Often contractors that work for legendary Hamptons builders find themselves inflicted with the entrepreneurial bug, as was the case with Greg D’Angelo over 30 years ago. It’s a good thing, too. His work led to the construction of some of the most beautiful homes on the East End, not to mention some for A-list celebrities. The Independent caught up with D’Angelo to talk about his work, his history, and why he’s pursued by some of the most famous names in the Hamptons.
How did you start out building homes?
After graduating from college, I started out in the business as a carpenter working for a few high-end builders out here. While I was subcontracting for them with my crew, I was also doing my own small general contracting jobs. As my business grew, I was doing more of my own projects and less work for those larger builders.
Your clients, including celebrities like Éric Ripert and Sarah Jessica Parker, have left such glowing reviews. It must be a great feeling?
I am certainly humbled by their kind words. It means a lot to me. It reaffirms the effort that we put into every project, which is to do a great job for the client and in a manner where these types of comments from them have come to be expected. It is an extremely gratifying feeling to be of service to our clients in such a way that they are willing to give testimonials like that.
Do you work with specific architects or do you design the home in-house?
We work with many local and out-of-area architects, some of them on repeat projects. We are a custom builder in the truest sense of the term. We are usually contacted by an owner or an architect to build their very specific and custom building. When a client wants us to build his or her home prior to having a specific design, we discuss basic design ideas with them, and based on that, make a recommendation to them for a particular architect that we feel would be best suited for the job.
How would you define the GDC style?
We are capable of building any style of home our clients and their architects can envision, so we don’t really choose what it is that we build. But I will say that we are a full-service custom build company that assists and supports our clients in their new homes for many years after the project is done.
You’ve built incredibly classic homes right through to ultra-modern. What do you get out of each style? Do you have a preference?
We don’t have a preference to what we build. I will say though, that traditional architecture is much easier to assemble. Modern architecture has no limits, so anything goes. This means that many times on a modern build we will see things that haven’t been done before and need to recommend smart ways of putting things together that are cost effective and warrantable.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are finishing several projects now, and have several new builds just starting up in Sag Harbor, East Hampton Bridgehampton, and Southampton.
What is your favorite town to build in and why?
I don’t think we really have a favorite, except to say that our office being in Wainscott enables us to service projects anywhere from Southampton to Montauk pretty easily.
Regarding client acquisitions, is it usually referrals or the bidding process that you follow?
Do you ever spec build?
I just completed one in Sag Harbor.
Once your homes are complete, do you work with a specific real estate agent, or do you market them yourselves?
Jen Ponzini from Compass is our broker and she is wonderful. She’s also a very good friend of mine and my wife.
Are you incorporating any trends that you’ve seen in any of the homes you’re currently building?
Smart home technology is ever-evolving, so we are seeing more of our clients integrating these systems into their houses at the point of hardwiring the electric.
In what ways are you evolving as Hamptons builders?
Well, I think the longevity of our company, which is over 33 years in business, and the success of our work has created a brand recognized for quality and reliability that is afforded some of the larger, prestigious Hamptons builders. My goal when I was “swinging a hammer” was to have a reputation like the great builders I was subcontracting from and 30 years later, I feel like we have achieved that goal.
What do you do in your downtime?
I like to spend time with my family doing whatever we can together — either on our boat or on vacation. As my daughters have gotten older, I’d like to try to get back to playing more golf.
To reach D’Angelo or inquire about his work, call 631-537-1700. Visit www.gdcbuild.com for more information, and to read some of the testimonials mentioned by celebrity clients.‘