How Gatehouse Partners is delivering award-winning custom homes while retaining its family ethos

Gatehouse Partners (Gatehouse) is a luxury custom homebuilder in the Connecticut and New England area, with a high customer referral rating. Its mission is to deliver high quality, personalized construction management at a fair price, prioritizing client needs at every step.

Established in 1999, by Stephen Ditri and Randy Sullivan, Gatehouse completed its first residential project, with an impressive 20,000-square-foot floorplan, while operating entirely out of a trailer. It has since survived the highs and lows of the housing market and 24 years later, still embodies the principle that a small company can offer a high quality, hands-on approach. Randy spoke with Modern Home Builders about the company’s history and its extensive portfolio.

Commitment to quality
Gatehouse completes new constructions and renovations in myriad styles, such as contemporary, European, Tudor, and Georgian. Randy begins: “I don’t like to get locked into one style of something – I like all styles! Some builders get stuck in their lane, only completing certain types of projects. I like the road to be wide open, so we carry out all types of construction.

“We recently completed the renovation of a custom home with specific requirements, some of which were new to us here at Gatehouse,” he continues. “The client had seen a glass elevator while in Paris and wanted to recreate this in their home, so that is what we did. We built a steel structure and glass enclosure to form an elevator covering four floors. We hadn’t been part of something so detailed before, and the architect didn’t know how to put it together at first. In the end, it was a team effort and we worked out the details as the project developed.”

The successful installation of the glass elevator saw Gatehouse awarded Best Interior Home Feature in 2022 at the Home Building Industry (HOBI) Awards. The same property scooped a second HOBI award, as it was voted Best Custom Home within its size range. Gatehouse has also received HOBI awards for Best Exterior Feature and Outstanding Home Office. In fact, these are the latest additions to their HOBI awards collection, which they have been winning consistently over the last four years, bringing their total to ten.

With multiple awards, it is not surprising that the business has established a positive reputation throughout the regions in which it operates. It boasts an impressively high customer referral rating, which exemplifies its commitment to high quality products and services.

Impressive installation
In addition to construction and renovation, Gatehouse also completes installation projects. It recently hung a Chihuly and Raven chandelier, for example, which is made entirely from sapphire crystals. This state-of-the-art chandelier was fitted above a central staircase, which required extreme care to ensure each part was situated and displayed correctly.

Furthermore, Gatehouse installed an original Louis Comfort Tiffany window from the early 20th century in a residential property in Connecticut. This one-of-a-kind piece, measuring 152-by-89 inches, had to be protected throughout the process and required precise, specialist fitting to ensure it met safety requirements and upheld preservation of the window.

Comprehensive service
Despite huge growth over its 24 years in business, Gatehouse still resonates with its founding principle that smaller companies offer a hands-on approach. “Small companies are more personal,” states Randy. “It means we can build relationships with our customers. I like my supervisors to connect with the people they are working for. Personally, I enjoy being out on the job site and the size of the business means that I can be part of the construction, instead of constantly sitting in an office.”

Being a smaller business means Gatehouse can provide a comprehensive service to its clients. “I started as a carpenter in 1985 and climbed the ladder to where I am today,” Randy explains. “Before Gatehouse was born, I did everything in construction: pouring foundations, installing heating and air conditioning, wiring a house, and plumbing. I was fortunate enough to learn those trades and I continue to apply these skills to projects, even today.” Matt Sullivan, Project Manager, adds: “Our clients have our cell phone numbers and call any time. When a company grows larger, and larger it can become impossible to have personal interactions with customers.”

Customer satisfaction
Randy is particularly passionate about Gatehouse’s family ethos. “We have a family business atmosphere in everything we do,” he highlights. “I have long-serving supervisors, such as Jose D’Auria who I’ve known for over 30 years! My son Matt, has been with us for 15 years and Kristen, my daughter, for seven, so we definitely have a family-feel throughout the business.”

Heather Rogers Meister, Marketing and Project Manager, elaborates further: “I have known the Sullivan family for a long time, and I feel as though I have very natural communication here in the office with everyone. There is a lot of integrity, and everyone genuinely cares about their work, which helps to unify the team.”

Looking to the future, Randy comments: “We want to continue doing what we do best – building houses and satisfying our customers! In terms of growth, we are at a comfortable size within the company, and it feels like the right one for us. However, we are always looking for new architects to collaborate with and broadening the variety of projects on which we work.”