2021 Builder Awards: Builder of the Year, Jeff King & CompanyAuthor:Lindsey Shook
Somehow it’s not completely surprising to learn that San Francisco-based contractor Jeff King’s origins are in sculpture. A review of the homes he’s worked on—from a converted Edwardian near the Presidio to an update of a mid-century modern house in the Mission to the reimagining of a spec home in Sea Cliff—makes it clear that he brings an artist’s eye to the job of construction, nurturing the hidden beauty in each project.
“In the years I worked as a studio artist, I built furniture and cabinets and did small construction jobs,” he reminisces. “Over the years, the construction jobs got bigger, the projects got more interesting, and the company grew quickly.” By the time his son was born, he’d made the decision to focus on construction. “It paid quite a bit better than art sales,” he laughs.
Two decades later, he’s the go-to for many of the Bay Area’s top architects and designers, including Tineke Triggs of Artistic Designs for Living, Feldman Architecture, Aleck Wilson Architects and Malcolm Davis Architecture.
“My background in fine arts makes me extra sensitive to the design intent of the architects and designers with whom we work,” King notes. “My history as a maker gives me a high level of appreciation for the detail and craft required to execute high-level projects.” He credits Remodelers Advantage, the remodeling industry’s most comprehensive support organization, which he joined early on, for giving him a strong foundation in the nuts and bolts of the industry. “Coming from an unconventional background I knew right away that I’d need to learn how to run a business,” he says. “Initially it was like a fast-track MBA. Now my group is like a board of directors. They give me valuable feedback and keep me pointed in the right direction.”
He’s long been a proponent of green building, citing Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard as a role model for his company. “Foremost, I really love how he empowers his people to lead and be successful,” he shares. “And his focus on sustainability and crafting products that stand the test of time is comparable to what I am focused on as well.” In fact, long before it was compulsory, his firm adhered to the practices now corralled under California’s Building Energy Efficiency Standards, colloquially referred to as Title 24. “It mandates a great deal of what we once did voluntarily,” King points out. “That said, there’s still a craft to building healthy, resource-efficient homes. And that’s where my team really makes a difference.” He’s especially energized by the way in which the last two years has reignited people’s investment their homes. “I’m having fun again!”
“The Bay Area is an amazing place to do what I do,” he says, citing both the city’s robust design community and its amazing architecture. “I love when I discover the project is a house I’ve long admired and we get the opportunity to revive it into a beautiful gem for our clients that we’ll all be proud to have been a part of.”
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