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Construction Industry Gets Creative with Concierge Service

The June issue of HC&G features an interview with East End builder Frank Dalene. The Norwegian-born Wainscott resident is the co-owner of Telemark, the company behind a recently built $60 million Southampton estate. Dalene gives a standard rundown of his view on the Hamptons' building scene, mentioning Robert A.M. Stern as his favorite starchitect to work with and the Ross School's Wellness Center as his most innovative project. (The innovative Wellness Center, a glorified gym, required 'a trip up the Amazon river and a 200km ride into the heart of the jungle'.) However, the article is nothing without its discussion of what a builder does during a recession. During its slow seasons, Telemark performs 'concierge services' for its clients. Requests seem to hover just out of the normal range, seeing as Dalene was once directed to decorate an entire house for Christmas, tree and all. (We're hoping the family provided presents.) Another item that apparently falls under the concierge umbrella: dog coffins. Says Dalene, "Our client raised Yorkshire terriers and when one passed away, she asked us to build it a coffin. We asked for measurements and she instructed us to measure its body—the remains were in their fridge. It was a kosher kitchen, too." Here's hoping this economy turns around, if only for the construction industry's sake.
· Meet the Maker: Frank Dalene [HC&G]