Garo Dervogormiyaciyan grew up watching his father head out each day to his construction job. His father of Armenian descent brought an immigrant mentality with him that hard work would help him achieve the American dream. Garo absorbed that work ethic and is now seeing his father’s idea, that hard work pays off, to reality through his company Dervo Developers LLC of Cliffside Park, New Jersey.
“Growing up a job that required work boots and t-shirts didn’t make sense to me–you need an office job and a suit to be a success. I have since learned that if you do what you love, it doesn’t matter what you look like,” Garo said. While he received a degree in Civil Engineering and a Master’s in Construction Management from Stevens Institute of Technology and tried out a corporate job, Garo eventually realized the hands-on work he’d learned at his father’s side was the work he wanted to do. Dervo Developers has been building high end duplexes since 2009, when Garo and his father bought their first property in Ridgefield. The pair did all the work themselves, learning everything from permitting to foundations, and building the skill-set that would set them on a path to success in the ever-growing home building realm.
The duplexes of Dervo Developers are somewhat standard in size but completely unique in façade and interior layout. The majority are three stories with a garage, recreation space and full bath on the first floor; kitchen, dining room, living area and half bath on the second; and a master suite, two bedrooms, another full bath and laundry on the top floor.
“Sometimes you get lucky with a longer or wider lot. The last one was longer so the house could be longer. Every bedroom had its own ensuite, and walk-in closet. I made that change while we were framing. I revise on the fly to maximize the potential of the home,” Garo said. His current home is on a wider lot so he is adding a fourth bedroom, a rooftop terrace and extra-large kitchen. What stands out from the first view of his homes are the floor to ceiling windows that are showcased in the evenings by strategic lighting both inside and out. Garo also likes to put in skylights to make his spaces feel more open and spacious.
For color scheme, he researches trends and uses what is current like the whites and grays that are featured in homes of today. For appliances, he looks at trends but also performance and quality which led him to Italian appliance manufacturer Bertazzoni. “I always look for the latest trends, what products look good and perform well. I focus on what the competition isn’t doing,” he says. Fueled by his desire to always be the best in the business, Garo’s duplexes take about 11 months from start to finish. In that time, he researches products, orders catalogs to browse through, talks to subcontractors and visits neighborhood homes for sale, all to assure he stays on the cutting edge of duplex construction. While Garo does not build a home knowing who the owner will be, he still retains a customer first attitude. As he builds he imagines who will live in each home and how they will use each space. One of his current projects has an interior space that he designed for entertaining complete with a wet bar he calls perfect for parties. The home also has a one-of-a-kind rooftop terrace that he sees as an outdoor oasis built with bamboo or composite decking, strategic lighting and featuring views of the Manhattan skyline. “I build a lifestyle,” he commented.
Customer service doesn’t end when a home is sold. Garo makes sure he meets the buyers and offers his service if any problems arise. “When I sell a home, I build a relationship with the owners. I see my buyers in the neighborhood so I want to get to know them and that they know just because the house is built doesn’t mean I will forget about it. If there’s an issue, I will take care of it,” he says. Garo lives by his slogan, “We don’t just build homes, we build relationships.”
Buyers of Dervo homes have traditionally been people who live in the neighborhoods where the homes are built, who are looking to transition. Garo said recently, he is finding more of his buyers are people from the city who are looking to move to a more subdued locale with a neighborhood feel, but want to retain easy access to the jobs and entertainment of the city.For the past few years, the duplex market has been growing and many new developers are jumping into it. The increased competition has made finding available properties more challenging and sparked Garo to always go beyond what everyone else is offering. He said that when stucco
and brick took hold, he decided to add metal cladding, inspired exterior lighting and his signature large windows to stand out from the crowd. His efforts are paying off as he says the local realtors can spot the differences between the competition and a Dervo-built home.
As more builders adopt his designs, he works hard to stay a step ahead and meet his simple goal. “I want to be the face of the duplex market. There’s a void and I want to capture that voice. I want to build the best product out there.” For more information please contact Garo Dervogormiyaciyan (@Dervo.Developers) at 201-410-7344 or visit www.dervodevelopers.com.