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A popular home style in the twilight of the American Revolutionary War, the Federal home is one of the country’s most iconic historical architectural styles. This style of home gained popularity due to its straightforward, functional look, but over the centuries it has evolved from its original simple layout. This style originally followed a simple box shape with symmetrical doors and windows. At some point, Federal homes began to feature chimneys and elaborate detailing. Additions to the sides and rear end of the homes were also typical in this home style. This style’s intricacy renders it a timeless classic. That complexity also serves as an antithesis to stone-and-steel Modern and Contemporary homes.
Homeowners who admire the beauty of the legendary Federal Colonial home style should consider the builders in this list. Our editorial team has gathered fifteen of the nation’s finest home builders capable of building Federal Colonial homes.
To come up with the list, we looked at dozens of firms all over the US and assessed each under rigorous criteria. We considered each firm’s general background, experience in making Federal homes, their overall quality of workmanship, and took into consideration press recognition and industry awards as well.
140 Cooke St., Edgartown, MA 02539
Colonial Reproductions has been a leading name in Martha’s Vineyard for over 40 years. Through the years, the firm has provided fast and efficient contracting services from new builds to renovations. This no-nonsense approach to general contracting has brought the firm major awards including two gold BRICC Awards for remodeling and historic renovation. Norman Rankow, a native New Yorker, serves as the company president. He spent his summers in Martha’s Vineyard with his parents, which is why the region is near and dear to Rankow. This genuine understanding of the region gives Rankow a competitive edge in the industry. He served as a Board of Directors Member and President of Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce.
Rankow’s knowledge of Martha’s Vineyard history and culture translates to the portfolio. The firm has an impressive collection of colonial-era homes ranging from Georgian Colonial to Federal Colonial. The Urban Island Village House in the photo is a Federal Colonial home designed by Patrick Ahearn, a residential architect known for colonial-era projects. Ahearn followed traditional methods completing this Federalist project. The home emphasizes symmetry and ornate design as well as a grand stature that only homes of this style possess.
E.W. Tarca Construction
1 Ave., C, Hopkinton, MA 01748
Under the leadership of Ed Tarca, E.W. Tarca Construction has provided luxury custom homes, remodels, and personalized millwork since 2003. Tarca relies on over 20 years of industry experience as an Engineer and a Craftsman. He graduated with an Electrical Engineering degree from Wentworth Institute of Technology. Ed oversees a team of carpenters, woodworkers, and construction professionals and works alongside architects and designers.
The firm integrates its home building services with millwork and full-scale design service. The firm has a 1,500 square-foot design center where customers can find samples of hardware, flooring, lighting, and cabinets. These progressive home building methods reflect the firm’s interesting portfolio.
As seen on the pages of Greater Boston Builder+Architect, Boston Design Guide, and Beautiful Kitchens and Baths. E.W. Tarca has worked on a variety of home styles. The Federal Colonial project in the photo is one of the firm’s best. The home stands in a massive lot surrounded by luxurious amenities, including a tennis court.
Fallon Custom Homes
171 Reservoir St., Needham, MA 02494
Since 1976 Fallon Custom Homes has been an expert in home building in New England. Over the years, the firm has amassed major industry awards including the coveted Prism Awards. The company was also featured in publications like The Boston Globe, Remodeled Homes Magazine, Wellesley Weston Magazine, and Trends Magazine. The firm’s executive is Peter Fallon, an industry professional for over 40 years. He is one of the most tenured builders on this list.
The long years in the industry is evident in the firm’s projects. The firm packs an arsenal of home styles ranging from New England signatures such as Cape Cod, Federal, Georgian, and Craftsman. The home featured in the photo has that archetypal Federal home confidence.
641 Garden Market Dr., Ste. A, Travelers Rest, SC 29690
Gabriel Builders is a famed team of artisanal craftsmen serving Western North Carolina, Upstate South Carolina, and Lake Keowee. Gus Rubio named his homebuilding company after his firstborn son when he founded it in 1984. Gus is a former member of the Home Builders Association Board of Directors and an alumnus of Furman University’s business program. Rubio started working as a quality control manager for a Fortune 100 company and later on decided to start building homes. He led the team to major distinctions including the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Builder of the Year award, Home Nine Bridge Awards, GuildQuality’s Guildmaster Award Honors, and 18 NAHB South Carolina Pinnacle Awards.
The firm knows and understands homes popular in the Carolinas. Gabriel is familiar with traditional and classic home styles; we were especially taken with the French Country Manor in the photo. The home takes inspiration from European architectural elements and Federalist detailings. The silhouette of the home has a pleasing, scaled proportion. The home is covered by porches and outdoor amenities as it overlooks the Chanticleer Golf Course.
Haley Custom Homes
5211 S Quebec St., Greenwood Village, CO 80111
Known for being able to operate under time and budget constraints, Haley Custom Homes is a famed luxury home builder serving the Denver Metro area. Since 1999, the firm has offered home building, remodeling, and commercial construction services, with projects ranging from 5,000 square feet to 16,000 square feet. The firm gained local prominence through its trademark work philosophy of stress-free building. That approach guides the firm’s seamless and focused construction process, and you’ll see the effects of that process throughout the firm’s accelerated precision building system and one-supervisor-per-job policy. Colorado native Dan Fuller is in charge of company operations. Under his tutelage, the firm won several home building awards, including Builder Magazine’s Builder of the Year Denver Runner Up in 2020. Fuller’s understanding of what works and what doesn’t in Denver’s home building scene gives the firm the competitive edge it needs to excel. His keen vision for the local neighborhoods gives shape to age-old designs such as Georgian Colonial, Tudor, Craftsman, and Federal Colonial.
The Federal Colonial home displayed in the photo is an example of his refined sensibility. Fuller and the Haley Custom Homes team tailor-fitted the project to the needs of the homeowner’s Colorado lifestyle. The palette suits the environment perfectly and the silhouette is utterly unique.
2 Garfield Cr., Burlington, MA 01803
JW Construction is a luxury home builder that has provided New England with client-centered services since 1993. The firm is experienced in construction management services, historic preservation, green building, and in-house carpentry. This wide range of services was made possible by the firm’s strong reputation in the region. Thanks to its top-notch craftsmanship and fine-tuned customer service, the firm has secured a loyal customer base in New England. John Wardwell, the company’s principal, established these core values and used these as a benchmark for operations. Wardwell is a construction veteran and a seasoned entrepreneur that has been able to triple the size of his business in just a few years.
The firm espouses a rigorous step-by-step approach covering budgeting, scheduling, construction proper, and weekly site meetings. This meticulous approach is evident in the firm’s portfolio. The firm has extensive experience in building high-end homes in complex home styles. In the featured project, the firm built a massive Federal home in a luxurious courtyard. The home has an unmistakable red brick exterior that speaks to the affluence of the property.
Merlin Custom Home Builders
6408 S Arville St., Las Vegas, NV 89118
Steve and Bart Jones are second-generation builders in Nevada. The Jones family has been residing in Las Vegas since the 1930s, which has given Steve and Bart an unobstructed view of the speedy development of the local home building scene. The duo runs the daily operations of Merlin Custom Home Builders all over Las Vegas and its surrounding areas. Steve established the firm in 1989 in coordination with his friend Audie Coker. The firm gradually gained prominence as you can see in prestigious publications from across the country: Architectural Digest, Luxury, New York Times, Las Vegas Home & Design, and Custom Home Network. The firm also won the 2019 Silver Nugget Award for Design and Architecture, and the 2017 National Custom Home Builder of The Year NAHB.
The firm is experienced when it comes to homes that are worth as much as 25 million dollars. In the firm’s over 350 projects, the firm has plenty of experience when it comes to modern, contemporary, and Federal. This Southern Highlands home with an extensive English rose garden is a prime example of the firm’s workmanship. The home has a quiet, confident appeal because of its interesting color. A light shade of orange matches the gray stonework and cyan detailings. This home is truly unique, even mesmerizing.
168 Bingham Rd., Carlisle, MA 01741
Known for its skillful high-end custom home projects, Merz Construction is an award-winning home builder based in Greater Boston. Jonathan Merz, the company president, has over 30 years of industry experience as a custom home builder and remodeling contractor. He is also experienced in the niche fields of architectural millwork and finish carpentry. His expertise as a master craftsman has enabled the firm to reach great heights, including building a Best of Boston Home, earning Prism Award, and taking home a BSA Design Award.
Publications such as Boston Magazine, Globe Magazine, New England Home, and Boston Design have noticed the firm’s keen eye for details. Merz sees the job of a home builder as an integrator of the architect’s vision and the homeowner’s expectations. The Federal Colonial home dubbed as North Bridge is a historic project in Concord, Massachusetts. The home combines historic detailings with modern-day amenities such as a yoga room, sauna, and an art studio.
8 Turning Leaf Dr., Windham, ME 04062
At the age of 16, Mike Manning dreamt of becoming a homebuilder. He found a set of home plans in a magazine that sparked his interest in homes and the art of homebuilding. In 1987, he built that exact home for his growing family with his wife, Anne. Anne is a design specialist and real estate broker. The letters making up MGM correspond to the different family names of those who have influenced Mike. The husband-and-wife team of Mike and Anne is central to the firm’s mom and pop appeal. The couple found joy in making homes that provide shelter for the same family bonds that theirs did.
MGM’s portfolio includes over 200 homes. The firm is capable of a variety of remodels and custom homes completed in various styles. The 1,320 square-foot home in the photo is a Federal-era Colonial home in Raymond, Maine. The firm was able to put a chic appeal in this three-bedroom home. Neutral colors and various shades of white make the home feel warm and inviting to both guests and homeowners.
Parkinson Building Group
25616 AR-10, Little Rock, AR 72135
For the past 20 years, Parkinson Building Group has been building unique and time-tested homes all over Central Arkansas. The firm has built a name synonymous with quality craftsmanship and friendly customer service. Arkansas is at the core of the firm’s home-building mission. Principal Bill Parkinson dedicated his life’s work to the development of his local community and its surrounding neighborhoods. He is an alumnus of the University of Arkansas and a prominent figure in the region. Under his influence, the firm has been noticed by publications such as Luxury Pools + Outdoor Living and Home with a View.
Parkinson is familiar with a number of home styles both popular and new to the Arkansas market. The firm is experienced in French, Farmhouse, and Federal Colonial homes. The featured home design takes direct inspiration from the Modern American Farmhouse with design elements alluding to the Federal Colonial home style. The home has the sloping roof and symmetrical window panes present in Federal homes and combines it with the modest appeal of the reliable Farmhouse style.
Payne & Payne Builders
10750 Mayfield Rd., Chardon, OH 44024
Design-build firm Payne & Payne Builders is a family-owned-and-operated business in Northeast Ohio. The firm is composed of a team of architects, designers, and construction professionals offering thoughtful design and detail-oriented construction. The team is led by the Payne family. Mike Payne, Sr. founded the firm in 1993 alongside his brother David Payne. Mike served as the past president of the Cleveland Home Builders Association.
The firm aspires to create complex and recognizable homes all over Northeast Ohio. The home featured in the photo has recognizable Federal Colonial elements such as the symmetry and stature which are fused on contemporary details, such as the seamless windows. This house perfectly merges the classic and the modern in this beautifully bespoke project.
Phil Kean Design Group
912 W Fairbanks Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789
Phil Kean went to Harvard and the University of Washington for his Master’s (please delete the apostrophe) in Architecture and his MBA degrees. His namesake firm has over 30 years of experience creating designs that are intuitive, practical, and timeless. The firm is also known for providing green building services recognized by the USGBC, Sustainable Furnishings Council, and the Florida Green Building Coalition. This design sensibility has been met with major awards such as “Best in Show” of the American Residential Design Awards program. The firm also appeared in Florida Design, Rob Report, Rhapsody, and Interior Appeal.
The featured project in the photo is the (delete “the”) “Adams Hall”, a Federal Colonial home with a timeless look and well-crafted detailings. The façade has whitewashed brick, a copper crowned portico, and copper gutters. The home has budding greenery in front and an oyster shell driveway, completing its classical atmosphere.
Richard Harp Homes
17200 Chenal Pkwy., Ste. #300 Little Rock, AR 72223
Richard Harp’s in-depth understanding of the Arkansas housing market and residential construction has been evolving since 1994. Through the years he carefully crafted residential construction services that are sensitive to the budgetary needs of homeowners and to the quality necessary to build amazing homes. Harp said that time, quality, and value make the three-legged stool in which the business is centered. The firm has won local awards, such as Best Home Builder by At Home in Arkansas since 2010, and the Best Home Builder by Arkansas Life in 2014.
The firm’s portfolio includes features in publications like Home in Arkansas, Arkansas Life, and About You. These features demonstrate the firm’s tight relationship with Arkansas’s communities and heritage. The firm also knows its way around home styles popular in the state, including Colonial home styles, Manor, and Craftsman homes. The featured project is an estate in Pleasant Valley. The home nods to quintessential Colonial home elements of symmetry and proportion. This home packs elegant details inside-out with cool and subtle colors combing throughout the space.
S + H Construction
26 New St., Cambridge, MA 02138
High-end residential construction and renovation firm S+H Construction has been around for over 40 years. The firm was founded by Alex Slive and Doug Hanna in 1978 to serve the residents of Greater Boston. Slive and Hanna are life-long Cambridge residents and seasoned builders of many local homes. Hanna serves as Vice President on the council of the Cambridge Historical Society. In 2016, long-term team member Sarah Lawson purchased the firm from Slive and Hanna. She owned and operated a small contracting firm prior to joining S+H. The triad handles the 60-person team providing premium renovations, custom homes, and special projects.
The firm’s bouquet of completed homes includes multiple styles, all true to the firm’s Boston roots. Some of the firm’s projects have been highlighted by local publications including Northshore Home Magazine, Modern Luxury Interiors, and New England Home
The Belmont home pictured is a Federal Colonial home completed in rich blue. The home is a refurbished 1925 home built with a large, open kitchen and a living room provided by the firm. This project is a hidden gem in the local community.
8401 Connecticut Ave., Ste. #310 Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Wentworth Studio is an architecture, interior design, and remodeling firm serving the states of Maryland, Washington DC, and Virginia. Bruce Wentworth acts as the head of the studio, banking on his hands-on experience in large-scale luxury residences and as a featured writer of architecture in publications like Architecture DC, Washingtonian, and Luxury Homes. His leadership has brought the firm multiple NARI Contractor of the Year awards.
Since its establishment in 2004, the firm has captured the attention of local and national publications such as Hillrag, Home and Design, Home Magazine, Washington Post, and Bethesda Magazine. The firm has a footing in major home styles including the Federal home style. The firm knows the history and nuances of the Federal home style as well as the intricacies that are necessary to make this style work. The Federal Colonial home in the photo testifies to the firm’s prowess in classical home styles. Red bricks and deep shades of black provide a striking contrast that creates a timeless look.