For over 40 years, Eastbay Builders Inc. has been one of the area's go-to firms for projects ranging from major custom builds to small renovations. Here, owner Jim Naples reveals recent home trends, what motivates him and his team, and what's next for this staple of the long island design community.
An East Hampton farmhouse constructed by Eastbay Builders
You’ve been building and renovating homes on Long Island since 1980. What are some of the biggest ways in which the industry has changed since you started? Changes in the industry and how we do things have changed quite a bit, not to mention changes since COVID. Over the years the way we, as well as clients, shop is different. Internet shopping has taken the industry by storm—[in] some ways good and some ways not so good. The good is that we can send clients to sites for selections of almost anything. But some folks like to see their selections in person and not in a photograph. The not good is many clients have chosen to make selections and purchase on their own, and unfortunately make wrong selections of size and compatibility. We have tightened restrictions on this practice since when these errors occur, we have to rectify them.
Another major change since the onset of my career are construction methods, trades, etc. … the tools we use and how we use them, not to mention the tradesmen themselves.
Tell us about some of your favorite projects to date. Some of my favorite projects are those where we were allowed to use our own creativity in certain details and work closely with the client to achieve. A new waterfront build in Eastport stands out in my mind, which I also use photos of in several ads. Another oceanfront in Westhampton Dunes was a renovation that we did through COVID. [It] turned out great, and the fabulous owners, who were just great to deal with, played a major part in its success. I could go on and on with these, but I’ll mention one more: We are now completing a renovation on a house I built 17 years ago for clients who have passed. The house was sold and recently sold again to a client who hired us knowing I was the original builder, and we worked on a major renovation to the home. That’s a crazy feeling but a good one!
A peek inside a bright and airy oceanfront home in Westhampton Dunes that Eastbay renovated during the pandemic
What have been some of the most requested design concepts lately? We are seeing in the last few years a shift to more modern and contemporary designs for some, but not all. There are still those traditional-lovers, especially in the older homes. But all are adding some modern attributes to the interiors and exteriors.
Has outdoor living been a huge priority for homeowners lately?How have you helped clients extend the indoors into the outdoors? We have worked closely with pool companies and trades in designing and installing outdoor fireplaces, decks, patios and pergolas on many projects.
The stunning staircase in one of the firm’s recent waterfront builds in Eastport
What do you love most about working in the Hamptons? We work on the North Fork, as well as areas of Nassau County. The Hamptons have always had that certain difference to anywhere else—be it designs, the clients themselves [or] the challenge of working in many instances on special summer places for clients… building creative structures not seen anywhere else.
Eastbay completed the restoration of this historic Mattituck barn and farmhouse
What is your mantra when it comes to your business? We have always strived to create lasting relationships on a professional yet friendly basis with the people we work with and work for. We treat our employees like family. We strive to do the best work on all projects small and large. My son Jim Jr., who has been by my side in business for over 22 years, also carries the same desires.
Is there anything new or upcoming for Eastbay Builders? On the new front, we are developing ways to work fairly with clients relating to the major price fluctuations in materials. This is an urgent matter in our business in order to keep projects afloat and profitable to us and the client—and, most importantly, to keep trust between us and the client.
Photography by: PHOTOS BY MIRANDA GATEWOOD PHOTOGRAPHY