Influenced by the small French town of Menton just kilometers away from the Italian border, Restaurateur and Executive Chef, David Kinch, worked with RVH Designs and Testorff Construction to bring this causal Mediterranean restaurant to the Aptos Village. This was a very collaborative effort between all parties, to ensure the vision of the restaurant was […]

Schwann Lake

On a bare dirt lot held for many years, the design conscious client was now given the ultimate palette to bring their dream home to life. This brand new single family residence includes 3 bedrooms, 3 1/2 Baths, kitchen, dining, living, laundry, one car garage, and second floor deck of 352 sq. ft. After much wrangling through the county […]

Rio del Mar Modern

Testorff construction worked extremely close with the owners to bring their modern vision to life. This unique primary residence expanded the simplicity of a 1,400 sq ft single-story to double its size with this complete remodel.  Substantial rot repair, plumbing and wiring was required to match current code standards, yet the team managed to preserve the original integrity and personality of the home.

The House On Depot Hill

Another Derek Van Alstine cottage gem, this distinctive home, perched on the Cliffs of Depot Hill is a modern updated take on the classic storybook homes popular in Hollywood in the 1920’s and 30’s. While there is no official definition of what makes a storybook home, they all have whimsical and playful elements, often seemingly […]

La Selva Gem

This modern beauty is the result of a construction project that went totally right. The owners are the sweetest people you ever want to meet. They are smart, savvy and have excellent communication skills. They shared their desires and trusted us to get the job done. The Tuscan inspired home sits on top of a […]


The Bantam Restaurant demonstrates what can be achieved on a minimal budget with good communication and cooperation between the owner and contractor. A tenant improvement project, we converted a personal fitness studio into a boutique wood fired pizza restaurant in just four short months. Working closely with the owner made for an easy decision process […]

LEED Platinum House

The first LEED-H Platinum certified home in Santa Cruz County, as well as landing us our second Santa Cruz City Green Building Award, this home is loaded with features. Radiant heat floors, water catchment, passive solar and Weiland Liftslide glass doors that, when lowered, the weight of the door, a special gasketing system, and multi-point […]

Harbor View Home

Situated next to Schwan Lagoon and within sight of the Santa Cruz Harbor Beach, this full demo required significant excavation. We repacked the native soil and brought in engineered fill dirt to provide support for the foundation. This Derek Van Alstine gem is designed to take advantage of the spectacular views surrounding it. A reverse […]

Santa Cruz Mountain Home

From a reconfiguration of interior spaces to allow for a more open and flowing floor plan, to a new roof, this was a comprehensive interior remodel. We worked within a gated property with security fencing and surveillance alarm, requiring attention to security of the neighborhood as well. This beautiful conversion includes acustom portico entry with […]

Cliff House

This house had the worst termite damage we’ve ever seen. There were drainage problems. Bad for a house sitting atop a cliff. A major rebuild was required to bring it up to code. We rebuilt 60% of the original structure. It leaked like mad and we made it a water-tight structure. Spray-foam insulation and a […]

Seascape Home

Originally built in 1976, new owners requested a full remodel and the addition of a second story above the garage. The house was demolished down to the framing in order to reconfigure the interior. Note how the master bedroom was opened up to include an open-air en-suite bathroom. The vaulted kitchen transformed a cramped dark […]

Sushi Garden

A classic remodel, this popular Capitola restaurant expanded into an adjoining space, doubling in size. We took special care and precautions that allowed them to remain open for business during phase 1 of the expansion and phase 2 remodeling of the original restaurant. To minimize the impact on their business, a strict 4-month timeline had […]

Lofrumento Project

This was an extensive interior remodel including kitchen, 3 baths, living room, dining room and family room. We modernized the home to include a 6-zone distributed audio with separate home theater designation, custom millwork, hand-scraped hickory floors, as well as custom box beams and moldings. To make it more environmentally friendly we added on-demand water […]

Upscale Kitchens & Baths

You might not think of bathrooms as being beautiful, but we build them with character. Kitchens are often the hub of a home. It is our experience that a kitchen remodel can completely transform a house.

Sun Collection & Mitigation

The sun provides free energy all day long. Why not utilize it?

Solar Panels

The cost of solar panels continues to drop and programs from state and local agencies can make it possible to install them with little up-front expense. If you live in a sunny area, they can turn your building into an energy producer, repaying you the cost many times over.


Don’t cut costs by removing or reducing awnings. An awning, correctly sized for the sun exposure of your building, can reduce sunlight coming in during the summer, but allow it in during the winter, when you want it.

Passive Solar

Passive solar systems use windows, walls, and floors to collect, store, and distribute solar energy as heat in the winter and to reject it in the summer. It is called passive solar or climatic design because the systems don’t use mechanical and electrical devices.

Cool & Living Roofs

Cool roofs are rooftops that are painted light colors to increase the albedo (surface reflectivity) of the building. We have also built roofs from plywood covered with reflective radiant barrier sheathing to achieve this result. This prevents heat from penetrating into a building, keeping it cooler on hot days and reduces the cost of keeping it cool. A living roof, sometimes called a green roof, is a building roof that is partially or completely covered with plants. They absorb rain, provide insulation and help mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect.

Commercial Heat Island Effect Mitigation

An Urban Heat Island (UHI) is defined as the rise in temperature of a man-made area resulting in a distinct warm area among the relatively cool area of the nearby natural landscape. The effect of UHI is an increase in overall energy use for cooling, which in turn, requires increased energy production by power plants creating heat-trapping greenhouse gasses and particulate matter pollution. In addition, UHI intensity peaks have been linked to heat-related illness and fatalities.

In commercial construction, there exists significant potential for large areas to collect both sun and water. Buildings are the biggest source of greenhouse gasses. Solar panel covered parking lots (solar gardens) and rooftop shade gardens, or living roofs, can reduce the Heat Island Effect of parking lots and buildings.


The potential performance of a new development is vast. A mindset that balances cost, time and aesthetics is essential.

Door Choices

Distance to public transportation, stores, restaurants and services affects the energy efficiency of a new development.

Insulate Wall Penetrations

Buildings that share resources, like apartments with ground level shops, require less use of resources.

The Building Envelope

Indoor air quality is a primary concern of modern builders. An efficiently functioning building has a tight envelope while providing controlled sources of fresh air. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification specifications guide us in all of our projects, regardless of certification goals.

Spray Foam Insulation

Spray foam insulation saves on energy costs. US Dept. of Energy studies indicate that 40% of a home's energy is lost as the result of air infiltration through walls, windows and doorways. Buildings treated with spray foam insulate as much as 50% better than traditional insulation products.

Spray foam also protects against moisture, which in turns reduces the chances of mold and mildew. In addition, it reduces noise, acting as a barrier preventing sound transfer through the walls, roof and floors.

Sealant Between Framing Gaps

Injecting sealant in the spaces between the framing reduces airflow, increasing a building’s efficiency.

Foundation To Sill Plate Insulation

Though it may seem impossible for there to be gaps due to a building’s weight, heat is easily lost between the sill plate and the foundation. Insulating these gaps will help keep your heating costs low and make your building more energy efficient.

Window Choices

Like any fenestration (exterior openings of a building), windows can be thermal holes. Up to 25% of heat loss in a typical home is through the windows. There are many choices in windows and we can help you pick the best ones for your project.

Door Choices

We’ve all felt a draft coming under a door. What we don’t usually feel is the heat moving through a door. An insulated energy efficient door has more than good seals around the edges.

Insulate Wall Penetrations

Whenever you put a hole in a wall, for plumbing, outlets, etc., you create an opportunity for energy loss.

The Foundation

We must get past the idea of digging a hole and putting a house over it. The foundation is the largest thermal mass in a building. This massive heat sink can be your friend.

Radiant Heat & Floors

A building with radiant heat floors is more cost-effective to heat than a forced-air system. With a forced-air system, heated air is pushed out of the structure—requiring more air to be heated. Radiant heat provides a very efficient method for maintaining a consistent temperature.

For those more visually-inclined: forced-air is as efficient as a hair dryer for keeping you warm, while radiant heat is like a good pepper—it goes down into the core and warms from the inside out.

Outside-In Warming vs. Inside-Out Warming

Building Orientation

The sun changes its position throughout the year. If you have the opportunity, careful study can allow you to place your building to take advantage of sun and shade.

Foundation Height

Ground moisture and poor water flow can cause wooden siding to rot. Having an elevated foundation can be beneficial during severe weather events.

Vapor Barrier Under Foundation

Moisture in your foundation can cause decay, termite problems and mold, which can migrate upward. A vapor barrier also helps insulate a home, improve heating and cooling performance and affect interior air quality.

Insulation Under Foundation

Remember that the foundation is a giant heat sink. An un-insulated foundation can result in a large heat loss from a house with an otherwise tight envelope.

Water Efficiency

Every aspect of water movement in and around the house is important. Efficient water management lowers your operating costs.

Water Catchment

Rainwater can be harvested for reuse before it seeps into the aquifer or runs off into the drainage system. Uses include water for gardens, greywater systems and more. One benefit is that, despite climate change forecasts, rain is 'renewable' at acceptable volumes. Water catchment systems generally have low operating costs, providing water at the point of consumption.

Water Recovery

Greywater is created by such activities as dishwashing, laundry and bathing. It can be recycled and used for landscape watering. Greywater use reduces demand on conventional water supplies and sewage treatment systems and reduces energy use and chemical pollution from treatment.

Upscale Kitchens & Baths

Every system in your building affects its performance.

Heat Pumps

Heat pumps pull heat out of the air or ground to heat a building, but can be reversed to cool instead. A big bonus of a heat pump is that you only need one system for heating and cooling. Heat pumps are extremely efficient. They simply transfer heat, rather than using fuel to create it. This makes them a little more environmentally friendly than a gas-burning furnace.

LED Lighting

EnergyStar-qualified LEDs provide stable light output over their projected lifetime. They are compact and can be used singly or in an array. They give off light in a specific direction, making them more efficient than conventional bulbs that project light in all directions. LEDs have a lifespan of 25 – 45 times longer than incandescent bulbs.

Smart Environmental Systems

Systems that learn the occupant’s habits over time make a building run more efficiently without the guesswork of complex timing systems.

Upscale Kitchens & Baths

You might not think of bathrooms as being beautiful, but we build them with character. Kitchens are often the hub of a home. It is our experience that a kitchen remodel can completely transform a house.