With remodeling projects that frequently top $1 million, Farina & Sons typically works its magic on Orlando's fine older homes without the additional stresses of homeowners living on-site during construction. This frees the company's skilled craftspeople to be their best, satisfying the high expectations that owner Victor Farina began developing as a boy riding along to jobs with his father, Mario (left), from whom he bought the company in 1981.

“I give them nothing but rope to do nothing but a good job,” Farina says. He hires well-rounded employees who excel at everything from foundations to finishes, provides generous pay and benefits, and then gets out of their way. “There are no clocks here, nobody punches in,” Farina says. “They just know that I've got to have top-notch quality.” Some of his employees began as trade contractors, whom he had “eyed for two or three years” before beginning the conversation that might bring them onboard, he says.

Having worked in the field himself until the early '90s, Farina strives to visit each project every few days. It's one of many checks and balances that keep costs in line with estimates and keep profits strong. It also creates the kinds of projects that win awards and attract as many as 1,100 visitors at the annual Parade of Homes.