Leaders & Innovators: Builders & Developers

Builders On The North Fork

What’s new and here to stay in construction TRENDS
By Rachel Bosworth - February 5, 2018

As in every market, the style of homes on the East End are unique to their respective areas. The same is true in a hyper local sense between the North Fork and the Hamptons. Both embody the out east beach lifestyle that has attracted first and second homeowners from various parts of western Long Island, into the five boroughs, and beyond. Contractors have found themselves busy year-round, updating existing homes in time for summer, renovating before the holidays, and building from the ground up. Four North Fork builders are sharing what they see for 2018 in terms of new and old trends.

Patrick Miceli of Miceli Builders in Wading River shares that his signature style is representative of the East End, which he describes as the cedar shake beach house look. “It is a house that breaks in and weathers without compromising overall integrity,” Miceli explains. “If you travel up the island you never see some of the materials used out east. Everything is maintenance-free, plastic, vinyl materials.”

Listing open floor plans, curbless and frameless showers, and two-tone kitchens as popular trends, Miceli says there has also been an influx of homeowners renovating existing homes and adding additions to primary residences for elderly family members as well as for apartment rental income. There has also been a resurgence in subway tiles in construction. Miceli also feels people will be spending more in 2018, as purchasing decisions are reflective of the economy.

A difference between North Fork and Hamptons homes are the owners, according to Miceli. Younger families from places like Brooklyn and Queens are choosing the North Fork. “They build in a manner that is personal to themselves, whereas South Shore clients make every building decision based on what everybody considers to be the best or what will impress their weekend guests,” he explains. “Those are strictly with investment and resale in mind, whereas the North Forker makes a purchase decision based on a house where they want to retire in.”

Richard Bosworth of Bosworth and Edgett Construction Corp. is based out of Laurel and works on both forks. He shares that the influx of European clients over the last five or six years has led to an increase in contemporary homes, something he says hasn’t be seen on the East End since the 1990s.

“There is a sense of redundancy to a point as they are very prone to keeping the same theme throughout, but with some interesting finishes that are a culmination of old and new,” Bosworth says. “We have built many traditional homes, but it seems that the contemporary model is coming back in a big way. It is challenging to build this way, as it is completely untraditional in that we are basically building in a reverse order to attain the ‘modern’ look.”

Sharing a typical home consists of framing the structure, then insulating, installing drywall, and the trim, Bosworth explains that with the contemporary style, the trim is first installed with little or no trim work. “This attains a cleaner, more utilitarian look throughout,” he says. “Although the finishes are mostly the same, it creates a fluidity throughout the home and a more simplistic look, although it is anything but.”

Fourth generation builder Ken Heidtmann’s family has been working with their hands for as long as he can remember, which is the aspect of his own career he enjoys most. “I’ve always had a passion for building, but it was for a different kind of structure,” he says, sharing that he moved off of Long Island years ago to pursue a career in boat building. “For the last 10 years, I’ve worked with some of the best boat builders in New England, whom I still consider great friends. I’ve decided to come home to not only work with my family, but to build my own path where I’ve grown up and my family will grow up.”

Popular trends on the North Fork are nautical, modern, and rustic, Heidtmann says, with metal and a lot of white. For what’s new in 2018, exteriors are beginning to change. “The exteriors of homes are changing to composite materials, which are less costly for the homeowners in the long run,” Heidtmann, who is based in Southold and owns Ken Heidtmann Construction, explains. “Think of features such as decks, siding, window and door trim, etc.”

Robert Gabrielsen also comes from a long line of contractors. He began working in the industry at the age of 17 with his family at Gabrielsen Builders on the North Fork. Changes over the decades his family have noticed have been permitting processes, codes, energy efficiency, and design. He agrees there has been an increase in modern homes being built, yet there are still many of the traditional style homes reflective of the area that are popping up as well. Gabrielsen says this style will continue remain timeless if done with authenticity.

For what’s new, Gabrielsen says hybrid homes, which typically have a traditional feel with modern features such as cable rails, cable strung lighting, and industrial fixtures, seem to be on trend. “For 2018 I can see more modern homes being built,” he says. “These homes typically have large curtain walls of glazing with steel framing, flush recessed gliding doors, frameless flat panel cabinetry and minimal interior trims. Hybrid homes will incorporate ideas from these modern homes.”

As energy conservation concerns grow, building efficient homes have become a necessity as well Gabrielsen says. Luckily, there are building techniques to match. “There is spray foam insulation which is the first step in making your home energy efficient,” he explains. “From there you move into high efficiency equipment, solar panels and in some cases geothermal systems. Some of the homes we do are fossil free (less a gas stove) which requires a perfect calculation of insulation, solar and geothermal systems.”

Whether it be the traditional cedar shake beach house, or contemporary energy efficient abodes, new construction and renovation trends and classic takes will continue to draw those looking to put down roots or find their second home on the North Fork.

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