Fine Arts and Residential Remodeling, Meet Contractor Peter Wyckoff

Residential Contractor Peter Wyckoff Draws Upon His Experience Working on Set Design in Los Angeles, CA. It Inspires the Old House Renovation Done By His Firm Kempton Construction.

Peter Wyckoff spent many years as an in-house art director and set design prop builder for a Los Angeles branding company.

The job blended his interests in photography and the arts with construction, problem solving and architecture. But as soon as a shoot wrapped, Wyckoff’s work would go into a back lot dumpster. Some 13 years after transitioning to a career in home renovation and residential construction, Wyckoff is pleased to see the current historic homes he remodels live beyond the time it takes to get something on film.

“Construction is basically the same business,” said Wyckoff, who started Stoneham, Mass.-based Kempton Construction in 2001. “It’s just that what I do now stays around longer.”

In this latest Designer Discourse, Wyckoff discusses his company, his love for mixed media and fine arts and the challenges in working with older homes. 


Q: Tell us about your construction company.

A: Remodeling and renovation for older homes seems to be the niche. It’s a boutique company. I usually do a lot of work for families with kids, which I enjoy, because it’s something I’m building for them that they’ll have until college.

Q: How did you get into residential home remodeling?

A: I’m one of six kids. We’re basically the Brady Bunch, and we’re all artistic or hands-on in some way or another. My mother is a very talented artist. My brother is a general contractor. I’ve been hands on since I was a kid. I started building things when I was a teenager. I went to art school and majored in mixed media. And that just kind of progressed into the art directing out in California. 

Q: What’s your favorite type of building project? 

A: I do enjoy working on older homes because, as many as you do, there will always be a challenge that you have to remedy and make it work. So that’s always kind of fun.

It can be fun, and it can also be pulling out your hair at the same time. That’s what keeps in interesting. No way in hell could I sit at a desk from 9 to 5.

 Q: Do you have a particular style home you prefer to remodel or a design style you like?

A: No particular style; they’re all good. I do a lot of New England homes, so gambrels or colonials or Victorians. I’m very fond of mid-century modern homes. Having lived in California for a while, there are tons of them out there. I’m also very fond of plantation-style houses. Overall, much of the work done by Kempton Construction is historic home remodels.

View Kempton Constructions Vintage Home Remodel Portfolio on Houzz.

Q: What’s the worst challenge you’ve ever faced in working on an older home?

A: Structural damage, definitely, which has happened on two of my last three jobs. One was a colonial in Winthrop. I’m surprised it’s still standing. We opened that up and there were beams that were incorrectly put in for the second floor. Just a lot of hack jobs over the years. That’s a really big gripe of mine, actually: people who don’t know what they’re doing and do it anyway to sell to the client. I take pride in the work I do for my clients. No one wants to see people taken advantage of. People need to be wary of poor workmanship from fly-by-night remodelers.

Q: What are you seeing right now for renovation and interior design trends?

A: I try to stay away from trends because I want to be a bit more original. But, then again, if you’re dealing with a period house, you want to stay in that period. I do notice, though, that period houses now have more contemporary influences.

Peter Wyckoff can be contacted directly at  www.kemptonconstruction.com

48 Morrison Ave.

Stoneham, Ma. 02180

617.821.6343