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Sam Fratantoni | Family Man Turned Business Man

photography courtesy of THE FRATANTONI GROUP

Fratantoni Stairs

At the Fratantoni Group, business and family DO mix.

What’s in a name? Fratantoni Design, Fratantoni Interior Designers, Fratantoni Luxury Estates and The Fratantoni Group all share the same name. Still, each well-respected firm wouldn’t be the same without the man at the center. Sam Fratantoni, principal of Fratantoni Design.

The luxury home architect sat down with ICONIC LIFE Publisher Renee Dee for an upcoming episode of the ICONIC Hour Podcast to discuss what it’s like working with family, recent successes and everything in between.

HOW IT STARTED

Sam Fratantoni

Around age 11, Sam Fratantoni met his now-wife, Josie Fratantoni, only neither of them knew yet what the future had in store. As children, the couple’s families would get together and play poker on Saturday nights and throughout the years, the two would run into each other, but it was one party in particular that made all the difference for Sam. When they were about 18 or 19, he realized it was time to seal the deal and take the friendship to the next level.

Fast forward to the pair, newly engaged, starting their very first project together—their personal home. In an age before computers and cell phones, Sam drew the plans by hand with paper and pencil, and Josie took over the interior design. Together, the two were unstoppable and it’s evident by the immense amount of success they’ve seen, and continue to see, with their many businesses that have stemmed from some poker games.

A FAMILY AFFAIR

Sam Fratantoni considers himself lucky that his children have inherited his and Josie’s love of luxury home designs and architecture. Their three children, Angelo, Vincent and Jessica, are all involved in the family’s businesses and bring their own skills and passion to every project.

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Fratantoni Room

Angelo and Vincent help bring the world-class experience customers have grown to expect from Fratantoni Luxury Estates while Jessica brings her expertise to Fratantoni Interior Designers, where she works alongside her mother. Every member of the Fratantoni family has their own specialty and combined, it is seemingly the secret weapon that has brought the companies where they are today.

Even though the family spends more time together in a week than most families do in a year, most weeks five or six days in a row, Sam Fratantoni said they just can’t stay away from each other.

“We’re with each other so much that on Friday nights we’d run, but then we realize we like being with each other, so we try and get together on a Saturday or Sunday night,” he says. 

“We’re with each other so much that on Friday nights we’d run, but then we realize we like being with each other, so we try and get together on a Saturday or Sunday night,” he says. 

Kitchen

FROM COAST TO COAST

Sam Fratantoni doesn’t like the word “client.” It feels too impersonal and cold. Instead, he prefers the term “family,” and through all of his success, he and his teams have been able to work with families across the United States. From its home base in Arizona to projects based in New Jersey, Hawaii, Colorado, California and Texas, just to name a few, the Fratantoni team is always on the go. And, it’s not only just one of the Fratantoni companies working on a project. At a given time, the design team and architect team may be working on a project together, while the architect team and building team are simultaneously working on another. 

“We basically are on a plane almost every week,” Fratantoni says. “We have to fly from city to city because we have a lot of employees outside of Arizona, plus inside, and we have to maintain all of that. We have to have good relationships with our families.” 

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Fratantoni home

A NEW AGE

Over the 35 years that the company has been in business, the world of design, and the world in general, has seen a lot of change. What used to be done by pencil and paper by hand is now done in a flash by computers and various software. 

“I don’t even know how we did it,” Fratantoni says, reminiscing on the early days of his career. “There were no cell phone[s], nothing. No computers to draw the plans, so I would say that I could build ten homes in the timeframe that I could build one in the old days.”

The Fratantoni Group gets hired to do a lot of luxury home remodels, and many of these homes were built in the ‘70s, ‘80s and early ‘90s–meaning the original blueprints for these homes were all drawn by hand. 

Fratantoni

“There’s nothing worse than going to remodel a home and completely gut it without knowing what’s in the walls because you have no blueprints,” Fratantoni says. “Today, we call companies that go to a home today, they walk through the house with their computer and in an hour and a half to two hours, they can have a complete floor plan drawn to me on the computer, on PDF, email it to me and I can go to work right away.”

The recent global pandemic also impacted how Sam and the team used technology when working on projects. While the world was changing around us, many people took the downtime as an opportunity to enhance their homes and because of this, business exploded for The Fratantoni Group. But, with the number of clients in other states–some big-name celebrities–the team got accustomed to using Zoom in lieu of the face-to-face meetings that they were used to. 

“I love doing Zoom meetings—it keeps things moving forward,” Fratantoni says. “They [the families] love technology, we can email them anything we need to email them, or FedEx overnight to them, but the technology in that area has made things move… I think that’s another reason that we have grown over the last three, four years, because of the technology of Zoom.”

Fratantoni

WHAT’S NEXT?

Despite the previously mentioned jet setting and revolving door of families waiting to be the next project in The Fratantoni Group pipeline, the company is showing no sign of slowing down! Next, they want to open offices in other states, the first likely being in California where they usually have as many as 10-20 projects going at a time. An East Coast office is also in the future for the group, an easy choice considering their growing clientele in that area as well. Sam also mentions that as part of their growth, they hope to continue to get better and better at what they do in this competitive industry. 

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