Back Story with Anthony Carrino
Anthony Carrino, co-hosts HGTV's Kitchen Cousins and Cousins Undercover with real-life cousin John Colaneri. Carrino is also the principal and designer at Brunelleschi Construction. Visit BrunCon.com
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE GROWING UP?
I knew I wanted to own my own company. Watching my father run his business and seeing the amount of freedom he had to coach my sports teams and come to school events made me see that I wanted that freedom in life. I also love the pressure and responsibility of being in charge. I always loved playing on machines, getting dirty and helping my grandfather on his construction sites, so I guess I just figured out how to marry the two together. Incorporating design came later, as I discovered my creative side… I don’t have a formal design background, I am all self taught.
HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START IN THIS BUSINESS?
My father and I started Brunelleschi Construction together in 2004. Growing up, I had always worked for various uncles and my grandfather on construction sites, and my dad and I always GC’ed our own projects (we built an extension on my parents’ house and built the entire beach house). We finally decided to turn it into our own company.
WHAT ARE THE BIGGEST HURDLES YOU’VE OVERCOME
The biggest hurdle would have to be the real estate bubble burst in 2007. We had just finished our largest project to date, a 35,000 sq. foot restoration with 22 condos, and we had a $7 million loan to repay. Suffice it to say, I learned what a sleepless night was. But we never stopped fighting or being creative and always stayed true to our core values.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT WHAT YOU DO?
I love a lot of aspects of my job, from the crazy pace to the varied skill sets needed to get through any given day; the fun of starting new projects and tackling new challenges. But my two favorite aspects are having the chance to restore Jersey City’s most architecturally significant and historic buildings, and watching clients take back the keys to their home after we have realized our collective vision for the space. Pure joy.
WHAT IS YOUR DREAM PROJECT?
If I’m being honest, I am quite fortunate to be working on it right now. We are restoring the first NY/NJ Bell Telephone Switching Station in the state of New Jersey, located in Jersey City. The building was originally built in 1890 and is a masonry masterpiece. We are putting 16 rental lofts on the top two floors, one of which will be my home, and we have brought in an incredible restaurant team for the street level to run two amazing restaurants that we are also designing. Anytime we can make something old new again, I’m smiling!