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Monday, January 13th 2014

Talking with Cousins Undercover Anthony Carrino & John Colaneri

East Dane is all about straightforward fashion for straightforward men, and we couldn’t think of two guys who better align with that mantra than Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri of HGTV’s Cousins Undercover. We tapped the contractor pair for this week’s cover story, and snagged a few moments of their time to ask them about home remodeling, working together, and their personal style.

What’s the first thing someone should do before starting a renovation?
JOHN: Have a clear, concise vision of your design and layout of the space. You need to stick to that plan, and if changes are needed try to keep them small. Too many times people shift design and focus, and that is why their projects double in time.
ANTHONY: PLANNING! That is in caps for a reason. It is absolutely paramount to your success and to staying on budget!

What’s a contractor secret every homeowner should know?
JOHN: Always have a 15% to 20% contingency when starting a project. You will find issues or problems you did not know were there nine out of ten times.
ANTHONY: If you’re afraid you can’t cut a super straight line with a skill saw freehanded, clamp a long level or straight edge to the plywood and run the guide along it—straight as an arrow.

What are your favorite sources of design inspiration?
JOHN: Travel is the best design inspiration you can have because you are able to experience different design aesthetics and elements from around the world.
ANTHONY: The blogs are endless: Remodelista, Design Milk, and Design*Sponge, just to name a few. But my ultimate source for design inspiration is travel.

What is your favorite room to renovate and why?
JOHN: I would have to say the kitchen because it is the heart of the home and is the most used room in a house.
ANTHONY: Without trying to avoid the question, I don’t have one. I just love to renovate a full room. Helping a client realize their vision is the best part of what we do, so it’s really about their needs. We are always ready for a challenge.

What’s your design go-to?
JOHN: When looking for a wall color my go-to color is grey. It goes with any design style, and it gives you the ability to use great accent colors that will really stand out.
ANTHONY: For me, it’s the use of organic or reclaimed materials. I love mixing old and new, and organic materials and shapes serve to both warm and create visual interest within a space.

If you could design a kitchen for anyone, current or historical, who would it be?
JOHN: I am a history buff so I think it would have to be John F. Kennedy.
ANTHONY: Ha! I think it would have to be Brunelleschi himself. More so because I would love to see what he thinks of our work and company (Brunelleschi Construction) named after him.

John, what are some of Anthony’s best work qualities?
JOHN: Anthony is a true leader when it comes to construction and business. With the over 100 workers and volunteers involved in Cousins Undercover episodes, there needs to be one person driving the ship, and Anthony is that person.

Anthony, what about John?
ANTHONY: John is the most organized guy I know, and this translates into him being a ninja on the job site. With no less than fifty moving pieces on each of our projects, it is an invaluable skill—not to mention John always has the ability to make me laugh, even at the most stressful point of a job. I think I appreciate that more than anything.

What’s more important: comfort or style?
JOHN: They are both equal. Anthony and I always say: design and function go hand in hand.
ANTHONY: On the job site: comfort hands down. Out on the town: I like to be comfortable, but style rules. Fortunately, my style is comfort.

Any style go-tos?
JOHN: My favorite style is Contemporary Rustic.
ANTHONY: I love henleys, and they’re great for layering. As it gets colder, they look great under a button-down. My other winter go-to is a cardigan. I might have one in every color. Oh, and I can’t resist a good elbow patch.

Check out the Cousins Undercover story on East Dane.
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