He built his first home from the ground up with his brother
Check out Paul’s portfolio here
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 construction?
My family is originally from Manhattan but moved to Brooklyn. We now currently live in Staten Island. I started building homes in 1999 at the age of 23. I’ve been in residential construction for 20 years.
How did you get into this industry?
I was drawn into the construction industry at an early age. Both my grandfather and father were master tradesmen and a great inspiration, as a plumber and electrician, respectively. As a youngster, I always tagged along with tools in hand. I quickly gained a desire for design and building. What made it a reality for me was when my father built his first house in the ’90s. I was on the job site every day, observing and participating in every aspect of construction. My first opportunity to branch out on my own was in 1999. My brother and I purchased an empty lot and built our first home from the ground up. It was an extraordinary experience. At the time, I was so young on the job site I was often asked ‘Where’s your father?’.
What do you love most about what you do?
Transforming a client’s home is an art form. I love the challenge of bringing a client’s home back to a blank canvas then creating the environment they would never imagine. From the smallest details come the greatest rewards.
What is the biggest challenge about renovating in New York?
Some of the biggest challenges in New York are the building’s board approval and the Department of Buildings. With over seven million residences and a limited staff at the Department of Building, permits often take an unexpected amount of time. Also, approval from the building’s board is always different for each building. If you’re not experienced in this process it can take a lot longer than usual, that’s why our team has a process in place from start to finish.
What do you think is the biggest misconception that homeowners have when starting a renovation project?
Time and budget are always the client’s biggest misconceptions. Every project has an equilibrium of time versus money. You have to find the balance for both, how much time and budget each client has.
What do you want all of your clients to know before you work with them?
Our team is highly skilled in designing in Autocad and Sketchup on the most complex renovations. We have a 3,000 square foot showroom where we assist designers, architects, and homeowners with their finish selections including kitchen cabinetry, countertops, flooring, and tile. We are authorized dealers for the finest finishes, both domestic and imported.
What’s the number one thing clients should know before starting a renovation?
Comparing apples and oranges, it’s important to look at what you are getting when working with a contractor. Design or craftsmanship can be way more expensive than you think. Our team bridges the gap between design and build.
If clients have questions or concerns, how would you like them to address them?
We address all concerns promptly and in a timely manner. With our client portal, we streamline the design and construction process by eliminating the unknown—from scheduling, finish selections, approvals, communication, and change orders. Our clients can be at work or on vacation and still be able to track the progress of their project at their fingertips. With updated photos and viewing their entire schedule weeks or months in advance. They will have the ability to make changes and approvals on the fly and keep their project running on time and on budget.
What is your favorite project that you’ve done and why?
My most recent project was taking a 100-year-old Brooklyn brownstone from its current condition, which over the years seem to have been extensively altered from its original design. We modernized the space without jeopardizing the architecture and authentic style of the brownstone.
What is your favorite New York City/New Jersey building?
The Empire State Building. The Art Deco style building is what symbolizes NYC and gave New York its nickname: “The Empire State.” Gotta love it.
What is your favorite New York City/New Jersey neighborhood?
The Meatpacking District—the cobblestone streets, the largest collection of Neo-Grec designs and wrought-iron facades, and great restaurants offer a great atmosphere.
What is your favorite New York City/New Jersey restaurant?
My favorite NYC restaurant… wow that’s hard. I’m gonna have to say Cecconi’s Dumbo with skyline views of Manhattan and the Brooklyn bridge. The great food and architecture captivate my eye and excites my senses.
If you weren’t a general contractor, what would you be doing?
An artist or an architect—I love both.
Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor.
Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog, Sweeten Stories, for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.