DiSalvo Contracting
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JAN/FEB 2011
Crafting exquisite renovations of high-end Manhattan residences for more than three generations
by Julie Edwards
This fully renovated Upper East Side home in Manhattan showcases wenge- wood flooring that joins the clean lines of the ceiling and walls, while carefully spaced ceiling lights and antique chandelier-like wall sconces guide the way. Design by DeWitt Tishman Architects (dewitttishman.com)

With an unparalleled reputation for exquisite renovations of high-end Manhattan residences, DiSalvo Contracting remains committed to maintaining the quality and reputation on which the business has been built. “Simply put, we always focus first on doing what’s best for the client and the project,”says Joseph DiSalvo, one of the firm’s principals. “For us, every project is the beginning of a new relationship, and our goal is to earn that relationship, as well as client loyalty, through our work.”

The firm was founded in 1977 by

Vincent DiSalvo II, an ornamental plasterer and sculptor trained in his native Sicily. In 1983, brothers Vincent III and Joseph took over as the firm’s principals. Joseph credits the family-owned firm’s longevity with its belief that everyone from employees to subcontractors to clients should be treated like family. “Many of our employees and trade partners have been with us for decades, and we’ve been retained for numerous projects by extended family members of clients,” he says.

Vincent agrees. “Through building relationships, we’ve built our business slowly and steadily,” he adds. “In fact,

approximately 75 percent of our work comes from these relationships, including referrals from both clients and professional project partners.”

For example, the firm recently completed a renovation of a Park Avenue home, a traditionally designed  apartment which was totally gutted and rebuilt. “The success we enjoyed in building this apartment provided us with the opportunity to partner with the same architect on two additional projects,” Vincent says.

Specializing in repair and restoration of high-end Manhattan apartments,

This full-floor, prewar Park Avenue apartment in Manhattan was completely gutted, wall to wall, and totally rebuilt to a traditional design, including new windows. An elegant space with clean lines and contemporary touches, the apartment presented several construction challenges. An earlier remodel of the apartment created unanticipated structural problems that required extensive work to repair and reinforce the structural integrity of the space before the interior work could begin. Unique highlights of the finished apartment include a custom-designed and-fabricated mosaic stone floor in the foyer and opaque-white Italian glass kitchen countertops featuring intricately crafted edging profiles created through an innovative technique by one of DiSalvo’s trade partners. Design by DeWitt Tishman (dewitttishman.com). Interior design by Arden Stephenson (ardenstephenson.com).

DiSalvo Contracting expanded into all aspects of high-end contrustruction in 1986, and today serves as a full-service general contractor for mid-to large-size renovations, as well as new construction of townhouses and estate homes. The firm maintains an enviable roster of the finest trade partners and has completed projects in most of Manhattan’s finest residential addresses, and on Long Island’s North Shore, where the company has a second office in Oyster Bay.

“We often have clients for whom we’ve completed an apartment or townhouse project in the city who will ask us to renovate or build their country home,” Vincent says. “While our main focus remains in Manhattan, we also

needed to be able to service our clients’ needs on Long Island and beyond.”

The firm’s long experience in Manhattan enables its staff to address and overcome the myriad of challenges faced in renovating pre- and post-war city apartments. “A number of high-end buildings impose summer work schedules requiring the contractor to commence and complete projects between Memorial Day and Labor Day, when, typically, owners are at their summer houses,” Vincent notes. “With careful, early planning, and strict adherence to construction timelines, we can complete what would normally be a six-month project in 14 weeks, on time and on

The renovation of the dining room shows quality millwork in the coffered ceiling, wainscoting, door and window casings, and in elaborate custom-plaster crown mouldings. The new oak flooring is classically set in a rich herringbone pattern with a patterned inlaid border. The striated paint finish on the walls, as well as the mirrored wall sconces complementing the central chandelier, help bring a timeless elegance to the room.
The working fireplace in the living room of the Park Avenue apartment was totally recreated using honey onyx on the hearth and firebox surround. The mantel is a fine example of striated millwork, with column bases complementing the baseboards at the wall. The onyx hearth is framed by the fine oak-floor inlay.
The living room of this beautifully renovated full-floor Park Avenue apartment in New York City features a muted, striated paint finish on the walls and softly patterned drapes that bring counterpoint to the finely crafted millwork door and window casings, as well as the fine custom-plaster crown mouldings. The furniture placements complete a balanced scale of design in the room and contribute to a sense of repose. The dining room is visible through the pocket door casing.

budget, while maintaining the highest level of quality and workmanship.”

And that repute has paid off for DiSalvo Contracting. “Because of our history and reputation, our firm has the great advantage of being well known by the boards in many high-end buildings,” Vincent says. “Our reputation for conducting our projects in a timely, professional manner has earned us not only respect but direct referrals, so we are often working on multiple projects within one building.”

A recent project on the Upper East Side presents a perfect example of the firm’s ability to conquer unexpected hurdles. A 7,000-square-foot apartment required a total gut before the renovation could begin. Given the size and scope of the


project, and the “summer hours” requirement of the building, the project was completed over two summers; one unforeseen challenge involved the air-conditioning condenser—too large to fit into the freight elevator, it had to be dismantled then moved to the apartment, where it was rebuilt in place.

“Other challenges we regularly face are post-war constructed buildings with lower ceilings,” Vincent says. “To maximize actual and perceived ceiling height, we often have to combine creative approaches in the design such as enlarging window openings and utilizing creative lighting strategies.”

Although the company is known for its elegant, traditional renovation work, Vincent notes that more and more clients are requesting modern design


elements. “This subtle shift is generationally driven by a younger clientele,” he adds. “To achieve these requests, we often incorporate contemporary finishes, mixing existing, traditional design elements with contemporary accents such as glass-inset cabinetry, sleek countertops, and modern-flooring options.”

As a trusted renovation expert, DiSalvo Contracting often is asked by its clients for assistance in identifying architects and interior designers to work on a project. “Typically, clients see an architect first; however, many of our clients come to us first,” Vincent says. “We then refer them to architects and designers we’ve worked with on an ongoing basis and who, like us, have the client’s best interests at heart.”


NEW YORK CITY 4214 Third Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11232 • Tel: 718.832.9400