Art DeMattio, owner of Arthur M. DeMattio Construction, Norwalk, left, confers with Matt Giardina, owner of Front Row Kitchens, at the Front Row Kitchens showroom, Norwalk.

 

Several years ago, a roofing contractor slipped a pre-printed postcard in our mailbox. “Hi,” the card read, “I was driving by your house recently and couldn’t help but notice that your roof is really starting to show its age,” or something to that effect. Naturally, the contractor would be happy to come out and give us a free estimate.

I was mortified, thoroughly ashamed that we had apparently let our house fall into such a state of disrepair that someone was actually calling us on it. I’ve always believed that it’s the attention to detail – whether it’s freshly painted front steps, new shutters or even a brand new roof – that distinguishes one house from another. I like to think that people driving by our home will say, “That house always looks so nice…they really keep it up.”

Over the years, my husband and I have established a group of reliable, trustworthy contractors, including a plumber, electrician, landscaper and painter; we had yet to find any type of builder, however, whose aesthetic sensibilities matched our own, someone who was both home improvement expert and artisan. Then we met Art DeMattio, a local builder who seems to have the same appreciation for and exacting attention to the details as I do.

Analyze This

Art, a Norwalk native who studied at the University of Connecticut and graduated from Western Connecticut State University with a degree in finance, actually began his career in building when he was just a kid. Working alongside his father, a professional cabinetmaker and general contractor, Art spent summers honing his building and carpentry skills, and then kept his hand in the contracting business on the side while working as an analyst for several high profile corporations following college.

In 1988, when the company he was working for relocated to Texas, Art opted out of the move, and decided the time was right, having been building spec houses since 1986, to launch his own Norwalk-based business, Arthur M. DeMattio Construction, a licensed and insured home improvement contracting company serving all of Fairfield County and beyond.

Whether he’s replacing baseboard trim, coordinating a complete kitchen renovation or building a 2,000 sq. ft. addition, Art, a quietly confident aesthetician, approaches each project as if he’s creating a fine work of art, carefully researching and thoroughly preparing for every home improvement project, large or small, equally.

With a reputation for meticulous attention to detail, reliability (he actually shows up when he says he’s going to) and a willingness to go beyond the call (he’s even been known to humanely remove and relocate the occasional icky spider for his clients), Art has wrought home improvement miracles on our house that have had our neighbors and strangers passing by literally stopping in their tracks. Recently, he installed a beautiful new floor in our kitchen, planting, in my mind, at least, the seeds for a more comprehensive kitchen renovation somewhere down the road.

A Hands-On Approach

Art, a full range contractor, addresses home improvement and remodeling projects of all sizes and virtually any scope, from custom finish, trim, detail and molding work and custom cabinetry to new window and door installations. What he really loves, however, and what he is most passionate about, is building, particularly mid-size additions and renovations (approximately 1,000 to 1,200 square feet). In addition, Art he likes kitchen and bathroom remodels for the creativity they can provide, as well as the satisfying final product that they produce, he says.

“I design most of my own work, incorporating my clients’ specific needs and tastes into my design plans,” he explains, “beginning with the floor plan and layout and ending with the complete installation and finish work. This scenario affords the homeowner the convenience of having to deal with only one contractor.”

Before starting any project, Art analyzes every angle and then strategizes on how to achieve the best possible end result; he leaves little to chance. “Planning and foresight are integral to my business,” he explains. “My goal is always aimed towards the finished product, and I try to know ahead of time what to expect each step of the way, and to prepare for that accordingly.”

Although Art may work with several trusted sub-contractors on a project, he is always the main contractor, continuously on site, doing the lion’s share of the work and making sure that everything goes according to plan. He generally takes on one project at a time, ensuring that the client will have 100% of his attention.

High-End Trends

One of his larger projects, a 2,000 sq. ft. New Canaan-based addition, comprised five bedrooms, three and a half baths, a 400 sq. ft. kitchen, a breakfast area, butler’s pantry and family room. “The family wanted a rustic feel, so I specified 6-inch wide plank cherry floors, solid wood ceiling beams, a fieldstone fireplace, and a 60-ft. expanse of virtually continuous glass that took advantage of the eastern exposure and an unforgettable view,” Art recounts.

For a kitchen remodel, Art, who often collaborates with Front Row Kitchens in Norwalk, executed a French Provincial design, incorporating plain sawn wooden arches, stained, hand hewn beams and a replica beehive oven into the plan. “The client wanted a very specific look, and my objective is always to functionally and stylistically work with what a client has in mind.”

Art has observed a trend toward higher end woods, like cherry, handcrafted oaks and walnut for floors, and an exclusive use of marble or granite for countertops. “Clients are choosing soft whites, like off white, cream and vanilla, for kitchen cabinets,” he says, “with a low luster, furniture grade finish…we’re not seeing a preponderance of glossy cabinets these days.”

Ever conscious of the environment, Art pays great attention to green building, and tries to use renewable products, ones that don’t create a big carbon footprint in their manufacture, whenever and wherever possible.

“I prefer eco-friendly windows that keep the energy transfer from both sides on the glass to a minimum, and I use plywoods and insulations that are formaldehyde free,” he explains. “I also purchase some reno items, like cabinets and countertops that are in good condition, from Green Demolitions, who donates virtually all of its profits to charity.”

For further information, contact: Art DeMattio, (203) 858-1169.