Even in a down economy, you can still find quite a few upsides. At least that was the case for Idaho-based Tresidio Homes. The custom homebuilder was founded in 2009 by recent graduates Russ Van Wagenen and Jon Hastings. The two had interned and worked for a number of homebuilders in the past before launching their own business in the spring of 2009. 

“Things couldn’t get much worse for the market that year so we knew that if we could make it in 2009, we could make it in any year,” Van Wagenen explains. Another benefit to starting a business in a down market? “We felt like if we could come in and gain a little bit of marketshare, then as the economy rebounded, we wouldn’t have to increase our marketshare,” Van Wagenen explains. “We could grow by virtue of the economy coming back.” 

For the Skogman family, homebuilding is more than just a business; it’s a family tradition. 

The family’s involvement in the construction trade dates back to the early 20th century, when family patriarch Nels J. Skogman worked as a builder in Sundsval, Sweden. He moved to Perry, N.Y., in 1903, and worked as a carpenter. Skogman’s son Erick started working at the age of 13, delivering lumber with a horse and wagon to a local lumber yard, until the family moved to Omaha, Neb., in 1906.

For Simply Home, its business strategy is not complicated. It is simply to provide clients with quality custom homes.

Since merging in 2011 and starting Simply Home LLC, Patrick Gay and James McCloskey have constructed more than 40 new homes with still more currently under construction and in the planning stages. 

“Simply Home defines itself by providing top customer service and offering clients the opportunity to build homes that reflect their distinct styles, whether that be an elegant brownstone in the city or a colonial, craftsman or even modern single family home in a traditional neighborhood,” says McCloskey, managing partner. “We are proud of all of our work and have enjoyed being a part of the Amelia Square project downtown.”

Shorefront Construction belongs to the next generation of luxury homebuilders that are incorporating technology into their business practices to provide superior service. 

The Fairfield, Conn.-based company began in 2011 and specializes in building luxury custom and spec homes that range in price from $1.2 million to $5 million. “What sets us apart is that we are a young and energetic company that prides itself on our attention to detail when building each home,” owner Dave Kneisel says. “We are fast and effective because we work really well with our trades and focus on a team environment where everyone knows they are part of something much larger than just building a home. We are building a place for our customers to house their memories.” 

Building is in Chris Hilsman’s blood. His father and grandfather built every structure on the family’s dairy farm with their own hands, and when Hilsman’s father finally decided to get out of the dairy business in the early 1980s, homebuilding was a natural progression. Hilsman worked for his father’s company on and off for many years before he ended up in the commercial construction business, but that changed once he visited a friend in Colorado and was offered the opportunity to build custom homes. Hilsman says he fell in love with the challenge and creativity of building custom homes, and that inspired him to found Pilot Builders in 1997. 

From design to the day it turns over the keys of a brand-new house, Payne Family Homes puts itself in the shoes of the homeowner throughout the entire building process. Payne Family Homes builds modern houses in the St. Louis and St. Charles county areas of Missouri. The company has been named one of the top-25 growing companies in St. Louis the past three consecutive years and it credits that growth to knowing where today’s homeowners live and how they want to live. 

Nova Scotia-based Lloyoll Custom Building started out in 2002, providing timber framing and structural packages to developers and homeowners. But after years of focus on structural work, the firm branched out into fine finishing, planning and consulting and eventually offering warrantied project management services.

Now, the company is offering specialized niche work with a new subsidiary business, Coastal Concrete Works, which provides decorative concrete, as a complement to its now thriving full-service custom homebuilding outfit.

For more than 25 years, KOSL Building Group has created mansions in Scarsdale, Rye and Larchmont, N.Y.; and Greenwich, Conn.

“These are big, expensive homes,” Owner Bobby Ben-Simon says. “They are the highest quality you can imagine in a single-family residence.”

The homes are designed in vintage styles recalling the early 1900s. “I’m a big fan of 1900s-era construction,” Ben-Simon says. “They are great quality homes and that is the model of my homes. They are very traditional with extensive molding and trim inside and out.”

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