When Zak Gumpel and Steve Morris founded their bespoke design-build firm Hudson River Homes in 2019, they had no idea of the challenges—or the inspiration—the coming year would bring.
After over a decade of experience in real estate working for firms including Douglas Elliman and Extell Marketing Group, Gumpel was eager to delve deeper into the design-build process. He moved to the Hudson Valley from New York City and was looking for new business opportunities when he met Morris. “Morris had parlayed his metalworking skills as a jeweler into luxury staircase and railing design,” says Gumpel. “Over 30 years he had completed numerous high end remodels.” The two hit it off instantly. “We realized that our skills were complementary and we could create something special.”
Together, they conceived Hudson River Homes, which offers a concierge development service from start-to-finish. “Building a new home is difficult,” explains Gumpel. “Folks come up to the Catskills and buy land, but their dream home often doesn’t come to fruition. We wanted to streamline the process while maintaining the positive aspects of the experience.”
The way it works: Hudson River Homes acquires the raw land, does all the permitting and preparation for a new build utilizing all local contractors, then matches the site to one of their model designs. At the point that a client enters the equation, the customization for their specific budget and lifestyle kicks into high gear. “When clients fall in love with one of our lots, we work together to blend their vision with ours,” Gumpel says.
The two had just broken ground on their first three homes when the pandemic hit. “It deeply affected our workflow, material costs, and supply chain,” Gumpel explains. “It really tested our commitment to the company, our vision, and clients.”
In the end, they made it through by letting go of their expectations and re-committing themselves to growing their brand. “We believe in going beyond our clients’ expectations,” says Gumpel. “Markets rise and fall, but the brands that are able to practice equanimity and sacrifice are ones that last.” Their commitment to providing an unmatched experience for their clients is one of the reasons why they were voted number 1 in the Home Builder category in the 2022 Chronogrammies readers choice awards.
The fire of those early experiences forged their latest completed home, which represents a shift towards a completely customizable design. The home is based on their Apollo model, a 2,113-square-foot, three-bedroom layout with an open concept first floor that offers floor-to-ceiling views of the landscape and nearly every finish was customized.
“We realized how important it was to offer the ability to tailor a home to a client’s future needs,” says Gumpel. “Not only is it an untapped opportunity that local markets don’t offer, it allows clients to create a home they can truly call their own.”
Hudson River Homes start at $1.5 million, which includes the cost of the land, land prep, and the cost of the house. To learn more, visit Hrhdevelopment.com