A first-generation builder whose son will likely run his business one day, Steve Templeton has a track record of being ahead of the curve in spotting and mastering emerging remodeling niches.

For instance, Templeton Building Co., which took root when Templeton remodeled the small house he had bought for his family, has been building green for about a decade. Both Steve and his son Ben (left in photo), who joined the business four years ago and is now vice president, have green remodeling certifications.

The 35,000-square-foot mixed-use building that the company co-developed and Steve co-owns will be LEED-certified. And a new service called Retro-Green performs energy audits and retrofits homes with green building improvements.

Historic restoration is another Templeton Building niche. From homes deemed historic landmarks to an inn that Henry Ford built, the company is known for producing completed projects that focus on architectural details and maintain their stylistic integrity.

Finally, the company has two additional divisions: a cabinet shop for Cole Wagner Cabinetry, and a service division, which has three full-time employees and a six-year jump-start on the kinds of small projects that many remodelers are only now beginning to entertain taking.

- Leah Thayer