill, Pineville, and Huntersville. Of late, the company announced that it prefers custom home building over remodeling projects. Shea Custom Homes has garnered so much industry recognition that its list of awards is divided into several categories. In North Carolina, most of Shea’s plentiful honors consist of Silver and Gold Awards for Best Single Family Home from the NAHB.
6) Arcadia Homes
Website | 704.412.4130 | 6428 Bannington Road, Charlotte, NC 28226
Arcadia Homes offers its clients not only high-quality home designs, but also building expertise from four seasoned veteran partners. The Charlotte-based firm has been open since 1994. It is an Accredited Master Builder (AMB).
President Jeremy Schumacher has a background in architecture, which he studied at East Carolina University. Schumacher spent years at architecture firms before joining Arcadia. Vice President AJ Foard had over 20 years’ experience in residential construction throughout the Charlotte metro area. Michael Salamone, a co-founder and managing partner, has a Bachelor of Science in Business Management and Finance from the University of South Carolina. He also has an MBA in Finance from Seton Hall University. Salamone traded on Wall Street before moving to North Carolina. In 1994, he partnered with Robby Bowers, one of Charlotte’s most respected home builders, to establish Arcadia Homes in 1994. Homes by this team start over $1M.
The trendy builds by Arcadia Homes are a favorite of the local press, and the company is often featured in Charlotte Magazine. It builds throughout Charlotte, Fort Mill, Marvin, Matthews, Mint Hill, and Myers Park.
5) Loyd Builders
Website | 919.387.1455 | 2501 Reliance Avenue, Apex, NC 27539
Tripp Loyd’s building career started in childhood, when he was given odd jobs at his father’s construction company in Fayetteville. That early exposure inspired him to pursue homebuilding as a career. As a student at North Carolina State University, Tripp studied civil engineering while also honing his carpentry skills on the side. In 2000, he was ready to open his own business in Apex, a suburb of Raleigh. Assisting Loyd is John Lansing Houston, a project manager with over 20 years’ building experience. Houston studied industrial technology and construction management at East Carolina University, where he received a Bachelor of Science degree.
Since its beginning, Loyd Builders has grown beyond Apex to provide full design-build services throughout the Greater Triangle region. The company has amassed over 40 industry awards. These include the following top honors from the Parade of Homes in Wake County, Durham, and Chatham County: one Best of the Best Award in 2003, four Bronze Awards, four Silver Awards, and nine Gold Awards.
4) Simonini Homes
Website | 704.333.8999 | 501 East Morehead Street, Charlotte, NC 28202
When Illinois native Alan Simonini moved to North Carolina over three decades ago, he wasn’t sure how to use his bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University. He started doing piecemeal work with construction crews in Charlotte and discovered he had a natural talent for building. Several years later, Simonini opened this boutique firm. He wanted to bring a new style of architecture — known as “New Urbanism” — to the luxury homes he planned to build in North Carolina.
Simonini’s designs were a hit in the state’s more affluent communities. His team’s luxury builds fetched numerous awards, such as the 2009 NAHB Silver Award for Best Single Family Home; the HBAC 2012 Award for Excellence in Remodeling; 2013 NARI Awards for new kitchen and bathroom; and three CotY Awards in 2013 and 2014. Simonini was honored to be included in Professional Remodeler magazine’s List of America’s Top Remodelers. Today, the firm is run by Simonini’s grandchildren. Its extravagant builds can be found in Charlotte, Cotswold, Foxcroft, Davidson, South Park, and Myers Park.
3) Thompson Custom Building Group
Website | 704.202.4390 | 1310 South Tryon Street, Charlotte, NC 28203
One reason Thompson Custom Building Group has flourished in North Carolina is its founder’s special way of collaborating with homeowners. It’s an approach sought after by the most discerning clientele who engage Founder Ted Thompson to build their homes. Another reason is Thompson’s talent for ground-breaking extravagance. With many of Thompson’s structures spread out from 5,000 square feet to 24,000 square feet, prices are anywhere from $1M and up. Thompson resides in Charlotte. He opened the firm almost 10 years ago.
Thompson come from a family of engineers and homebuilders, and he spent his childhood absorbing every aspect of the trade. He studied civil engineering in college, earning a Bachelor of Science and then a Master of Engineering in Construction Management from the University of Buffalo in Buffalo, NY. Thompson Custom Building Group erects its signature builds in the most exclusive communities in the Charlotte metro area, such as Lake Norman and Lake Wylie. Past projects include an estate named “Nantucket at Quail Hollow” in a gated community, and a mid-century modern mansion with panoramic views of Lake Norman.
2) Jas-Am Luxury Home Builders
Website | 704.541.0350 | 5113 Piper Station Drive, Charlotte, NC 28277
This Charlotte firm received national recognition for building the Bachelorette Estate featured on the reality TV show The Bachelorette. Jas-Am Luxury Home Builders was founded in 1985 by Sajjan Dhaliwal, who had relocated to the United States from Canada. Dhaliwal had received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Manitoba and received his MBA at the University of Memphis. He decided to combine his business and engineering background into this North Carolina custom home builder company.
It didn’t take long for Dhaliwal’s interpretations of Italian, Colonial, Mediterranean, and French country architectural styles to become popular with affluent North Carolinians. Jas-Am’s luxury builds appear throughout Charlotte, Myers Park, Lake Norman, Pineville, and Indian Trail. Even before he completed “The Bachelorette Estate” in 2012, Dhaliwal is known for building the Second largest home in North Carolina. The 34,000-square-foot mansion in Morrocroft was covered in mosaic tile and fitted with a Turkish bath. Also on Jas-Am’s impressive client list are NFL and NBA stars.
1) Kingswood Custom Homes
Website | 704.889.1600 | 115 College Street, Pineville, NC 28134
Before Peter Leeke emigrated to the United States in the 1990s, he had run a successful residential construction company in his native London. By 1996, Leeke and his wife, Louise, had established Kingswood Custom Homes. They hired 5 award-winning project managers and three in-house interior designers. Soon, the team became known for building throughout the greater Charlotte and lake Norman areas in NC as well as Charleston and Kiawah Island SC. In 1998 came their first honor: the Excellence in Home Building Award from NAHB.
Over the next two decades, Kingswood Custom Homes would collect at least 30 more industry awards. In 2017 alone, Leeke’s team received three PRISM Awards from the CHBA. A recent build was for NFL star Greg Olsen, who had relocated to the Charlotte area. The lakeside estate features antique silver beams, cathedral ceilings, a crystal fireplace, a stone-and-stucco exterior, and gold trim throughout. Such builds have received plenty of press coverage in The Quintessential Charlotte Magazine, the Charlotte Business Journal, Charlotte Living Magazine, and South Park Magazine.