September-October 2013 | EXTREME MAKEOVER




In the midst of a three-year property makeover, McCarthy & Son Contracting invites Coastal Style on an exclusive tour of the finished phases

Written By: Jonathan Westman | Photographer: Grant L. Gursky

The West Ocean City community of Ocean Reef is regarded as one of the finest in its area — and with good reason. Meticulously manicured properties dot the landscape of upscale homes that wind throughout the streets of this idyllic setting.

For the past 18 months, one of these homes has been the focus of an extensive and magnificent renovation, both inside and out. That’s the expansive vision of Kevin McCarthy of McCarthy & Son Contracting in Berlin. On the scale of impressiveness, the results of the new and completely custom backyard and kitchen are off the charts.

“We enjoy being creative,” said McCarthy, a residential construction expert with nearly 35 years of experience. “The trend toward upscale outdoor living spaces is definitely on the rise. People in our area want to enjoy their homes, and that extends to the outside. Entertaining family and friends doesn’t get any better than in a setting like this.”

What began with a canvas full of overgrown weeds and sparse pavers has been transformed into a grand entertainment space complete with a breathtaking living area, fireplace, kitchen, retaining walls, in-ground swimming pool and much more.

"Originally, the owner's vision was to simply add a pool and deck, but as soon as he saw a similar project we created in Martha's Landing, he knew he had to have something like it for himself," Kevin said.

McCarthy, whose work has received three Washington, DC Masonry Institute Awards and has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, designed and built everything in the space with aesthetics, functionality and the elements in mind. 
Gorgeous Eldorado stone walls, Turkish-marble tile flooring and reclaimed wood combine to create the stunning pavilion. McCarthy purchased the timbers from a sawmill in Snow Hill and fabricated each custom piece on-site. Belted brick decoratively outlines the built-in wood boxes, and granite countertops line the fully functional cooking area. 
Key features of the project include a Weber grill with its own dedicated gas line, a fully stocked bar with adjoining ice station, and a sink. McCarthy even included an orange-crush station and a blender for frozen drink creations when the homeowner is entertaining family and friends. Kevin and his construction foreman, Kevin McKnight, also handcrafted a large mirror, which provides additional interest in this area. Made from 165-year-old reclaimed wood from a historical rehab McCarthy & Son recently completed, and a mirror salvaged from another project, it is both interesting and aesthetically effective.

The pavilion also boasts a spacious flat-screen TV and surround sound for pro football parties this fall, as well as overflow seating on an adjacent patio for intimate conversations.

From a construction standpoint, each of the pavilion’s six majestic columns is completely filled with concrete and tied structurally to the footers below with large anchor bolts.

“This space was built to withstand our hurricane-prone environment,” Kevin said.

McCarthy noted that the homeowners’ 39-foot-long swimming pool is a 6-foot deep, fiberglass, saltwater-cleaning model made by Leisure Pools. “The temperature is even regulated by remote control,” Kevin said. “All they have to do is vacuum it once a week, and they’re all set.”

At night, the outdoor area comes alive, with strategically installed up-and-down lighting throughout the space and a spotlight above the pergola that shines through its openings.

“It picks up all of the shadows from the timbers,” Kevin said. “It’s an awesome look.”

When the weather turns cold, McCarthy, McKnight and their team head inside to continue the renovations to this property. Last winter, McCarthy & Son completely transformed the couple’s master bathroom, made over a second-floor enclosed deck and created a stunning, one-of-a-kind gourmet kitchen. Outfitted with Viking appliances throughout, and featuring subtle yet insightful touches such as refrigerated drawers, an icemaker, an under-cabinet microwave and a hidden mixing station, the homeowners’ new culinary retreat contains everything they could have imagined.

“The old space wasn’t functional, because you didn’t have the ‘kitchen triangle,’” Kevin said. “When you’re cooking, you want to move in a small triangle to access the refrigerator, stove and a sink. If you’re facing the stove, you can take a few steps back in one direction to access items in the fridge, then slide over to the sink and complete the triangle by returning back to your oven or cooktop. This maximizes performance for the person in the kitchen, especially a chef, and it saves a lot of time wasted by walking all over the kitchen for each ingredient.”

McCarthy chose custom-made Mid-Continent Cabinetry that spans 13-feet high and is accented with ornate crown molding, under-mount LED lighting, self-closing drawers and finished with handsome brushed-chrome knobs. Designed for visual appeal and functionality, storage was also a major consideration, and Kevin certainly delivered with drawers and cabinets for every conceivable pot, pan, plate and utensil. McCarthy and McKnight also added granite countertops and a custom backsplash made of Italian Edilcuoghi tile.

The pièce de résistance is the 66-inch range hood that is suspended from the ceiling and extends an impressive 16-feet in length to the apex of the vaulted ceiling. Its installation was an engineering marvel, according to McCarthy.

“The fan, measuring 1,500 cfms [cubic feet per minute] — which is the biggest draw fan you can buy for a hood — is 
located on the roof,” Kevin said. “We had to wire it on the roof and continue the switch down to the controls. It contains a sound-deafening tube that dramatically reduces noise when operational and draws steam and smoke right out.”
The shaft of the hood was finished with panels to match the cabinetry, designed to fit perfectly to its peak.

The work completed on this project so far is just the tip of the iceberg for McCarthy & Son Contracting, who expect to spend another 12 months there before the entire whole-home makeover is done. They’ll continue to enhance the backyard and exterior of the home until the weather turns foul again this winter. Then, it’s back inside, to continue the transformation of the remaining interior spaces.


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