Meet Sweeten General Contractor Camille
He’s worked with clients around the world
At Sweeten, the experts in our network are experienced contractors and design pros we’d be thrilled to have working in our own homes. We check their licenses, insurance, quality of work, and customer service skills. Trust and open communication are the lifeblood of our free renovation service, and our personal connection to our experts enables us to match you to the best choices for your project. Here, get to know their personality and click to view their portfolio, including photos from past work and client reviews, so that you can hire the right team and renovate with confidence.
Where are you from and how long have you been in design/construction?
I’m from Switzerland and I’ve been in design and construction for 25 years.
How did you get into this field?
I’m an architect by education. I’ve worked for prominent international architectural and management firms on major and medium size projects. This allowed me to understand the important advantages of a design-build type of contracts and become a design-build contractor myself.
What do you love most about your work?
I’m passionate about my work. I love every aspect of it, but I particularly enjoy the design stage and the one-on-one collaboration with my clients. Homes are very personal and private, and commercial spaces are important for a successful business. That is why I encourage homeowners and business owners, who have the time, to be a part of the design process. Most of the time, they appreciate this because it gives them the feeling as though they are building their own place. Giving time and attention to our clients opens the door to a good relationship, promotes good communication, and clarifies the issues in a comprehensive and progressive manner. All these things are crucial for the success of the project.
I also love details. They make a difference in the project and are part of the challenges that much of the time call for special attention and creativity to address them. But the real pleasure is when I start seeing the fruit of so many hours of work and collaboration with my clients taking shape.
Who is your ideal client?
My ideal client is one who is curious enough to get involved in the design process and become a “partner” in the project development. To help that happen and as construction progresses, I send my clients pictures with comments and wait for their reactions. They love that! Most of the time, they come back with smileys and/or kind words of approval. But true satisfaction comes when construction is finished, and I see and hear real appreciation from the client.
What’s the biggest challenge you face when renovating in New York?
Administrative work with the city, building management companies, and/or third party project reviewers who sometimes waste the homeowner’s time and money and cause unnecessary delays.
What do you think is the biggest misconception homeowners have when starting a renovation project?
Budget. It is normal that homeowners want to get the best quality for the least cost—until it becomes somewhat unrealistic. We always remind the homeowner that this is New York City and things are expensive. But most importantly, we try to show them what drives cost and why, so they understand that what they are paying is justified by and proportionate with what they are asking to have in their project.
But ultimately, we implement value engineering that helps the homeowner set a list of priorities based on need vs. cost and budget. We walk them through the process of selecting the most important items they need or elements they want to have at the best price possible.
What do you want all of your clients to know before you work with them?
I would like the homeowners to know that what we do is real design-build where everything is done in-house. We do not resource design, construction, and management. We take care of the administrative work and obtain all necessary permits to make sure the whole process is seamless, stress-free, and fun.
We manage time in such a way that by the time permits and approvals are acquired, most decisions related to design, equipment, appliances, fixtures, and materials have been made. We also work in 3D as part of our basic cost. We share all of our ideas with our clients in this fashion because we understand that, by definition, homeowners are not construction professionals and they rely on us. So we always go the extra mile to help them see what their space will look like before we put the first hammer in the wall.
What is your favorite New York City building?
The Hearst Building for being the first NYC Platinum Labelled Green building; Ground Zero Memorial for its poignant architecture that revisits and displays very strongly the emotions of 9/11; 432 Park Avenue for its audacious height vs. its narrow footprint, plus its other successfully resolved technical challenges.
What is your favorite New York City neighborhood?
The West Village and Soho.
What is your favorite New York City restaurant?
A Mediterranean shawarma and falafel place that I’m designing.
Take a look at some of Camille’s renovations below and check out his portfolio for more photos of past work.
(1) Melissa’s kitchen and bathroom on the Upper West Side (3) Cat and Jordan’s living room and kitchen in Fort Greene, Brooklyn
Camille has been a Sweeten general contractor since 2016.