Case Studies

Cornerstone Contracting Corporation

Building High-quality Custom Homes in the Northeast

Partners George Pusser and Robert Kolton founded Cornerstone Contracting (CC) in 1992. Equipped with decades of combined experience, the pair set out to provide client-oriented construction services for quality custom homes. Pusser currently works with a strong staff of between 50 and 60 employees, and remains highly involved in the construction process.
Pusser started his first construction company in Dallas at the age of 22, doing renovations for residential customers. He soon worked his way north, where he had the opportunity to expand his knowledge of the business.
Pusser’s many years of experience as both a builder and a business owner offer him unique insight into the industry. Therefore, he ensures that CC prioritizes each customer’s experience. Together, the team strives to build a home that clients will enjoy for life.
A Different Experience
CC operates differently from other homebuilders in a number of ways. “What sets us apart,” Pusser explains, “Is our management and the quality of our completed homes. Many of the houses we have built have been featured in established magazines, including Architectural Digest, Period Homes and Greenwich Magazine to name a few. We don’t take just any project that comes our way. We work by referral and we meet with all of our clients first. We want to make sure that the client is involved and can interact with our managers on a daily basis. We will turn projects down if they aren’t a good fit.”
Specializing in large, high-end homes, the team works with clients in Connecticut and New York, serving Manhattan, Westchester and Fairfield County, as well as the Hamptons in Suffolk County. “Our smaller projects range around 8,000 to 12,000 square feet,” Pusser elaborates. “Our larger projects are in the 30,000- to 40,000-square-foot range. We typically work on an average of five to seven projects at a time. Some of our larger projects have been a family compound and a 20,000-square-foot home that took us around three years to complete.”
The company’s recent projects include a complete renovation and major additions to an estate in Greenwich, Conn., constructed in the 1920s. New and revamped features include teak flooring and rich, hardwood cabinetry, flagstone roofing and custom inlaid limestone. The home is protected by a state-of-the-art security system, integrated into a complex electrical and mechanical set up that features high-end entertainment technology. The property received the 2009 Palladio Award for its pool and pavilion.
Whether tackling new construction or a complete renovation, CC manages and performs construction contracts on homes with a wide range of sizes and styles. Whether a Palladian estate or a modern mansion, the team is well-versed in classic and contemporary architecture and methods. The team’s recent work on an Asian-inspired modern fusion home showcases CC’s high skill, tight management and strong craftsmanship.
Making Connections
With such large undertakings, it is not efficient for CC to perform everything in-house. Therefore, the company has built strong relationships with strategic partners, including suppliers and trade contractors.
“We sub out all of the mechanical, roofing, tile, marble and foundation work,” Pusser explains. “There are a number of subs in each field we will bid out to. Our biggest expenses are technology, tile, and floor and wall finishes.”
The company’s unwavering industry relationships have allowed CC to sail past the tougher economic times, although Pusser notes that the crew has had their fair share of challenges. “Our revenue was up, but gross profits went down,” he explains. “For us, it is incredibly important to stay up-to-date on changes in technology. We are doing a lot of geothermal energy in houses on top of audio-visual and smart home technology. With a house that takes two or three years to build, the technology can change drastically while you build. We have to wait until we are at least 60 percent done before installing certain features.”
According to Pusser, all of the team’s hard work comes down to one simple principle: having happy clients. “Even one bad project out of 10 will stay with you,” he notes. “We focus very heavily on having our projects done well. We often work six or seven days a week and I visit each jobsite every day. We build lifetime relationships with our clients and we can service these homes for years to come. A successful project is on time and on budget with a happy customer at the end of the day.”
Above all else, Pusser truly takes pride in what he and the CC team provide. “The most rewarding part of this work is when two or three years after we complete a project, we can show these homes to other clients,” he continues. “Seeing a finished home you realize the beauty of what you helped create, reflecting on the solutions to the challenges that arose.”
It is evident that Pusser and his team maintain a strong sense of pride in their work. The company’s custom homes represent a major investment for clients, and Cornerstone Contracting will continue to deliver unique, high-end results to referred customers.

Published on: February 11, 2014

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