Finished by Memorial Day. That's a phrase that strikes fear in the hearts of many a builder, contractor, tradesman, or even homeowner. With just days to go before the big holiday, plenty of people in the construction trade are scurrying around, frantic to finish their jobs in time for the start of the season.
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Not Robin Prager.
She's calm, mellow even, despite a massive undertaking underway, and deadlines that could seem crushing to less experienced -- and did we mention mellow? -- project managers.
Working for East End homeowners and city corporations, Prager prides herself on the fact that, "I get them in." A career in PR and communications evolved about 15 years ago into the creation of her company, Every Detail Done.
"I started as far back as the dot com era," she said, sitting serenely on the couch in her Settlers Landing house, as her cell buzzed. People were very free with their money back then, then Prager watched the crash and now she's watching "the resurrection." With a reputation of moving mountains on time and on budget, she was never at a loss for work, even during the lean years.
Just before she moved out east, Prager was designing office space, "And a corporate client said, 'I have a home out in Southampton, can you help me out?' That's usually how I get my clients." She's worked with executives from Carolina Herrera, Elle Décor, New York Cares and Donna Karan.
"Whether I'm doing corporate or residential, my premise is the same," she explained. "Everyone is interested in keeping on budget, getting in on time with limited headaches. Whether they're spending two dollars or two million, everybody wants the same thing."
"I've been called the gatekeeper," Prager revealed. In addition to overseeing the earliest elements of a project, such as design, Prager takes the job all the way to the end, moving and arranging furniture in a new house, even making sure the homeowner's cable is hooked up.
Style wise, Prager favors modern/contemporary designs.
But, she said, "My signature isn't really the style, it's more the comfort and stability I provide. People can get divorced over renovations, but during a hectic time, I put everyone at ease." She also quotes a fee at the beginning of the job, and never changes it.
Prager is currently building a 35,000 square foot studio in Brooklyn for famed artist Hunt Slonem, transforming a warehouse located right on the water in Sunset Park. She was called in after a frantic message from his realtor who said there would be a million dollar penalty if they didn't leave his Manhattan studio and move to the new space by June. 'Help!' was the message.
"We met in January. We got the permits in March and I will have him in."
It was a full "gut reno of an old, old space" Prager explained. All the electric and plumbing was replaced and huge walls built to accommodate over a thousand pieces of art, plus sculpture, furniture and 100 exotic birds. This, with a filmmaker shooting a documentary about Slonem and the studio and working through the night over the course of several weeks.
"I'll have two weeks to move him in," Prager explained sedately. She doesn't merely design and build, she wraps and packs and transports and sets up. "You walk in ready to go to work or ready to have a dinner party."
Concurrently, Prager is working on a home in Cornwall, New York. "I'll have them in by Memorial Day," she predicted.