East Bay Builders: A Legacy Persisted By Jim Naples

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From a Brooklyn childhood to helping out his beloved dad in the 50s to catching the builder-bug, Jim Naples began East Bay Builders as a small remodeling company that grew exponentially throughout the years. With craftsmanship a priority and reliability the standard, he has earned the trust of his clients and tradesman alike. We caught up with Naples to learn more about how he came to be one of the most recognizable builders and contractors in Long Island for over four decades.

Jim Naples. Courtesy East By Builders

Jim, you’re a legend in these parts — you’ve been building homes on Long Island for 42 years!

My family has been in the commercial construction industry since after WW2 when my dad returned he started work as a carpenter at Todd’s yard in Brooklyn. I worked summers during school in the commercial trades, mostly store fixtures and supermarkets. That was a great training ground for me. After school, I joined the carpenters union, got married, and started raising a family! My father-in-law was a contractor in the Hamptons in the ’50s and ’60s and early ’70s. I worked with him on some great homes and caught the fever. I left the union, got my contractors license. I started out small, myself and a carpenter friend, worked hard, learned a lot.

How would you define the homes you build in terms of their style?

I’ve seen styles change over the years from the contemporary ’70s-’80s to the very traditional shingle style to the present modern trends. Where modern seems to have a special interest, traditional is still very desired and I think it always will be.

Photo: Miranda Gatewood

What projects are you working on currently?

We are currently working on renovations in Sag Harbor, Southold, and Riverhead. The Southold project is composed of additions to the current residence with very interesting and challenging components; pool house, pergola, screen room, with outdoor kitchens with pizza oven included and great architectural details to accommodate them. The Sag Harbor residence is an older home with a total gut and redo with new designed roof and interior layout with a finished basement. The Riverhead project we removed the entire roof, added a complete second story with a suite, two additional bedrooms and bathroom, office, and laundry. The new roof design added great lines and design elements to tie in perfectly with the existing lower level. We added an elevator to this home for three levels since there is a finished basement.

Do you ever spec build or is it completely design/build?

Mostly design/build.

What services do you offer?

Most of our work lately is renovations, some pretty large. We do custom design builds when the opportunity arrives. We also do maintenance when called upon. I have learned never to shy away from smaller projects.

Photo: Miranda Gatewood

Do you work with specific architects or do you design the home in-house?

I work with various architects. It’s best when I have the opportunity to input my ideas and advice at the very onset of the project for pricing, etc. I strongly recommend that.

Is green technology a part of the build or reno?

Almost everyone is concerned about energy and conservation.

We saw a lot of new requirements of builders during the pandemic. What are some specifications people require?

Outdoor living: decks, patios, pools, screen rooms have definitely been popular. With people working from home, offices are very popular including necessary wifi devices and network needs. Home theaters are and have been on wish lists.

Photo: Miranda Gatewood

In what ways are you evolving as a Hamptons builder?

The way we do business has changed. Material supply chain is a strong concern. Windows and doors have extremely long lead times. Availability of bathroom fixtures and some appliances also are not the same. We have had to change the way we order materials to accommodate these lead times which have a huge effect on job scheduling and at the same time be in tight communications with our suppliers with the need to confirm every order and dates placed. We have revised the way we offer construction contracts to our clients. Allowing the client to see actual material, labor, and subcontractor costs.

When you’re not building luxury homes, what do you do for fun?

My wife of 47 years and I are blessed with a large family, five adult children, and eleven grandchildren! We live in a beautiful waterfront home which is paradise to us. We both love boating and fishing and our gardens and spending time together is what we call fun.

To learn more about East Bay Builders, visit eastbaybuildersinc.com.

Ty Wenzel

Co-Publisher & Contributor

Ty Wenzel started her career as a fashion coordinator for Bloomingdale’s followed by fashion editor for Cosmopolitan Magazine. She was also a writer for countless publications, including having published a memoir and written features for The New York Times. She is an award-winning writer and designer who covers lifestyle, real estate, architecture and interiors for James Lane Post. Wenzel is also a co-founder of the meditation app for kids, DreamyKid, and the social media agency, TWM Hamptons Social Media.

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