Building a Custom Home in 2018

RobbinsReedCustom Homes

Thinking about building a custom home on the Central Coast in 2018? Take your time to select details you love that will ultimately make a difference in your day-to-day. We’re sharing inspiring new trends to consider in the New Year – directly from the creative minds at Houzz:

1. Dedicated chopping and baking stations.

Regular countertop height is fine for those casual weekly meals. But for larger, more involved recipes that require a lot of chopping, rolling or other strenuous maneuvers, a lower countertop is more ideal. That’s why some avid home cooks are gravitating toward dedicated chopping and baking stations that are often a continuation of a larger, standard-height island.

2. Matte black finishes.

Last year, satin brass made its takeover of kitchens. This year, look out for matte black in bathrooms as well as kitchens. Homeowners looking for a statement-making look that’s contemporary and complements a variety of materials and styles are embracing this tough, versatile finish. Companies like Moen, whose matte black finish is shown here, are expanding their products to include more options in the durable finish.

3. More color in kitchens.

While white kitchens aren’t even close to going away, expect to see a rise in color for the kitchen, especially other neutrals like gray and blue. Plus, warm wood tones are becoming a popular replacement for painted cabinets, leading to sophisticated, rich palettes.

4. Antibacterial materials.

Imagine a countertop that helps take care of that salmonella bacteria for you after preparing chicken for dinner. That’s the idea behind several materials presented at the International Exhibition of Ceramic Tile and Bathroom Furnishings (CERSAIE) in Italy back in September.

The new K-Life technology incorporated into Porcelanosa’s Krion solid surface not only is antibacterial but also eliminates chemicals that come into contact with it, as well as purifies the surrounding air.

How does it accomplish this? Through a process called photocatalysis, which uses a semiconductor in the surface to enhance a reaction to light, killing bacteria and breaking up pollutants.

5. Dining tables in the kitchen.

Not everyone is in favor of a big island, especially for eating family meals. Who wants to face the same direction all the time, as in a diner? Many homes, especially those with smaller kitchens, are reconsidering a traditional dining table in place of an island.

6. Wallpaper-like tile.

There’s new tile that looks like wood, concrete, resin, fabric and even wallpaper. The latter is prized for offering the elaborate pattern look of modern-day wallpapers while being durable enough to wipe down with a sponge and detergent.

7. Glass insert for tub-shower combos.

Many still love their shower curtains, but partial glass dividers are coming on strong. Glass shower panels keep compact spaces airy and open, allowing a clear view to a statement shower tile or more natural light.

8. Concrete accents.

Concrete has always been a popular material choice, but don’t be surprised to see it in more unexpected ways, such as in furniture, decorative accessories, wallcoverings, countertops and tile. “My clients are expressing a desire to use materials in unusual ways,” says designer and Houzz Contributor Jennifer Ott. “Concrete is as popular as ever, but it’s showing up in unexpected places such as in furniture, decorative accessories and even as concrete-look wallcoverings.”

Designer Yanic Simard agrees. “The humble material and its comforting cool tones mixed with light linen and pearl grays add relaxed air to any space,” he says.

9. Bold-colored sofas.

A daring sofa color tackles two common design challenges: adding color and creating a focal point. If you feel like your living room is lacking in either of these areas, consider taking your sofa color up a notch. Blue, pink and green are all great places to start.

10. Casual and calm modern bedrooms.

You can’t decorate your way to a good night’s sleep. In other words, if you’re looking for a calm, relaxing bedroom — ideal for a restful night — you don’t want the space dripping with ornate decor, busy patterns or eye-opening color. Instead, a pared down, verging-on-minimalist look that incorporates soothing neutrals, soft fabrics and simple, functional pieces is the direction homeowners are heading.

11. Defining kitchens in open floor plans.

Every time a bell rings, an interior wall gets knocked down. OK, maybe not that frequently but it seems like the open floor plan has dominated homes in recent years, and not all homeowners love it. And some are going the other way, seeking some sort of delineation of space, such as in the photo shown here. A half wall of cabinetry creates a semi-closed space between the kitchen and living room.

12. Millwork feature walls and detailing.

Shiplap, millwork panels and reclaimed wood boards have been around for a while now. But with affordable big box store options and the relative ease with which the average homeowner is able to DIY these materials as accents, expect to see this trend to continue for some time, especially as bedroom feature walls.

13. Hidden range hoods.

A statement range hood can make an ideal focal point in a kitchen. But in more compact spaces, the last thing you may want is another bulky appliance. Coupled with under-cabinet outlets, hidden appliances allows the small amount of backsplash to appear large, streamlined and elegant.

14. Mixing metals, texture and sheen.

“People are mixing metallic elements and are paying more and more attention to sheen and texture,” Ott says. Think shiny brass mixed with matte black steel, or a honed countertop with matte tile backsplash.

15. Countertop details.

Sure, it’s important to focus on choosing the right countertop material for your needs, but don’t stop there. There are a bevy of options to ratchet up the look and function of your countertop.

16. Trough or bucket sinks.

These deep, wide and durable sinks are great for hardworking laundry rooms and busy kids bathrooms. And their rise dovetails nicely with the expected continued prevalence of a quieted-down modern farmhouse style.

17. Fish-scale pattern backsplash.

If you’ve grown bored of subway tile but still want something simple and classic, check out a scalloped or fish-scale pattern. The look offers more movement, and a bit more interest, than rectangular tile but is still versatile enough to work with almost any kitchen style.

18. Rich colors.

Warm grays with rich, earthy shades will edge out cooler neutrals for a more sumptuous look. “I’m seeing a move toward warm grays and rich, earthy shades of camel, rust, tobacco and brown-blacks,” Ott says.

19. Vintage lighting.

Pros are reporting more interest in vintage-style fixtures, such as aged copper pendant lights. “There’s a huge focus on lighting right now, especially vintage pieces, which is also considered to be a great art solution,” Simard says.

20. Dedicated broom closets.

It takes a lot to keep a home looking clean: brooms, brushes, mops, dusters, Swiffers, cleaning supplies. And finding space to keep these things organized while always at the ready shouldn’t be an afterthought.

That’s why homeowners are gravitating toward a dedicated broom closet or cabinet. Clever rollouts and design tactics that make use of slim spaces, such as the inches between the side of a fridge and a wall, can turn out highly functional storage units for cleaning tools.

21. Florals make a comeback.

This popular print is getting a revival and a bit of an update, say Ott and Simard. Forget low-energy patterns, and think botanical references in high-contrast colors and oversize blooms. “I’m seeing florals making a comeback,” but not the traditional variety, Ott says. “These are bold, graphic floral prints in high-contrast colors such as black and white or teal and gold.”

22. Fewer white or stainless-steel sinks.

White and stainless steel sinks have had their day, says designer Ott. Expect more concrete, stone, copper and granite composite sinks in darker hues of gray, bronze or black.

As you can see, there’s a ton of details to take into consideration when building your luxury dream home. Know that Robbins|Reed Custom Homes is here to transform your ideas into a tangible place all your own to call home. Contact us today at (805) 316-5046.


Construction Update II: Cava Robles


The holidays are in full swing but we can’t stop dreaming about spring break. Why? Luxury RV resort Cava Robles is expected to open in May of 2018. Robbins|Reed Builders are making serious progress on this project. Scope out their latest blog to see the construction site photos for yourself. While you’re at it – note ALL the amenities designed for active guests (the list is longer than Santa’s).

Robbins|Reed: Mustang Movers and Shakers


The Fall issue of Cal Poly’s Construction Management Department’s magazine, Construction Innovator, features none other than Robbins|Reed and we’re stoked about it.

The profile shares how our very own Construction Management Mustangs Grant Robbins (’94) and Shawn Reed (’92) have made a practice of hiring talented Cal Poly alums. Founded in 2007, our San Luis Obispo contracting and real estate development firm has encouraged alumni hiring alumni for over a decade. The feature also recognized Robbins|Reed for what we are – the premier builders on California’s Central Coast.

Both Robbins and Reed were given shout-outs for their contributions in our community. Robbins for his involvement with the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, and Reed for his outstanding leadership of Habitat for Humanity. Not to mention, he’s a board member of the Home Builders Association of the Central Coast.

Beyond founding partners Robbins and Reed, our capable team is made up of numerous Cal Poly graduates, including:

  • Partner Aaryn Abbot (‘06)
  • Vice President Ryan Adams (’06)
  • Director of Custom Homes Stephen Griggs (’00)
  • Project Manager Gil Bastidas (’12)
  • Construction Manager Scott Merson (‘05)
  • Accounting Administrator Matt Reddell (’11)
  • Project Engineer Jeff Hadley (‘16)

Did you know Robbins|Reed supports the Cal Poly Women in Construction club? In fact – our amazing intern Sarah De Los Reyes serves as a club officer. We’re lucky to count on her.

Construction Management Lecturer Stacy Kolegraff founded the Cal Poly Women in Construction club in February of this year. Kolegraff shares that the organization is dedicated to empowering women through mentorship, networking, youth outreach, and industry support, including scholarships. The club is open to all Cal Poly students interested in construction.

That’s a wrap on our latest local headlines. Know that our commitment to hiring Cal Poly graduates and supporting women in construction is important to every one of us.

Noveno: A Place for Modern Living


Noveno is a collection of 23-single family Avenue homes and 44-single family Parkway homes, pedestrian and bike paths, parks, and open space off Orcutt Road in San Luis Obispo. Read all about our new project here.

What Custom Home Builders Want You to Know About the Building Process

RobbinsReedCustom Homes

At Robbins|Reed Custom Homes our passion is building yours. The custom home building process can be intimidating but it doesn’t need to be. At Robbins|Reed we keep you in the loop on everything from pulling permits to final punch lists because we believe trust is earned. Now our custom home builders are sharing what you need to know to make the custom home building process as positive as possible.

  • Choosing a builder is an important decision. You will be working with them from start to finish. You’ll want to select a reliable team to ensure smooth communication and a more efficient timeframe.
  • You’ll be working with a wide array of documents, contracts, and plans – so keeping organized is key. A good rule of thumb is to keep a paper trail. Don’t throw out any notes or documents, just in case.
  • Know the 10 most common major phases:
  1. Preparing the site and pouring foundation
    • Clearing the site (think rocks, trees, and any debris)
    • Leveling the site
    • Digging the well/septic if needed
  2. Rough framing of the house
  3. Rough plumbing/electrical/HVAC
  4. Insulation installation
  5. Drywall and interior textures
  6. Interior trim, driveways and walkways installed
  7. Countertops, flooring installation
  8. Electrical finishing and installation of bathroom fixtures
  9. Design finishings
  10. Landscaping
  • In between many of the steps above there will be inspections required to ensure everything is up to code and correct. The Robbins|Reed Custom Home builders know the drill and can walk you through the often complicated process.
  • Surprises can and will pop up. Our team stays of top of the timeline to stay on track and on budget, no matter what unexpected issues arise.
  • Know that you will be making countless decisions in the custom home building process. Every detail can be tailored to your liking from flooring and countertops to windows, paint colors, and even subterranean wine cellars. It helps to be prepared. Creating a Pinterest board is one way to share the look and feel you’re going for.

The custom home building process can be overwhelming. Know that we’re here to help. We’ve found the happiest clients tend to follow their intuition. At Robbins|Reed Custom Homes our team is dedicated to your vision of perfection. Compromise is never part of the equation. To learn more, email or call (805) 543-7277.

Thinking About Building a Custom Home? Here’s How to Choose the Right Piece of Property

RobbinsReedCustom Homes

Choosing the right property for a custom home.

Dreaming of building a custom home in San Luis Obispo? Before you start searching for property, you’ll want to consider a key checklist starting with the most important, location! There’s more to it than you might think.


Before anything else, make sure you can build! You don’t want to fall in love with a stunning piece of property, only to discover that you’re blocked from building by local, State, or Federal regulations. Before you buy, check with county offices to see if rules require an environmental impact study. You may have to prove your project will not negatively impact local animals, vegetation, or watershed. Soil and geologic studies may also be required in some areas of San Luis Obispo County.

One you know you can build, consider the following:

  • What part of town do you envision living in?
  • Is this area growing? Will it become significantly more populated?
  • How big is the lot? Will it fit your needs?
  • Examine the terrain – more hilly or rocky acreage can be difficult to build on
  • How will the style, layout and colors of your future home compliment the natural contours of the land and surrounding environment?
  • Are the views what you’re looking for?
  • Consider sunlight and exposure to natural light
  •  If you work, what will your daily commute be like?
  • Note your proximity to an airport, train tracks, or a busy highway/street

If you have children, you’ll also want to research nearby school districts. If you’re a retiree or thinking about retiring, consider proximity to community amenities such as recreational facilities, fitness centers, emergency medical services, and more.


What services will you need? Where you source utilities will differ wildly depending on location. If you’re buying a developed subdivision lot, you can generally expect streets with gutters, sewers, and direct access to water, gas, and electric lines. On the other hand, if you’re considering more rural country living, almost none of those utilities will be readily available. Will you access water from a well or from a company? What are your options for phone or Internet? Those will vary so do your research. If you’re considering a remote lot, be aware that even if the property is listed as having access to municipal utilities like water and sewer, if you are far away from the utility provider you may be charged a significant fee to bring the utility lines out to your property. These fees can be as high as $100/foot, so if your lot were 300 feet away from utility lines, you would need to factor in an additional cost of $30,000. Essentially, be sure you understand what’s possible before making your purchase.


Particular communities may have codes of restrictions that affect your ability to design and style your home the way you want. Properties may also be located in an area zoned for commercial or residential, so it’s possible you could wind up with an unwanted commercial building nearby. That’s why looking ahead matters. When you keep in mind what the area may look like in years to come, you won’t be surprised by unexpected changes in the future.

Thinking about building a beautiful custom home in San Luis Obispo soon? Visit our Custom Homes website or call (805) 316-5046.