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This year’s upbeat housing numbers have Pennsylvania custom home builders cheering once again. Not only will they be selling more homes; they can also return to new home construction, which many had to shelve when the market nosedived. During those lean years, builders took on remodeling projects just to stay afloat. But that did not disqualify them from appearing on this list.
And that brings us to this collection of The Keystone State’s finest builders. On first look, we noticed that most of the big names are run by third- and fourth-generation family members. This was a promising sign, as no one will complain about a home builder having too much experience. In fact, a company’s years in business became the threshold requirement for this list. Next came professional affiliations and customer focus. In those areas, each firm scored big. Last was presentation, which is hard to overlook when the subject is home design. That’s why the highest ranked contractors here build homes that nail those crucial first impressions.
15) David Semerjian Builders
| 2425 White Horse Road, Berwyn, PA 19312
This Berwyn-based construction company has built a solid reputation for creating both trendy restaurants and breathtaking luxury homes. David Semerjian founded the company in 1992. Today, he is proud that most of his new business comes from referrals. He specializes in building signature homes in the state’s three wealthiest counties — Chester, Montgomery, and Bucks. He has also achieved much local recognition for his outstanding work on two Wayne restaurants: the Autograph Brasserie and White Dog Cafe.
Semerjian’s projects are a favorite of the local press. The May 2014 issue of Suburban Life Magazine profiled the builder, noting that he scrupulously oversees every stage of the construction process. Also featured was a Semerjian custom build on 10 acres in Berwyn. The 13,000-square-foot estate has 22-foot ceilings, seven bedrooms, six baths, and a pool. One of the home’s six fireplaces was made out of Wissahickon Schist. Another was made of marble. For extra elegance in the kitchen, Semerjian used French limestone on the floor. Built over 16 months, the home required about 200 skilled workers to complete it.
14) Sullivan Building & Design Group
2320 Trumbauersville Road, Quakertown, PA 18951
For 35 years, the father-and-son team of Neil and Bradley Sullivan has run this full-service remodeling and custom home contractor. Sullivan Building & Design Group maintains an inhouse team of architectural designers and certified interior and kitchen designers. It serves the areas of Quakertown, Bucks County, Lehigh County, Montgomery County, and Hunterdon County.
The firm is known for taking on challenging projects. A recent one involved turning a 4,000-square-foot structure in Bucks County that was built before the Depression into a magnificent home with scenic views. The project was featured on the cover of Elle Decor. Likewise, in 2017, the Sullivans were honored with the Qualified Remodeler Magazine Master Design Award for historic renovation. They built one home out of two separate stone structures left behind on an old peach farm. The firm’s work has been featured in Qualified Remodeler Magazine, Elle Decor, Bucks County Home and Garden, and Professional Remodeler, as well as in local trade journals. Its residential projects have won four national Chrysalis Awards.
13) Landmark Homes
| 1737 W. Main Street, Ephrata, PA 17522
Based in Ephrata, these Pennsylvania custom home builders are one of the most productive residential contractors in the state. For over 20 years, they have built single-family homes and residential developments in central Pennsylvania. The company was established in 1998 by brothers Cliff and Clair Weaver. Cliff had worked with local construction, while Clair’s background was in real estate.
The brothers have said they are “market-driven” and are as content to build townhomes as they are luxury. Their staff numbers about 95 employees. Landmark Homes is affiliated with eight industry associations, including National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), Building Industry Association (BIA) of Lancaster County, and Pennsylvania Builders Association (PBA). Prices for the homes are between $200k and $1M. The custom home builder Pennsylvania works in about 15 cities, including Denver, Lancaster, Stevens, Hershey, and Lebanon. Honors have come from Home-A-Rama in 2011 and the Harrisburg Builders Association (HBA) in 2013. In 2013, Landmark Homes won a Best in Show Gold Award from the Lebanon Parade of Homes. More recent awards are the Fulton Award for the 2017 Harrisburg Parade of Homes, various Pyramid Awards recognizing our homes and marketing efforts from the Harrisburg Builders Association, and Best Community Service Project awarded by the PBA for our Construction Trades Day Event.
555 Mountain Home Road, Sinking Spring, PA 19608
This Sinking Spring-based firm has been going strong since 1975, when it was established by a local carpenter, Tony Forino. Today, the company reports that revenues climbed over $1.1B from selling more than 6,700 homes and developing at least 85 communities.
Forino is still president. He started the company soon after graduating high school. Construction experience came from working at his father’s small contracting business. By 1971, Forino went into business with his father. Four years later, the duo had purchased land and started building single family homes. Since 1983, Tony has been sole owner. Always looking to grow, Forino builds in New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, and New York. In 2007, it built its first community in South Carolina. The next year, its services expanded to include commercial construction, surveying, engineering, and property development. In Pennsylvania, the firm’s vice president, John Smith, has been a Forino employee since 1996. He serves on the board of directors of HBA (Home Builders Association) of Berks County.
11) Keystone Custom Homes
227 Granite Run Drive #100, Lancaster, PA 17601
Keystone Custom Homes is the largest independent home contractor in central PA. It is also one of the top home builders in the country, according to Builder Magazine.
This custom home builder in Pennsylvania was established in 1992 by CEO Jeff Rutt, a former dairy farmer who ran his own 200-acre farm in Lancaster. Rutt left farming for what became a successful career in real estate development. When he got bored with real estate, he hooked up with local builders to learn about the housing market. Six months after founding this Pennsylvania home builder, he had sold 12 homes.
Clients of Keystone Custom Homes can choose to design a home with help from the company’s inhouse design department. They can also choose “quick move-ins” that range between $200k and $650k. Recently, the HBA of Berks County awarded Rutt the first Energy Efficiency and Sustainability Award because the builder’s homes are 70 percent more energy efficient. Custom builds by this custom home contractor can go up to $1M. They are found throughout central Pennsylvania, including East Petersburg, Lancaster, Manheim, Silver Spring, and Lancaster Junction.
10) S&A Homes
2121 Old Gatesburg Road, State College, PA 16803
Founder and CEO Bob Poole has built over 15,000 homes over the past 38 years. In 1980, he purchased S&A Homes from a local custom contractor. Today, this privately-held company builds in 18 communities and on buyer-owned land throughout Central and South Central Pennsylvania. It has 4 offices and a staff of 55 employees.
For two years in a row, S&A Homes was recognized by Builder Magazine as one of the country’s leading home builders. The company has developed its own “E-Home” program that features Eco-friendly, energy efficient and sustainable building standards. Every one of the company’s custom builds is Resnet Certified. S&A Homes has been the subject of numerous write ups in Builder, Pro Builder, Modern Builder, and Eco Home Magazine. It is also a recognized leader in the Integrated Building and Construction Solutions (IBACOS) Best Practices.
9) Kreider & Diller Builders
1936 Columbia Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17603
This Lancaster-based custom home contractor covers both the southeastern part of Pennsylvania and the northeastern part of Maryland. Founded in 1959, Kreider & Diller Builders is just one year away from celebrating 60 years in business. The company has grown in scope and size from the modest business venture that Art Kreider and Don Diller Sr., established. The transformation started slowly after Diller’s son, Don Jr., took over the company in 1983.
Don Jr., knew the business; he had worked there as a draftsman and estimator since 1972. To bring the company more exposure, he took on home remodeling work but didn’t slight the firm’s custom homebuilding focus. The strategy worked. Historic renovations by the team fetched the local building association’s remodeling awards and the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County’s C. Emlen Urban Award for Adaptive Reuse. Meanwhile, Kreider & Diller Builders continued to build single-family new homes in 34 towns, including Bausman, Columbia, Conestoga, Lancaster, and West Willow, that cost up to $2M. This company is NAHB certified.
8) Farinelli Construction
611 Gettysburg Pike, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
This South Central Pennsylvania firm used to handle only mid-sized residential projects. Now, it specializes in custom-built homes that have earned them national recognition. Farinelli was founded in 1989 by Don Farinelli, a Pennsylvania State University graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Engineering. As he shifted the business toward larger and luxury homes, Farinelli established his own interior design team to provide clients with turn-key service. Word got around, and contracts to build came in from residents of Mechanicsburg, Dillsburg, Palmyra, Elizabethtown, and Camp Hill.
Farinelli’s distinctive designs have brought a list of awards dating back to 1996, when it won the Pyramid Award for Custom Home under $500k. The firm went on to win 18 more Pyramid Awards, along with a Home-A-Rama People’s Choice Award and several Gold and Silver Awards from Parade of Homes. Between 2009 and 2017, Farinelli was named Harrisburg Magazine’s “Simply the Best Home Builder” eight times. Most notable was Builder Magazine’s 2015 feature story on Farinelli’s “Street of Dreams Home” in Harrisburg that is priced over $1M.
7) Metzler Home Builders
1827, 1172 Penn Grant Road, Lancaster, PA 17602
Metzler Home Builders dates back to 1953, when Abe Metzler was a carpenter who did home and barn renovations for local farmers in Lancaster County. When son Roy joined a few years later, the team gradually took on larger projects and eventually built homes. Today, Metzler Home Builders is still a family affair. Don Metzler has run the company as president since 1978, and his son, Jordan, has also come aboard as a new home advisor.
Over the past 65 years, the Metzlers have erected hundreds of single-family homes. They serve about 40 communities, including Lancaster, New Providence, Silver Spring, Strasburg, and West Willow. Home designs range from two-story Colonials to French Country manors and even timber-framed homes. Just since 1993, the firm has won over 130 awards in categories such as Best Exterior and Best of Show from NAHB, PBA & BIA of Lancaster County. Metzler Home Builders is a Certified Home Improvement contractor (CHI), an EPA Lead-Safe Certified firm, and a Certified Green Professional (CGP).
6) Megill Homes
330 Kennett Pike #207, Chadds Ford, PA 19317
The custom builds by this Chadds Ford firm are so extravagant that some have “unlimited” price tags. Megill Homes was started in 1969 by Wayne Megill Sr. It is run today by Megill’s sons, Wayne Jr., and Scott, who have expanded the business into Maryland and Delaware. Wayne Megill is president and a graduate of Villanova University. Scott Megill, who went to Gettysburg College, is the firm’s vice president. Megill Homes is known for 10,000-square-foot mansions with old-world details, appearing mostly in upscale Chester County.
Industry recognition has been substantial, with at least 37 awards. In 2017, the company was named Builder of the Year by the Home Builders Association of Chester and Delaware Counties. In 2015, it was the recipient of a Synergy Award for Custom Home of the Year. In 2013, it received the Builder of Integrity Award by Quality Builders Warranty Corporation. It has also won Pyramid Awards for custom homes over $1.5M. Notably, in 2011, Wayne Megill was honored with the Al Goldstein Award for his commitment and dedication to the building industry.
5) Vaughan & Sautter
| 347 E Conestoga Road, Wayne, PA 19087
This firm’s beginnings go back 30 years to when current partner Bill Sautter met Chip Vaughan, who had been designing and building signature homes on Philadelphia’s Main Line for 10 years. The two joined forces and opened this firm in Wayne. Since then, they have enjoyed national and local recognition for creating modern homes with graceful architecture and outstanding craftsmanship. Of Vaughan, Builder Magazine has said, “he is one of a handful of builders for whom excellence is a constant companion.”
Such praise has come from national and regional organizations. The NAHB has named Vaughan and Sautter one of “America’s Best Builders.” The team has won 14 other national awards, including the Pacesetter Award from the NAHB and Custom Home Magazine, and Best in American Living Award (BALA) Gold Awards from the NAHB. Among the firm’s 24 community awards have been honors for Single Family Home of the Year. Vaughan & Sautter serve the areas of Blue Bell, Bryn Mawr, Gwynedd Valley, Newton Square, and Plymouth Meeting. Recently, the firm has been building million-dollar homes, between 6,000 and 8,000 square feet, in affluent Radnor Township.
4) Pohlig Custom Homes
74 W Lancaster Avenue, Suite #100, Malvern, PA 19355
Founders—and brothers—Todd and Don Pohlig have spent 40 years making a business that has gained national recognition. Based in Malvern, the firm has such a devoted local following that many clients today want renovations on a home built by the Pohligs years ago. The duo accepts all kinds of work, from small remodeling projects on Philly’s Main Line to contracts for 20,000-square-foot homes at the Jersey Shore.
The Pohlig staff consists of 28 full-timers, and many have been with the company for decades. Todd has a civil engineering degree from Villanova University. Don is a veteran carpenter who apprenticed with local building legends. Press coverage has come from local trade publications and even the New York Times. Industry accolades include the NAHB 50+ Housing Award, the Pacesetter Award in 1996 from Custom Home Magazine, and the 2016 Best New Residential Architecture Award from The Philadelphia Chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art (ICAA). In 2017, the firm won the Merit Award from HBA of Bucks & Montgomery and Chester & Delaware Counties for Best Custom Home over $1M.
3) Guidi Homes
925 Harvest Drive #220, Blue Bell, PA 19422
Six decades and three generations ago, this Blue Bell firm was founded by Italian immigrants. Brothers Enzo and John Guidi of Blue Bell opened a small carpentry company in 1946. Fourteen years later, the duo had built a 7-11 store in Willow Grove. In 1960, the Guidis incorporated the business, and sons Gene, Philip, and Peter joined the team. With greater focus on residential construction, the company launched a new division in 1986 called “Guidi Homes” and began to build its first major community in Gwynedd Hunt. Since then, the company has morphed into an enterprise, with separate divisions handling commercial, industrial, and institutional business.
Guidi Homes builds houses and communities throughout greater Philadelphia, including Blue Bell, Villanova, Whitemarsh, Lower Gwynedd, and Haverford. In 2008 and 2009, the firm was selected by Philadelphia Magazine to build a Design Home to raise money for local charities. The firm has garnered an enormous amount of press coverage and prestigious industry awards. Peter, Gene, and Philip have all been inducted into Carpenters Hall of Philadelphia.
2) C. Raymond Davis
| 2124 Kimberton Road, Phoenixville, PA 19460
Raymond Davis has been in business since 1928. That makes it the longest-lasting firm on this list. It was founded by Davis, a small town carpenter who gained local notoriety as a home builder. Years later, son T. Raymond, a civil engineer, shifted the company’s focus to commercial development. However, when now-President and CEO Kyle Davis took over in the 1980s, the company once again returned to residential construction. It offers full design-build services and has two satellite offices in Princeton, NJ, and Bolton Landing, NY.
Raymond Davis is an Accredited Quality Contractor (AQC) by the Association of Builders and Contractors (ABC). It is a member of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The firm is known for elaborate brick and stone mansions in the most upscale neighborhoods of Chester County. Since 1994, C. Raymond Davis has gained national recognition and has collected over 100 industry awards, including 10 national awards from NAHB, BALA, ABC, and HBA of Chester and Delaware Counties.
1) Myron Haydt Development
2105 Sonoma Drive, Bethlehem, PA 18015
For 40 years, Myron Haydt has been the heavyweight name in the luxury market around Lehigh Valley. He is known for erecting chateau-like structures on 10 to 20 acres. When one of his homes is listed for sale, Pennsylvania realtors make a point of saying, “This is a Myron Haydt original.” The Bethlehem-based firm was founded by Haydt in 1978, when he had a full-time job in banking. From the start, he preferred to work with an inhouse crew rather than rely on subcontractors, in order to control the quality of his product. This renowned Lehigh Valley custom contractor builds homes priced between $750k and $5M. He builds in 28 cities, including Allentown, Bethlehem, Cementon, Easton, and Old Zion.
Haydt is past president and a lifetime board member of the Lehigh Valley Builders Association (LVBA). He has amassed well over 25 industry awards from LHBA, including Builder of the Year, Best Community Award, One-of-a-Kind Architectural Design, and Best Custom Built Home over $500k ad $1M. One of the company’s most talked-about projects is Barrington Manor, an 18,000-square-foot mansion that was featured on HGTV’s Dream Builders Show.
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