Paul and James Consiglio have building in the blood, with distinct responsibilities and expertise they bring to the table as one of the most revered building firms on the East End. Elder brother, Paul, brought decades of building experience to the firm, while James handles the intense administrative side of the complex building process that comes with the Hamptons landscape. Indy caught up with Paul Consiglio to learn how they got here and what it takes to build a show-stopping Consiglio home.
How did you start out building luxury homes?
I actually started working in the building industry in my late teens working on renovations and all phases of construction. Then, I worked for two years with a construction firm in Montauk run by Charles Kamensky and Donald Chaloupka, both well versed in custom home building and absolute perfectionists.
I learned more about construction, but more importantly, I learned about integrity of work and doing a good job regardless of the size of the project. After that, I ventured out on my own and slowly and steadily built relationships with architects and clients, and with a great deal of hard work and tenacity, started working on larger, more complex homes.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are currently working on two projects. One is on oceanfront property and the other is in Water Mill, and both are high-end and cutting-edge modern. We are also in the very early stages of two more projects, one of which is on the North Fork.
What is it like working with your brother?
It’s great. I know I have somebody that I can trust 100 percent. Not only does he have my back, he also oversees the financial end of the business and makes sure the clients are protected. We both agreed early on the best way to run the business is by having an open book policy. We are both always acting in our clients’ best interest and it’s a true blessing that we share the same morals and integrity.
I think in most business relationships, it’s hard to find someone that you can work with day in and day out without a bit of occasional friction. We really don’t have that problem. I wouldn’t want to have to run the company without him. Even on his worst day, he can still do the work of two people.
Consiglio Builders’ portfolio includes both classic traditional shingled Hamptons homes as well as epic modern compounds. Which do you prefer building?
I definitely prefer modern, as they’re just more challenging in many ways. For example, you’re usually dealing with materials such as concrete, steel, and glass, which have zero tolerances for error and in most of these homes, every cubic inch is needed for the complex infrastructure. The automated systems alone take up great deal of space.
You have a lot more flexibility in building a traditional home. Of course, depending on the design and scope of detail, they can also be a challenge, but not quite as much as a modern home. It’s obvious that modern homes are more in demand these days, perhaps because they seem to let in more of the beautiful landscape that we all enjoy in the Hamptons.
How would you define the Consiglio Builders style?
Fast-paced, detail-oriented, luxury custom homes with an open book policy We pride ourselves on focusing on the smallest of details, because it’s not only what you see when you walk through a house, it’s also how you feel. Sometimes the subtlest item can make a huge difference.
This high level of attention is throughout the entire project, not just the finishes. The house has to not only look great, but it must also function for the client, and meet their needs in every respect. We also stand behind our work long after the project is complete. We not only build homes, but in most cases, we also build relationships.
Do you have a favorite town to build in?
Not really. We’ve completed many projects from Southampton to Montauk, but we’ve also worked as far west as Great Neck and a couple of stunning homes on the North Fork. It’s nice to stay local if possible.
We also like working on the East End because we often work through the permitting process and we are hyper-familiar with the local governmental agencies and their requirements, particularly in the environmentally sensitive areas we build on.
Do you often bid on projects or are you referred by the homeowner or architect?
Most of our work comes to us on a referral or from “word of mouth” from a previous homeowner/client. There is always a sense of satisfaction and pride when our previous work becomes a recommendation. But we often are brought in by the architects to bid on a specific project also.
Do you offer architecture or interior design to your homeowners as an in-house service?
We do not. Depending on the project and the client’s program, we will make an introduction to an architect we think would suit the client. This seems to work well because each architect usually has his or her specific field of expertise. An in-house design team may not be as well versed in all types of homes. This in-house service would work well if we were more of a spec builder.
Do you work with specific architects?
Yes. Over the years, we’ve had the good fortune to work with many local architects, such as John Laffey; we’ve done some beautiful traditional homes together. He’s a great architect and a very nice person all around. We’ve worked with Dave and Dawn Harvey, who designed a fantastic modern home on ocean front property that had major constraints. We worked through the process together and completed a great project.
We have a relationship with Barnes and Coy architects. I had the great privilege to work with the late Robert Barnes — simply boundless talent and a friend as well. We carry on our relationship with Chris Coy, another world class architect. We’ve built several homes together. Simply put, two of the most creative architects. Their homes will stand the test of time, true modern architecture. This is just to name a few.
What is the process once all the contracts are signed prior to breaking ground?
Permitting and the bureaucratic process needs to be started as soon as possible. We hit the ground running. Then we schedule coordination with all subs and team members and secure as many of the long lead-time materials, so the project can move forward without interruption.
It’s extremely important to always be looking forward so that as the project evolves, we stay well ahead of the curve. Having the right project manager in place is absolutely essential, and a schedule is built and fine-tuned every step of the way.
Do you offer other services, like maintenance or renovation of projects?
We always assist our clients with their maintenance needs, and if a renovation or addition is needed, we are always available to perform the work. Who better to perform this type of work than the original builder? There’s a continuity that exists with the original builder, a certainly level of comfortability as well.
We now document all of our projects with cutting edge technology that periodically records a virtual reality walk-through of the project, so in the event that there is post construction work to be done, it’s a real plus to be able to exactly locate and identify what’s in the walls. We can look back to any stage of construction.
Once your homes are complete, do you work with a specific real estate agent, or do you sell them directly?
We are exclusively a high-end custom home building company, so in that sense, we don’t use real estate agents. That being said, we have close relationships with many professional agents and we will often get called in to do a rough inspection of a home for a potential buyer, and in many of these cases, we are selected as the builder if a project is born from this process.
In what ways have you evolved as a builder?
Building technology is constantly evolving. We stay educated on using the most current materials, especially in the modern home. In addition, there is a tremendous amount of technology that we put into these homes and this is also always changing. Audio Visual systems, remote communications to the home, home automation, etc. Not only the new materials that are available in the construction industry but also building equipment that expedites a project plus increases the accuracy and speed in the means and methods of building. We have to stay ahead of the curve.
Are you incorporating any trends that you’ve seen in any of the homes you’re currently building?
Yes and no. Sometimes trends are just that, hip and cool today and soon replaced by the next new thing. We cater to our clientele and their wish list so we remain open to any ideas or requests that they may have.
Some trends become the norm: We almost always incorporate the use of geo thermal systems and solar panels, and most local building codes require their use. We have been using these types of systems before it was required.
When you’re not building luxury homes, what do you do for fun?
There is not a lot of free time in this business because we are so involved in the day-to-day operations, but in our spare time, we both enjoy traveling with our families. When we’re home, we both have many of the same interests: making music, working out, cycling, going fishing, and every once in a while, going to see a Broadway show. Living in the Hamptons really lets you access both worlds. Most important is just spending time with our families.
To learn more about Consiglio Builders, visit www.consigliobuilders.com or call 631-267-3852.