North Jersey NARI, Inc.

Nicastro Contracting Services — Maria Nicastro

How does a 5-foot-tall woman end up demolishing the interiors of houses and creating lifestyles customers desire? Maria Nicastro, CKBR, UDCP, is owner of Nicastro Contracting Services, a general contractor in Paramus, New Jersey. Her company concentrates on interior remodeling, especially kitchens and baths, but she enjoys performing quality carpentry and trimwork. 

Running her own company for 14 years in North Jersey, Maria originally considered becoming an architect when she was in high school. But she soon learned she didn’t like sitting behind a desk all day. She preferred field work, handling the materials and creating something. Her guidance counselor suggested the Construction Management program at Fairleigh Dickinson University; this is a four-year construction management degree.

While studying, she worked for a construction company during the summer. This company performed large public works projects, such as general construction on Military bases. When she finished her degree, she was hired fulltime. She then moved to William Blanchard Company and worked as a project manager on Hackensack Hospital. Concentrating on commercial construction, building offices and retail space, she stayed in the industry for about 8 years.

Commercial construction can be easy but taxing financially. “An architect gives you the plans and you build to the plans. But I could finish a project, then wait 90 to 120 days to be paid…I had to operate like a bank floating a loan,” points out Maria. “Plus, I like working with people to create what they need or to solve their problems. A house is a building; I enjoy creating homes.”

After she started receiving calls from friends and acquaintances asking for referrals to reputable remodeling companies, she opened Nicastro Contracting Services. Joining the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, she came into contact with other remodelers who were willing to share their experience and expertise. “I use Ann Pollack of Nationwide Flooring and Windows for my flooring installations,” she points out.

Now a member of the NJNARI Board of Directors,  she took advantage of the NARI certifications, passing the Certified Remodeling Project Manager and the Universal Design Certified Professional exams. “This certification became a plus when I was referred to a woman in Kearney who needed a whole house remodel. Her parents had been handicapped at the end of their lives and she wanted a kitchen that could be adapted for wheelchair use should she need this as she aged. Because I understood her desires, I was able to find a sink cabinet that is easily converted with a few screws later on If she requires a wheelchair.”

What really landed her this large months-long project was her understanding of the woman’s desires. The original chestnut mouldings in this 1920s house were saved when possible to reuse as trimwork downstairs in the main portion of the home. “Other contractors told her no, these painted mouldings would just be pulled out. We took the time and patience to save and reuse what we could.”

Petite in stature, Maria Nicastro has proven to be a heavy-weight in her industry. The Kohler showroom in Paramus hired her to remodel several displays when the installed tiles were discontinued. Working around their showroom hours, she did the demolition and had her tile installer replace the old tiles with new ones. Painters dressed up the Kohler displays. Her talents are visible in throughout the North Jersey area.

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