Interview: Anthony Carrino, General Contractor

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Anthony Carrino is a New Jersey-based designer, builder, and host of many HGTV programs, such as Kitchen Cousins and Cousins on Call. His newest show, America’s Most Desperate Kitchens, will premiere this summer on the network. In this interview, Anthony speaks about his everyday carry gear and how they help him with various aspects of his job, with going on adventures, and getting inspired. Join us and see Anthony’s recent accomplishments and learn his one important piece of advice for anyone stuck trying to “build” something of their own.

What’s in your everyday carry?

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View Anthony Carrino’s Full Everyday Carry

One of the terms you use to describe yourself is “builder.” Could you elaborate on what roles you take on and what your work is like when you’re building?

I am a Developer, Designer & GC based out of Jersey City, NJ. I am also a host of a number of HGTV shows, the newest of which is America’s Most Desperate Kitchens, which will be premiering this summer. Whether it is my private work or TV work, no two days are ever alike. Mobile technology is the only way I am able to keep up with everything, and I very much enjoy working in this manner: problem solving on a construction site, conference calls in the car, and email sessions from, well, just about everywhere.

What inspires your design direction when it comes to construction?

I draw inspiration from everyday life; keeping my eyes open and remembering to look at the ordinary from a new perspective. Beyond that, it is my travels — seeing that which I have never seen before. Whether that be patterns, shapes, colors and every combination of the three; I simply love seeing new things and figuring out how to incorporate the element in a new way into my designs.

Dining area of Carrino's recent establishment, Talde Jersey City
Dining area of Carrino’s recent establishment, Talde Jersey City

You mention travel as a huge source of inspiration. What other hobbies are you passionate about?

My passions are motorcycles, photography and travel, and when I can combine all three into a single adventure it doesn’t get any better than that. I ride a BMW R1200GS, shoot on a Fuji XPro-1 and will travel anywhere the road takes me. And when the road ends, the GS will keep going. There is something very satisfying about not having a destination; when you don’t need to get anywhere you are able to slow down, appreciate the now. Couple this with two-wheel travel, which is an extremely visceral and introspective way to travel (anyone who has been inside a helmet for hours on end knows what I’m talking about). At the end of the day, I am very passionate about my work, but everyone needs a reset and this is most certainly how I get mine.

Why do you EDC?

I like to be prepared, and you never know what the day will bring. Having these essentials with me allows me to accomplish anything, anywhere, at anytime.

After working extensively with your tools, have you noticed anything you need to add, or is your setup perfect right now?

I’m always on the lookout for new goodies to add, but over the last few years it has been about pairing down to the essentials so I’m not weighted down by excess. The Stein bag is the perfect size and forces me to think about what I carry…and for those BIG days I have a large Timbuk2 standing by to carry everything I need.

Inside the Carrino Provisions food market
Inside the Carrino Provisions food market

Can you tell us about your most recently completed builds?

My team and I just finished designing and building Talde Jersey City and Carrino Provisions. Both housed in a beautiful, architecturally significant building in Jersey City. I partnered with Dale Talde of Top Chef fame, and we couldn’t be more proud to bring these two establishments to the city I call home. Swing by and say hi!

What one tip would you leave for our readers who are stuck trying to “build” something, whatever that may be?

When it comes to design there is no right or wrong, and the “rules” are blurred more and more each day. There is definitely good and bad design, but this is something that can be learned. The most important thing is to take a chance and create something. No matter what you do, you will always evolve, the most important thing is to get started so the evolution and education can begin.

See what Anthony’s up to on his About.Me page and follow him on Twitter for more updates.

Photography by Christopher Amaral

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