Fast Build for a Good Cause: CALM Showhouse

Extraordinary builds call for extraordinary coordination. While we firmly believe that all our custom homes and remodels are extraordinary projects, a particular job back in 2004 exemplifies a grand coming together of countless skill sets on a very tight deadline. Plus, it was for a good cause.

The project launched with Traditional Home magazine teaming up with Harrison Design to conceive a custom showhouse to benefit CALM (Child Abuse Listening Mediation) in Santa Barbara, a nonprofit center for child-abuse prevention and treatment. Giffin & Crane came aboard as the builder, joined by famed interior designer Barry Dixon, out of Virginia, and Santa Barbara-based landscape architect Katie O’Reilly Rogers. The goal: Get it built in one year.

Before breaking ground, a clear and single vision of the home had to be shared and approved by all parties, with comprehensive design and planning components complete in advance. “Careful up front review and acceptance was critical,” remembers Geoff Crane, adding that cash flow was another critical component. Tradespeople who work fast while maintaining excellent quality ought to be appropriately — and quickly — compensated quickly.

In this case, trades that normally would have had their own space along a comfortable schedule were forced to overlap. Bidders were given this fact up front as we selected seasoned leaders able to coordinate a busy job site with long hours. Patience was key, as was the ability to placate the occasional frustrations inevitable in this new territory. “Everyone checks their ego at the gate,” Crane says. “In order to keep moving forward, we all need to work together candidly.”

The result was a six-bedroom, eight-bath single-family residence across 8,500 square feet, located on 11 acres with ocean and mountain views through oak woodlands. Harrison’s design in the Mission Revival Style showcases Dixon’s Eastern and Western influences and indoor-outdoor fusion.




From Concrete Laborer to Company President


By the time Antonio Jesus Gijón launched AJ Precision Concrete in 2001, he already had 17 years of experience in the trade. A few years later, he signed his first subcontracting project with Giffin & Crane, the all-new construction of a 4,200-square-foot private residence on Eucalyptus Hill, pictured above.

The tough-to-reach parcel was situated on a steep hillside — the extra-deep foundational footings and heavy duty retaining walls demanded the full range of Gijón’s two decades of professional expertise. Clearly, he’d come a long way since setting out at the age of 16 to look for work thousands of miles away from home.  

In 1983, Gijón and a friend immigrated to the U.S. from Oaxaca, Mexico, arriving in Santa Barbara with little more than the experience they had working on rural farms. “I was good with a shovel,” Gijón remembers. In 1984, he started as a laborer with David Bradley Concrete, which most notably built the foundations for the Gregg Motors car dealership and the Hampton Inn.

Four years into the trade, building his skill set along the way, Gijón took a union job with Lash Construction, where he worked as a concrete finisher until 1992. “It was very interesting work,” he says. “For me, it’s always about being a good finisher.”

By the time he started with Concrete Impressions, in 1992, he was running projects as a foreman and starting to think he could run his own show. In 2001, Gijón and his younger brother, Efrien, pulled the trigger.  

Gijón remembers that business took about six months to ramp up, and over the years, he’s expanded his workforce as more project came in. These days — based out of his home office on Santa Barbara’s Westside — Gijón’s up to 18 employees, enough to handle about three or four projects at a time, mostly along the South Coast, with the occasional job in Ventura or “over the hill” in the Santa Ynez Valley, he says. “We’re as good on foundation as we are on custom finish work.”





Build with Us

Remodel with Us

Call Us


Send Us a Message

Thank you.
Your message has been sent.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form