Escaping a war-torn country doesn’t often lead to the Hamptons, but it did for Beni Shoshi. After fleeing the Republic of Kosovo as a boy, he moved with his family to his uncle’s home in East Hampton and quickly became a part of the working community. He was encouraged to follow his dreams of becoming an elite Hamptons builder.
Since 2007, Shoshi has applied his knowledge, experience, and attention to detail to building the best possible team for his company, Shoshi Builders, which is said to deliver unparalleled quality and craftsmanship to many homes on the East End. Shoshi is present for every job, and understands that creating a new home or renovating an existing one is very much a personal process. His team’s goal is to make the process a pleasurable experience — seamless from the first architectural draft to the final installation.
The Independent sat down with the builder to dive deep into how he went from war-stricken immigrant to high-end builder in a matter of a decade.
You grew up on the East End after emigrating from Kosovo. When was this?
I migrated from Kosovo to the United States in 1999 after the war. Some of my family had been living in East Hampton for many years at that point, so we ended up coming here and starting a new life.
You created your firm in 2007. How did you start out building homes?
I used to work at a local restaurant called Gordons, from age 11 to 19, and I met a lot of regulars. We created great friendships. I would get asked to help with random projects around their homes. I was a hard worker and people enjoyed having me around, and trusted me. From there, I started getting recommended to other friends and I started taking on larger projects and eventually needed to start building a crew. It was really organic.
I really enjoyed being able to make people happy, and had a lot of interest in architecture. I ended up hiring some good, hard-working people with a lot more experience than me. In the beginning, we were taking on renovations mostly, and some additions. When I was 18, I was able to purchase a house to do my first flip, and it was a great experience. I have done several flips and speculative homes since then. (A speculative or “spec” home is built for sale with no particular buyer in mind.)
What services does Shoshi Builders offer?
It runs the full gamut now. We offer top-to-bottom custom builds, full renovations, and additions.
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now, we’re working on custom homes and one spec house.
How would you define the style of your work?
I like to keep to the classic Hamptons-style and give it a little modern flair. My houses are always clean and beachy, yet they have an elegant but cozy feel.
What is your favorite town or region to build in?
Because I came here first, and my first projects were here, I’d have to say East Hampton.
Where is the speculative build you’re working on? What is available at this time?
I am currently building a spec at 80 Sherrill Road in East Hampton, and have another spec house that is for sale at 117 Montauk Highway in East Hampton Village.
Do you work with specific architects or do you get involved with the bidding process for jobs on the East End?
I do get involved in the bidding process, but most of my projects come from referrals, and I have been able to build a solid following with that based on my work ethic and the quality that I am able to provide.
In what ways are you evolving as a Hamptons builder?
There is always something new you run into with each project, and you have to figure out a solid solution. I have made a lot of great contacts with homeowners and architects that are extremely creative and that help me grow as a builder every day, so I continually learn new things. Each project is unique in its own way, and that keeps me really interested in the process.
Are you incorporating any industry trends into any of the homes you’re currently building?
Walk-out basements are a big trend for us. All of our lower levels are at least 10 feet in ceiling height and we incorporate sunken patios to make the lower level not feel like a “basement.” It makes a huge difference in your home and adds a ton of additional living space to it.
I’m also incorporating open floorplans, which is more on the contemporary side, but I love it. Many homes now are incorporating a lot of shiplap to finish off the walls.
Are you incorporating green elements into your work?
We try to incorporate green building anywhere the budget allows. There is also code compliance for energy efficiency.
How do you see Shoshi Builders growing in the coming years?
We are very excited to continue to grow and take on more challenging projects.
When you’re not building luxury homes, what do you do for fun?
I like waking up early. I go to the gym daily, and I play tennis. Of course, the beach is a big part of my downtime. I love to go out on the boat during the warmer seasons.
To learn more about Shoshi Builders, call 631-353-5919 or visit www.shoshibuilders.com.